BELLS Are Ringin’ has defeated some of the country’s best stayers to take out the 2016 Group 1 Sandown Cup (715m) at Sandown Park on Thursday night.
Up to $51 was on offer for the brindle bitch to take out the $175,000 to the winner feature prior to the jump, however when the lids flew open the daughter of Kinloch Brae and Absolute Stunna made it a one act affair.
Rolling straight to the early lead off box five, Bells Are Ringin’ was never behind another runner as the 24 kilogram lightweight strode to the line 1.90 lengths clear in 42.02.
The victory gave trainer Gerard O’Keeffe his first major feature success within the sport, with the Neerim Junction mentor elated in the moments after his bonny bitch landed the win.
“Is there a doctor on course? My heart is beating quite quickly,” O’Keeffe exclaimed post-race.
“I’m delighted to be here – the first time we have even placed in a group 1 and I’ve only been training for two years after a 28 year lay off due to work commitments.
“Really satisfied. My son in law bred the litter, he reared the litter, he owns the mother, it’s a real family affair.”
O’Keeffe was full of praise for his pocket rocket stayer, now a winner of 17 races and $259,278 in prize money earnings.
“The little girl jumped to the front…24 kilograms – my goodness she is strong, she has not quite broken the 42 seconds but she just kept battling away.
“The conditions have made it very hard for dogs coming from behind.”
Punters had a bit of an airswing in the event, with Who Dey running second at double figure odds for champion trainer Jason Thompson, the quinella paying a massive $178.40, while second favourite Zipping Kane managed to fill the trifecta which paid $1238.90.
Despite the rough result for punters, it wasn’t so bad for everyone.
“At 40-1 it’s only an upset to some,” O’Keeffe said.
“I’m over the moon.”