SPECTATORS were left stunned at Kennerson Park on Monday night when outside chance Rohan Hill led throughout the entire trip of the Ladbrokes Million Dollar Chase Regional Final (520 metres).
Punters had been expecting Miss Splendamiro ($1.90 favourite), Sky Wave ($3.80) or Caitlyn Keeping ($5.40) to battle it out for the coveted top two qualifying spots.
Turns out they were about to witness a true underdog story.
Rohan Hill’s ($36.40, trained by Jodie Lord) supreme start helped him stay ahead of the pack, holding out a late dive by Double Up Dee ($14, Paul Braddon).
Midnight Treat ($38.20) completed the shock top three lineup.
“He’s just been a genuine good dog. He’s been around everywhere and he knows what he’s doing,” Rohan Hill’s handler Nathan Tetley said.
“He loves Bathurst and that’s the reason why we came here … [but] we weren’t expecting this. We thought he’d come out and lead but weren’t sure about whether he’d run on.”
Rohan Hill and Double Up Dee’s starts were polar opposites in quality.
Lord’s runner got out a clear leader from box three but Double Up Dee, directly on his inside, was sluggish.
The three best-backed runners all loomed up on Rohan Hill’s outside going into the first turn.
The trio of leading contenders squeezed together and both Miss Splendamiro and Sky Wave were the losers out of the jostle, bumped back to the rear of the field.
Caitlyn Keeping was nearly bundled over in the crush but, after almost being spun sideways, managed to align herself forward and take second place.
Double Up Dee experienced his Steven Bradbury moment on the first turn and proved how valuable avoiding contact can be.
Braddon’s runner stuck to the rail and crept into third place at the race’s halfway point.
The charge didn’t stop there as he surprisingly breezed along the outside of Caitlyn Keeping and eyed off Rohan Hill, who was sporting a three length lead approaching the last turn.
Double Up Dee continued to close the gap over the final 100m but finished just under a length short of Rohan Hill.
The winning time was 29.81 seconds.
Midnight Treat had kept her top two hopes alive with a move up the inside of Caitlyn Keeping on the home bend but finished 1.5 lengths shy of Double Up Dee.
Miss Splendamiro was fourth, ending her unbeaten streak at Bathurst.
Braddon had entered the series with track record holder Falcon’s Fury but he had failed to qualify after finishing outside the top two in his heat last week.
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