Hot Flush continued her great start to the new season by picking up a close victory over Lets Pop The Bubbles in the Get Well Soon Jan Kelly Ladyship Pace (1730 metres) at Bathurst Paceway.
David Hewitt, filling in the driver’s role during his cousin Robbie’s suspension, guided Hot Flush ($2.60 favourite) to a win just a head clear of the Steve Turnbull-trained Lets Pop The Bubbles ($2.90, Amanda Turnbull).
The two best-backed contenders were in a race of their own during Wednesday night’s opening event and KerryAnn Turner’s Hot Flush got home first in a 1:57.0 mile rate, rounded out by a 27.7 final quarter.
Hewitt was happy to salute in his first drive on Bettors Delight mare.
“KerryAnn was supposed to come down to drive the horses tonight but she hurt her back so they asked me to come down and fill in for them, which I’m grateful for,” he said.
Lets Pop The Bubbles eased to the lead from the inside gate at the race start while Hewitt was in no rush to get the favourite to the front.
Trunky Digger was the early death seat runner but driver Tom Pay was happy to let Nicka Time give his mare cover.
From further out wide Hot Flush began to work her way forward as the field passed the clubhouse for the first time.
The two favourites passed the winning post together.
At the 500m the leading pair upped the tempo. Cobbity Castle, sitting behind Lets Pop The Bubbles, was able to hold on but Nicka Time struggled to keep in touch.
Lotta Laughs worked through the pack to put herself in the mix.
As the field rounded for home Hot Flush and Lets Pop The Bubbles broke away to make it a two horse finish.
Inside the final 100m Hot Flush started to put her nose in front and the Turnbull mare couldn’t respond.
There was an equally intense battle for third a further 8.4m away.
Cobbity Castle ($36.40) held onto third place in a photo finish over Lotta Laughs ($23.80).
Nathan Turnbull was the standout performer of the meeting with three straight winning drives in races two to four.
Turnbull trained the first two of those horses, Freddy Funk and Carramar Times Up, and then drove his father Steve’s hope Hidden Courage.
The achievement was all the more impressive considering none of the horses ran as favourites.
The meeting also featured a rare dead heat. Nothing could split Nathan Hurst’s Tulhurst Cash and Peter Bullock’s Jedda Shannon in the Yirribee Stud Pace.