Underrated filly Lucy Mae revealed strong fighting qualities to upstage her more fancied opposition in the $500,000 Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.
Starting a $24 outsider, Lucy Mae, ridden by Shaun McGruddy, crossed from her wide barrier to sit outside of the leader, Achernar Star, one of two runners in the race for, Simon Miller.
Achernar Star kicked clear inside the final 150m and looked to have pinched a winning break, but the diminutive, Lucy Mae, refused to give ground and fought back to reel in the pacesetter.
Achernar Star hung on for second, beaten a long-head, just ahead of Debellatio, who attacked the line strongly for third.
Favourite Seannie ran sixth, 2 ½ lengths adrift of Lucy Mae, but the Simon Miller-trained fancy was cruelled by her inside barrier and caught behind a wall of horses at the top of the straight.
Lucy Mae, an $80,000 yearling, captured the second leg of a feature race double after her victory over Achernar Star in the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m) at Pinjarra in February.
Martinovich, who won the Karrakatta Plate with Hold That Smile (1989), praised Lucy Mae’s courage.
“It’s unbelievable and she has got some guts about her,” Martinovich said.
“She looked like she was going to get beaten five times, but she keeps going and going.”
Martinovich said he would let the dust settle before deciding if Lucy Mae would progress to the WA Sires’ Produce Stakes in a fortnight.
An emotional McGruddy won his second Karrakatta Plate after guiding Luke’s Luck (2012).
The experienced jockey said his confidence was dented earlier in the week when Lucy Mae drew barrier 13.
“To be honest I thought our hopes were dashed when she drew wide,” McGruddy said.
“I thought she wouldn’t be able to run in the first three and we would need a lot of luck.
“She began well and settled a lot better than last-start.
“At the 100m I thought I was going to win by quite a margin.
“She fought it out bravely and I just can’t believe it really.”