MITCH Turnbull used the sprint lane to perfection at the Bathurst Paceway on Wednesday night to lead home a trifecta for his father-trainer Steve Turnbull in the Hynash Constructions Pace (2,260 metres).
Given the drive aboard Smithstars Lexus, who was first up after four-month spell, Mitch Turnbull positioned him in the trail on the back of early leader Im Cool Harry.
Down the back straight he took a number of glances over his shoulder as he plotted his next move. He opted to use the sprint lane.
As soon as Smithstars Lexus ($9.90) was given room up the inside of the track he stormed to the lead, going on to win ahead of El Gran Senor ($2.60 favourite, Amanda Turnbull) and Sabrage ($7.50, Steve Turnbull).
Though the four-year-old Rock N Roll Heaven x Panoramic Lady horse was the outsider of the three members of The Lagoon trainer’s team and had not won since October last year, Smithstars Lexus’ run was enough to impress his driver.
“He was beautiful through the run, comfortable, just perfect,” Mitch Turnbull said.
“He’s come up really well this time. His trials were really good and he had a good draw and a good trip, so I was pretty happy.”
Going from barrier two, Turnbull opted out of the early speed battle once the green light was given.
It was 141-start veteran Im Cool Harry who took front spot as he crossed from barrier three, Sabrage was guided three-wide into the death seat, while favourite El Gran Senor sat one out and one back.
On the bell there was a neck between first and second and while Smithstars Lexus was travelling well in the trail, Turnbull knew he would need some luck from that spot.
In the end he made his own luck.
Turnbull admitted he was sweating on the sprint lane ‘a little bit’ and was still unsure as to how Smithstars Lexus would handle the inside passage.
But he rose to the task, getting home in a 29.1 seconds split for a 1:56.9 mile rate. It gave Smithstars Lexus a 3.2m buffer on the line, the win the 14th of his 65-start career.
“I half came off once and thought ‘No I better stay here for that little bit longer’ because the horse in front of me kept going and by the time the sprint lane came I thought I was still close enough to the front of the field, nothing had got away and he sprinted really well,” Turnbull said.
“Sometimes he can sprint really good, normally he’s got to come from a bit wider in the field, but tonight he short cut up the inside.”
The Turnbull trifecta added to what was already a successful night for the family, with Amanda having steered the first two winners of the meeting – Our Chateau Lafite ($4.40) and Hidden Courage ($4.30).