By JAMES BROADHURST
That was how handler Luke Townsend described the victory of Fernando Star in the Mandurah Derby (490m) in early May.
The classy blue chaser went into the race as one the leading hopes, but he had to produce an extraordinary run to take out the silverware.
Fernando Star has built his success on quick exits and leading from the front, but on this occasion he completely blew the start and landed dead last at box rise.
His race looked over before it had begun, but the terrible start actually worked to his advantage when the field jammed up and stalled ahead of him.
Fernando Star showed brilliant track sense to seize on the opening. He slipped to the rail to avoid the traffic and surged into the lead.
By the time he hit the corner he had turned his dire position into a sizable advantage.
Fernando Star continued to kick away in the home straight and he sailed across the finish line four lengths ahead of the runner-up All Zipped Up in 27.35sec.
Townsend, who was representing trainer Chris Halse on the night, admitted he was stunned by the result.
“Still not really sure how he won it,” Townsend said after the race. “Out of the boxes he was a hundred to one, then by time he turned for home he was a $1.10 chance.
“I was cursing after the start, but he was good enough to get to the rail when they bunched up in front, that was the one thing he did do right.”
“That’s not how we it planned it, but we’ll take it!”
TRAINER Jamie Marsh admits he was ‘dubious’ about the chances of Star Book heading into the final of the Mandurah Oaks (490m) but was happy when the talented black bitch proved him wrong and took out the trophy.
Despite showing good form heading into the series Star Book had run third in her heat and Marsh, like everyone else, thought David Hobby’s team of ‘Monelli’ chasers were the dogs to beat.
Star Book, however, had other ideas as she produced her best performance to date to record a scorching victory.
From the ‘lemon’ – box five – Star Book showed good early toe to cross and land on the tail of the leading Mermaid Monelli in the initial scramble for ascendancy.
Star Book pressured Mermaid Monelli down the back straight and then slingshot past into the front runner’s position as they rounded the corner.
With clear air ahead of her Star Book kicked away in the run to the finish and she streaked across the line three lengths ahead of eventual runner-up Pixie Monelli in the sizzling time of 27.10.
“To be 100% honest it was really unexpected,” Marsh admitted.
“I thought Mermaid and Pixie were the dogs to beat but she came out and ran a super time.”
Marsh bred Star Book out of a mating between Barcia Bale and Saving Bundles and has been pleasantly surprised with her rapid development as a racedog.
“We’re rapt with her,” he said.
“When she was being broken in over in Melbourne the early reports were only reasonable, but she’s really improved and gone on with it.
“We’re really happy with where she is. She’s going enormous.”