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By Graham Potter | Sunday, March 12, 2023

It had been an uncharacteristic long time between drinks, by trainer David Vandyke’s standards at least, but, after a very quiet February, the stable was back in the winners’ enclosure on March 12 with the win of Last Chance Saloon in a Maiden over 1200m at the Sunshine Coast.

While the win might have come with a measure of relief, it also came with a good dose of promise for the future, courtesy of the impressive manner in which the lightly raced son of Maurice delivered the first win of his career.

The three-year-old was first-up, in only his second career start, after no less than a nine month layoff.

Last Chance Saloon had debuted back on June 5 over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast where he finished fourth, just under two lengths off the winner Rose of Shiraz. Between that and this first-up run, he had trialled on three occasions at his home base on the Sunshine Coast ... trialling in November, December and February in a fairly ordinary fashion.

He had clearly kept his game face for race action itself though, as he displayed with a eye-catching come from behind effort that brought his opponents to their knees over the concluding stages of the race.

Last Chance Saloon (a $2.90 favourite) jumped well but was eased out of the leading line in the early part with Ryan Maloney clearly intent on biding his time on the Vandyke trained runner ... to the extent that he had drifted back to midfield and ninth place going through the 800m mark.

Last Chance Saloon still had those eight horses in front of him approaching the home turn with some six lengths to make up on the leaders.

Last Chance Saloon had almost halved that deficit by the 200m mark, but he still had half the field in front of him and, although continuing to make some ground in-between the 250m and 150m marks, it still looked like he wasn’t doing enough to be able to get a winning result.

What he was doing was building momentum though and, when he began to really hit his straps inside the final 150m, the whole complexion of the race changed with Last Chance Saloon chasing into the lead when it mattered most ... with ears pricked ... to score arguably more comfortably than the official half-a-length margin suggests.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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