Lady Lupino shocks Chenier

It was the result at Sandown Hillside that nobody saw coming.

It was meant to be a cakewalk for Chenier, who three weeks earlier smashed his rivals on debut by 5.5 lengths over 1300 metres.

Chenier ($1.20 favourite) was expected to chalk up another two-year-old winner for Godolphin this season - number 28 to be exact - and set up another perfectly-timed Group 1 raid by trainer Anthony Freedman with the $500,000 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick just 10 days away.

But the script was ignored by the Danny O'Brien-trained Lady Lupino ($18), who led throughout under a bold front-running ride from Damien Oliver, holding off the closing effort of Chenier by 1.75 lengths.

Lady Lupino, a Sebring filly out of former O'Brien-trained mare Leone Chiara, started this prep with two unplaced efforts at Listed level prior to extending to 1400m for the first time on Wednesday.

"The way the favourite (Chenier) won last start you'd be pretty hopeful to think you could beat it," Oliver said.

"I've got to give full credit to the trainer Danny O'Brien because I thought she'd struggle at the 1400 metres.

"She jumped smartly, she led at a good clip, travelled well and gave a good kick at the top of the straight.

"I was waiting for something to gobble me up late but she kept it going."

Kerrin McEvoy was riding Chenier for the first time, flying down from Sydney on race-day morning to partner the colt ahead of his expected tilt at the Champagne.

"Obviously we expected a bit more after his first-up win," McEvoy explained.

"We got back and he travelled in a nice rhythm. I was sort of worried halfway around the hill when the horse on my inside was trying to push me out of the way and he came off the bridle - he didn't pick up for me straight away.

"He picked up for me eventually to get into the race but didn't finish with the vigour that I expected him to and I think that can be put down to the ground. He didn't really enjoy the ground.

"He's obviously still on the improve and hopefully the best is still to come from him."

Whether or not the Freedman stable now proceeds to the Champagne or not will be determined in the coming days.

However, the wet-track queries that now exist after not handling Sandown Hillside's Soft 5 track may deter connections from making the trek to Sydney, where they're almost certain to be greeted by damper conditions

Story by Carl Di Iorio for

Pic by Racing Photos