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By Graham Potter | Sunday, April 10, 2022

Just as he had done the weekend before, jockey Mark Du Plessis followed up a Saturday winner with a winner at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday.

It came in the opening race on the card … a QTIS Two-Year-Old Maiden Plate over 1400m … in which Du Plessis partnered the Peter Lindeberg trained Better Strings in a small field of only four runners.

The betting told one story and the race told a completely different story.

Better Strings’ three opponents filled the top three places on the betting boards … Roadtrip was posted at $2.15, Paienbara ($3.10) and Classique Gal ($3.90). Better Strings seemed to be almost an afterthought at $11,00, a full seven points behind any other runner!

But you know what they say … the smaller the field ….

And, yes, Better Strings and Du Plessis did provide the upset … and, as so often happens in these situations, the winner didn’t ‘sneak’ home, but rather won like a good thing.

Those who had dismissed the chances of the Lindeberg runner seemingly had little to worry about in the first half of the race as Better Strings went back to last early, some three lengths off the leader.

The favourite Roadtrip was running the race to suit himself up front … dictating only a leisurely gallop … but Du Plessis, after being patient early but now anticipating the upcoming sprint home, moved Better Strings closer in the sweep to the turn, positioning the filly three wide in clear air on straightening … and now only two lengths back.

Roadtrip did kick on well when the speed came on, but Better Strings was staying with him … enough to make Ryan Maloney get a bit more vigorous on the favourite inside the final 200m.

It was no gimme for either runner in the closing stages … Roadtrip was trying to hang on and Better Strings was trying to edge ahead … but, when it mattered most, Du Plessis was able to push Better Strings into the lead and on to a 0.50 length victory.

This was only a second career start for Better Strings, a really, nice progressive follow-up on her debut run in town when she finished a 2.60 length fourth behind Possover at Eagle Farm when even more unwanted in the betting at $61.

Talking about betting odds, Du Plessis’s four winners for the month so far have come at starting prices of $16 (Tyresa), $6.50 (Mikki Rose), $18 (Last Chance) and $11 (Better Strings) … a clear indication of how well Du Plessis is riding since returning from a short break.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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