The Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) was always set to be a hotly contested race at Randwick on Saturday after attracting a classy field with the likes of First Seal, Winx, and Mossfun resuming.
However no one could expect the race to ultimately be won by Gai Waterhouse’s Adrift in a shocking upset. With a starting price of $41 at Ladbrokes.com.au and no previous starts over 1200 metres or at Randwick, the filly was the dark horse of the 2015 Light Fingers Stakes.
Adrift was three wide but only just off the speed after jumping, before getting up to the leader by the 500 metres. She went out four wide up the rise and kept coming on the line, staying on so strongly to win three-quarters of a length ahead of First Seal ($3.70) with Slightly Sweet ($31) a further neck behind in third.
Waterhouse admitted the Light Fingers Stakes wasn’t even a confirmed start for the filly but the trainer was ecstatic her risk paid off.
“She was down to trial (last Tuesday) or come here,” Waterhouse said.
“Demi O’Byrne, who is in the filly, said why don’t you race her and I said I agree completely.
“She can race for prizemoney on her home track where the 1200m is more like a 1300m race and the rest is history.”
It was far from a disgraced defeat for First Seal, who simply proved no match for Adrift in the potentially too short race, but connections of Mossfun and Winx will certainly be considering their next steps wisely.
Adrift won her maiden over 1850 metres in November before backing up 12 days later to win a Benchmark 62 over the mile at Warwick Farm.
The 2015 Light Fingers Stakes was the first-up run for the filly, which is to be set on an ambitious campaign during the autumn by Waterhouse.
“I programmed her to go to two Oaks not one – the ATC Australian Oaks and the Queensland Oaks,” she said.
“She will go to the Surround Stakes next.”
Adrift will line-up at Warwick Farm once again on February 28 for the Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) before being aimed towards the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11. If the distance proves fortuitous for the filly, she will travel to Brisbane on May 30 for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m).
Adrift proved it pays to take a punt on the outside runners in the betting on Saturday. Open your Ladbrokes.com.au online betting account to receive a $250 bonus match on your first bet, which will help you make a few risky bets this autumn.