Sent to the boxes at the luxury price of $9.50 after his impress heat win the previous week, Five Paws jumped well from box eight to cross Spiral Ballerina ($6.80) and lead through the first turn.
Five Paws was unable to clear away from the field with Spiral Ballerina never more than a length away. As the field approached the home turn, Spiral Ballerina attempted to switch the outside to make her dash for victory only to clip the heels of the leader. Meanwhile, favourite Hannie Bale ($1.50) had recovered from a moderate getaway from box 1 to close in on the lead pair.
In a thrilling run to the line, Five Paws proved too strong for the fast finishing favourite, securing the $25,000 first prize by quarter of a length in 29.69 seconds. Mepunga Melachi ($14.50) overcame a torrid run to finish third a further 1¾ lengths away.
Five Paws’ win was Rinaldi’s 18th at Sandown Park in 2012, the second highest number of winners at the track behind only Andrea Dailly.
The feat is all the more amazing given Rinaldi bred his entire racing team from two bitches he brought back to Australia after an 11 month holiday in the United States.
The win was Five Paws’ fourth consecutive victory at Sandown Park and improved her over all record to seven wins from 14 career starts and $43,115 in prize money.
Racing continues at Sandown Park on Thursday 5 April. The night before Easter is chock full of free kids activities and giveaways, and Hawthorn star Jarryd Roughead will be on trackside.