IT took every last ounce of energy Spike Robyn had to hold out a fast finishing Major Currency in the opening race at Bathurst Paceway on Wednesday night.
Spike Robyn ($1.70 favourite) was attempting to lead from start to finish in the Stu Valentine 4 Ins Bloodstock Pace (1730 metres) and at the top of the straight his victory looked far from assured.
Major Currency ($3.30) had battled the breeze all race but had enough stamina to draw alongside the David Hewitt-driven favourite inside the final 50 metres.
Spike Robyn battled hard to stay a half head clear at the winning post.
Hey Porsha ($7.70) was only a further two metres away in third.
Winning trainer and driver Hewitt said it wasn’t the usual racing pattern for Spike Robyn but was pleased to see his tactics pay off.
“He’s not normally towards the front. He seems to run a lot better races from behind,” he said.
“It was hard to tell at the end there [whether I’d won]. He’d done it easy enough so he should have been able to hold them but he’s only just done it in the end.”
The race with a thrilling conclusion also had a thrilling start.
Shardons Sheralee, Hey Porsha and Spike Robyn all showed excellent gate speed to make it a line of three at the green light.
Hey Porsha briefly took up the running on the turn before Spike Robyn was urged ahead.
Their early pace stretched the field out almost 30m in the early going before all runners came back together at the bell.
Spike Robyn, Hey Porsha and Shardons Sheralee were all lined up along the pegs but the outside line leader, Major Currency, continued to race alongside the fourth placed Keeping It Real.
Major Currency’s move towards the front was steady, gobbling up Shardons Sheralee and Hey Porsha on the final turn’s approach.
Luke McCarthy’s outside move on Major Currency didn’t bother Amanda Turnbull who was eyeing off a sprint lane move with Hey Porsha.
With 150m left to run Major Currency and Hey Porsha made their presence known on either side of Spike Robyn.
Just when the pair looked set to overwhelm the favourite he found another level.
Tulhurst Santanna ($39.70) was the fastest finisher of the race and could be counted unlucky not to have pipped Hey Porsha for third with his four-wide move.
Consistent quarters led to a winning mile rate of 1:57.3 and a third Bathurst victory for Spike Robyn.
Wednesday’s race was a much smoother affair for Hewitt compared to the last visit to Bathurst for Spike Robyn.
On that occasion Spike Robyn broke on three occasions during the Rising Stars Heat – a run that he’s shown was an anomaly in an otherwise consistently strong career.