A preparation which had already included a third placing in both the Doncaster Mile and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes came to an end for Sense Of Occasion at Doomben on Saturday, with the underrated gelding taking out the Group 1 Doomben Cup.
The Kris Lees-trained six-year-old was in the market at $9.20 with Ladbrokes.com.au, but was playing second fiddle behind the likes of It’s Somewhat and Articus. The lack of strong support didn’t translate to the race track as Sense Of Occasion scored a career highlight when it stormed down the outside to claim Star Exhibit in the final stages.
It was the biggest win for Corey Brown since returning from Singapore and he wasn’t shy when track commentator Bernadette Cooper rated his ride as an 11 out of 10.
“I would have given myself a 12, but I’ll take the 11,” Brown quipped. “He went really good, this horse is deserved of it.
“He should have won the Hollindale the other day, he was unlucky. I put him into the race too early and it just didn’t work out for him.”
It worked out perfectly this time around for Sense Of Occasion and despite drawing wide, the pace was on up front which allowed it to find its feet and be saved up for one last run at them.
“I let him do this thing. You can’t bust him too much early and he was giving me a great feel throughout,” Brown said. “He just needed to find that sprint on the bog track and he picked them up really well.”
Brown was happy to win another major race for Kris Lees, who has supported him since his return to the Australia riding ranks.
“They’ve always been good to me the Lees. Chris has been very well to me and the support since I’ve been back has been great,” Brown said. “It’s great to repay him with a group one.”
Kris Lees was concerned about drawing barrier 15, but the race panned out perfectly and he praised the ride of Corey Brown.
“We were a little concerned with the alley, but I suppose when the track started to break up it negated that a little,” Lees said.
“Corey waited and timed his run to perfection.
“On paper it didn’t look a lot of tempo, but you often get the speed here and it played into his hands perfectly.”
Lees will give the quality gelding a break after a lengthy campaign before targetting the spring.
“That might do him. He’s had a really good preparation,” Lee said.
“We’ll put him away and set him for the spring.”
Star Exhibit looked the winner halfway down the straight, but wasn’t able to match the sprinting power of Sense Of Occasion. It’s still early on in its preparation and it looks a nice winter carnival type.
Rudy was the value runner at $7 to place and it battled on resolutely to finish third along the inside of runners.