BATHURST-trained duo Ziggy Rocks and Kanena Provlima were always likely to be racing for second behind superstar Expensive Ego at Menangle on Saturday but their second and third placings came as a huge shock to punters.
While Craig Cross' freak horse Expensive Ego ($1.12 favourite, Luke McCarthy) bolted away from the field to win the McLaren Real Estate Heat 3 (1,609 metres) Mat Rue's Ziggy Rocks ($71, Tom Pay) and Ben Settree's Kanena Provlima ($126, Anthony Frisby) certainly made a great impression to book their places in the final.
Rue's runner spent the race tucked away behind the leader and managed to battle on for second just a nose ahead of a charging Kanena Provlima, who had looked in all sorts of trouble coming into the turn for home.
Settree said the effort to run on for third was very commendable given the gelding threw a shoe on the final turn, almost sending his runner into a gallop.
"It went rough there for a bit but Anthony did a great job to balance him, motor home and take some ground off the winner. The way he did that was outstanding," he said.
"He hasn't had a lot of luck in his recent runs but he's been racing well. He was resuming from a little spell but I was surprised the punters sent him out at that price. His form is better than the numbers suggest.
"He can do the work but he's very lethal coming off the speed, as he did the other night."
It was a good night out in Sydney for Settree as Aphorism, who he owns, came home third in the second heat of the meeting, also booking a place in the final.
The recently-named Bathurst Horse of the Year also wasn't backed by many punters, starting at $34.
Rue scored another surprise placing at the Menangle meeting when Misterfreeze ($41) ran third in the Long May We Play Pace (1,609m), only a length away from top two Pump The Brakes and Pitch Perfect.