Reigning National Distance Champion Jarvis Bale scored a thrilling victory in his heat of the $29,000 Group 3 Lizrene Classic at Sandown Park tonight, railing strongly to defeat Reign Over Me in the final stride.
Reign Over Me ($6.50), a recent addition to the powerful Darren McDonald kennel, began well to assume the early lead and establish a commanding break over the field.
However Jarvis Bale ($3.60) was untroubled as he picked his way through the field, setting off in pursuit of the leader coming off the back straight and finding the line a nose the better of Reign Over Me in 42.33.
Next week’s final will be Jarvis Bale’s 21st Group race appearance and seventh in 14 starts in 2010. Though a model of consistency at Group race level, Jarvis Bale has won just two of his finals but has been placed in nine more.
In the night’s other heat, Robert Britton’s rising star Symmetry ($7.80) proved too good, winning in a slick 42.15.
A winner of seven of his first nine race starts, Symmetry began slowly in his Sandown Park debut but soon found the lead and was never threatened, defeating former Western Australian Best Of Times ($29.60) by 2.75 lengths, with New South Wales Raider Blue Lorian ($4.90) a further 1.25 lengths away in third.
The $20,000 to the winner final will be run on Thursday 22 April.
The Group 3 Macro Meats Lizrene Classic is the final tune up for Australia’s richest race for stayers, the $143,000 Group 1 Radio Sport 927 Sandown Cup, the final of which is to be run Thursday 13 May.