Leon and Troy Corstens might have been up early in their stables but they were probably back from Sandown Lakeside in time for a not-so-late lunch.
They took just one horse to the eight-race meeting and sent the two-year-old filly Zacouver out in the $40,000 Good Health Mrs King Plate over 1200 m — the opening event on the card.
While the favourite Zesty Belle remained popular with punters, in the final hour before the starter let them go money started coming fast for Zacouver, its price shrinking from $5.50 to $4.50.
Gai Waterhouse’s Chocolate Kisses took up the running with the favourite perched on its outside while superstar rider Craig Williams (who replaced John Allen for the horse’s first two races) seemed happy to stick to the running rail in third despite the track being a heavy nine from the get-go.
As they reached the 450 m mark to start the turn out of the back straight the field bunched up outside Chocolate Kisses — except for Zacouver, which never moved an inch from the rail.
But as they lined up for the run home Chocolate Kisses was racing like a crab and Zesty Belle hooked under, blocked Zacouver, and headed for home.
But at the 200 m Zesty Belle pulled away with too much effort, finally creating room for Williams and Zacouver to wind up for their own finish.
At 100 m it was still Zesty Belle’s to win, at 50 m it was anyone’s and on the line it was Zacouver by a long neck.
And the Corstenses had come, seen and had conquered — and it was time to head home for a bite.
Stable representative Dom Sutton said the shift back to 1200 m for Zacouver had paid off and she ran better than her June start at Geelong where she had hit the front early and had wanted to lay in.
“Today there was good pace early, which allowed her to drop her head and settle well and she got the split at the right time and sprinted away well,” Sutton said.
“After her first two runs at Geelong we dropped her back to this journey because she has got good speed and a good turn of foot but I wouldn’t rule out stepping her up later in the campaign.”
Zacouver has now had three starts for a win, a second and a fourth, with $29,245 in the bank.