Changes enable mare to upset favourite

Lady Shabeel who bounced back from a last-start defeat to win at Matamata. Source: Trish Dunell

The addition of headgear and a drop back in trip enabled Lady Shabeel to down the Brisbane-bound Pierrocity at Matamata on Saturday.

The Houwbaddouwantit four-year-old won the Mills Reef Handicap (1600m) off the back of an unplaced run on the course earlier this month.

“We put her over 2000m and I think that was a bit far and too soon for her,” part-owner and trainer Iain Kennedy said.

“Putting the blinkers on and dropping her back to the mile has worked the oracle.”

Lady Shabeel settled back in the field and rider Cameron Lammas was able to steer a path between runners in the straight to account for the favourite Pierrocity and Divine Duke.

“It was a very good ride. She likes coming from behind and usually down the outside, but Cameron stayed closer to the fence and it worked a treat,” Kennedy said.

The runner-up, who raced on the pace, was making just her second appearance since finishing sixth in the Group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in the spring.

“She’s really strengthened up since her last campaign and we’ve always held her in high regard,” trainer Stephen Marsh said.

“She’s earmarked for the Queensland carnival and she may go on May 4 so what we do between now and then I’m not sure. “She’ll have two runs over there – the Roses over 2000m and then the Oaks over 2200m.”