Sunday Escape with trainer Andrew Murray and jockey Dwayne Dunn after his stunning win (Image: Racing Photos)
It was a fairytale result as Sunday Escape
won the 55 Second Challenge
at Moonee Valley on Friday night, handing Sale trainer Andrew Murray
a shock $55,000 bonus.
The bonus cheque, put up by race series sponsor Ladbrokes, went to Murray, who revealed the seven-year-old Hard Spun gelding is the lone horse he has in work at the moment.
Up against quality Sydney mare Super Too, who was down in grade having run in the Black Caviar Lightning and placed behind Redzel in the G2 Challenge Stakes this prep, Sunday Escape sat off Marc Conners' speedster and Dwayne Dunn delivered the winning ride.
Thermal Current, for Craig Williams and Darren Weir, dived late and missed, and when the clock came up at 54.75s - the $55,000 winners' cheque was not the only money exchanged hands to Sunday Escape's connections.
WATCH: Sunday Escape's blistering win
Murray gets 10 per cent of that stake, but he gets the whole lot of the bonus from Ladbrokes, with his galloper's winning time a convincing 37 hundredths of a second quicker than the previous benchmark set by Mile High/Angry Gee.
As it happened, trainer John Macmillan - who has Mile High - was trackside as he hoped to hold on for a share in the bonus with Jerome Hunter (Angry Gee), but the South Australian trainer missed out - but earned limitless amount of credit from the 'good guys' bank.
Macmillan, spotting Murray as being one-out in strapping his horse, offered to walk the horse in his recovery on the track.
That allowed Murray soak up the significance of his achievement, as his sprinter banked career win number six at start 40 - finally defying some misfortune that has seen him beaten into the minor placings 19 times.
"It's his Group 1. This'll be his career win, won't it?" Murray said.
"Yeah he has [been underestimated] - he wouldn't if you had Mick Price or someone like that training him.
"He's tough, tries hard and loves a wet track - doesn't get them too often.
"Dwayne's done a gun job riding him all the way through.
"He's just a really honest horse and had his day, hasn't he?"
It wasn't the story the punters were hoping would be told though, as Super Too - starting at $1.30 - went under.
"She didn't muster speed from the gates as quickly as I anticipated. The track's very hard, and with the weight (59.5kg), I could feel she was just labouring a little bit just from the start. But she ran bravely," star jockey Blake Shinn said.
Sunday Escape's time was just 0.06s outside Vatican's track record.