When LUNAR FOX loaded into the gate for the Australian Guineas on Saturday, February 27th, 2021, the expectation to beat this Group 1 field was so small it was negligible.
At 140-1, his own rider admitted not giving him much of a shot. The three-year-old colt had not won a race since March of last year. In his most recent start, he ran 12th beaten by over thirteen lengths.
Well, what resulted was a totally different outcome from what anyone could imagine. One punter on social media called it the upset of the century.
LUNAR FOX outran his $301 to win odds, defeated a large group 1 field of eleven, even while stumbling leaving the gate!
Such an uneventful beginning can easily decide the fate of a horse's competitiveness. A horse must run exceptionally well to get back up on their feet and have enough energy to beat the field to the wire. LUNAR FOX twice defied the odds against him.
The Australian Guineas is a Victoria Racing Club Group 1 for three-year-olds going one mile on the turf at Flemington RaceCourse in Melbourne, Australia. The prize money was $1,000,000.
After the poor break, LUNAR FOX was urged forward and took position in mid-pack while the leaders set a pace of 25.42 for the first 400 meters, and 49.55 for the first 800 meters total. Racing into the final stretch, jockey Michael Dee angles LUNAR FOX 6-wide for his rally and he accelerated well, charging past the leaders in the final jumps, and holding off a flying finish from the horse to his outside, CHERRY TORTONI.
In victory, LUNAR FOX became the longest-price winner of an Australian Group 1 since ABARIDY captured the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas at odds of 250-1 in 1986.
After the win, jockey Michael Dee commented how the race hadn't sunk in, that he hadn't given his horse much hope, and that all he could do today was do his best job and do it to the best of his ability. And that hopefully the horse would run well in doing so. He also mentioned the only instructions he was given before the race: stay off the rail. (Racing.com)
Interesting to note, LUNAR FOX ran with blinkers for the first time, which may have been the deciding factor of his winning performance. Michael Dee seemed to think so, for he remarked after the race that having blinkers today made just a massive improvement. (Bloodhorse.com)
LUNAR FOX is by FOXWEDGE out of GRANT'S MOON by MALIBU MOON. He's won 3 times from 13 starts with earnings of $877,850.