LUCKY Lyla came to Bathurst Paceway on Wednesday night with five runner-up finishes since her previous victory but in the opening race of the meeting she got her time in the sun again.
Lucky Lyla ($4.40) took the lead at the top of the straight in the Club Menangle Where Horses Fly Heat (1730 metres) and held off challengers from a wall of opponents to claim a sixth career win for trainer Josh Turnbull.
Chris Geary, on favourite Our Little Digger ($2.60), wasn’t content to stay put in the death seat and continued to drive forward on the final lap to put a small gap on the field.
That extra effort came back to hurt the favourite on the run for home as he was swamped by the rest of the field.
Lucky Lyla got by his outside and went on with the job to win in a mile rate of 1:56.8, smashing her previous best mark.
“We thought she had the form on the board to hand up and then when Chris Geary came and took them on it really helped us out,” winning driver Nathan Turnbull said.
“She’s a bit of a funny bugger. You probably saw me yelling and screaming at her at the top of the straight because when she gets out on her own like that she can sometimes switch off a bit.
“I knew they’d come at me but she did a lot of work there to win.”
Following a false start the field came around again and on the second attempt David Hewitt’s Allstar Sea got to the lead from gate two.
A line of horses charged to the front from three wide, and once their positions settled it was Our Little Digger who led the outside line ahead of Lucky Lyla.
With 700m to run Geary wasn’t happy to stay sitting outside Allstar Sea and chose to drive ahead of the pack.
On the turn for home Our Little Digger was showing fatigue.
Lucky Lyla was able to bridge the gap as they straightened for home and left the favourite behind.
It was a Turnbull affair as the new leader faced challenges from Walk On Kimmy ($13.20, Emma Turnbull) and Waikari Fire ($6.20, Amanda Turnbull) in the closing stages.
The advantage was enough for Nathan Turnbull and his mare as Lucky Lyla won by 1.4m over Walk On Kimmy.
The second Menangle Country Series heat of the night produced a thrilling finish.
Arma Hotshot ($45.10) caused a huge upset when she was first home in a four-horse dash to the post.
Meanwhile, Georges Plains trainer Bernie Hewitt and his 2018 Bathurst Gold Crown champion College Chapel are through to the semi-finals of the Breeders Crown after finishing runners-up in the Wednesday heat at Kilmore.
College Chapel was a comfortable second place finisher behind favourite Centenario in a slowly-run heat.