Upset; Champion horseman Mark Purdon caused a massive boilover with Highview Tommy winning the Ballarat Cup defeating Sushi Sushi and Smoken Up
It was the result that left racegoers stunned, heads shaking in disbelief.
New Zealand pacer Highview Tommy ($102) caused a massive upset downing local stars Sushi Sushi ($1.90 fav) and Smoken Up ($2.60) to claim the Gr.1 $125,000 Petstock Ballarat Pacing Cup at Bray Raceway tonight.
Punters were left with the flashback of the 1988 Australian Cup when outsider Dandy Andy downed champions Vo Rogue and Bonecrusher at Flemington, a race best remembered because of race broadcaster Bill Collins delivering the great line of 'Goodness Gracious Me' when the outsider raced into the record books.
Well, punters were again left uttering those words when the Mark Purdon trained and driven star rattled home out wide to snatch victory from Sushi Sushi by a half head margin with a further 4.2 metres away to Smoken Up in third.
The race was billed as a match race between current Grand Circuit star and dual millionaire Smoken Up and his heir apparent Sushi Sushi who was shooting for his 17th straight victory.
Sushi Sushi, the best backed runner in the event pushed forward from his wide draw and quickly wrestled the lead away from Pembrook Benny while Smoken Up quickly loomed on his outside.
The lead time was covered in 82.1 seconds.
The two superstar pacers slugged it out and went stride for stride, the first quarter was clocked in 29.8 seconds while the second split was posted in a quicker 29.1 seconds.
The pressure increased as the field raced down the back straight with Smoken Up trying to get on level terms with Sushi Sushi, the third split was 28.6 seconds.
Young driver Greg Sugars booted clear before the turn and quickly established a healthy lead while Smoken Up battled, Highview Tommy was brought to the extreme outside and let down with a massive sprint.
Nearing the finish post, Highview Tommy cut back the margin and prevailed from Sushi Sushi in a desperately close photo.
The final quarter was paced in 28.3 seconds.
The milerate for the 2710 feature was a solid 1;57.5, just outside of the track record of 1;57.3 set by Stunin Cullen the previous year.
“That was a super race, the pace was very strong which suited my guy right down to the ground.” Purdon stated.
The decorated horseman wasn't completely surprised by the magnitude of his upset victory and believes he is capable of winning next week's Gr.1 $425,000 Hunter Cup at TABCORP Park, Melton.
“Tommy is a great little horse, he's been mixing it with the very best right throughout his career, he did run third in the New Zealand Cup earlier this season.
“He desperately needed the run last week at Shepparton and I was just hoping for a genuine speed, I was really pleased with the way he finished it off up the straight.
“He'll go to the Hunter Cup next week for sure, he's a great stand start horse and will thrive over the marathon distance.”
The victory takes Highview Tommy career earnings in excess of $830,000.
Highview Tommy has the distinction of earning his connections more than $100,000 a season during his career thus far.
The Bettors Delight stallion is raced by Hazel Van Opzeeland along with Glenys and Phil Kennard.
Highview Tommy will be one of two runners representing the Purdon stable next week with Auckland Reactor stamping his ticket to the big dance after scoring a victory in the $20,000 Pure Steel earlier in the night.