HE'S the horse who's made a habit of winning by the closest margins possible and Sputnik was back at it again on Wednesday night at Bathurst Paceway.
Sputnik ($9.50, Justin Reynolds) managed to score the upset win over favourite Magnifico To Watch ($3.40, Mat Rue) in the Reliance Bank Pace (1,730 metres) in the closing strides.
The David Reynolds-trained Sputnik got the nod by a neck, making it the fifth win in a row where he's claimed the spoils by two metres or less - three of which required a photo finish.
Justin Reynolds timed his charge to the back of the field perfectly as he charged down Magnifico To Watch, who had led the entire trip until the part where it mattered most.
Yes You May ($7.50, Isobel Ross) also scorched home late to finish just a metre away from the leading pair in third place.
Sputnik is certainly becoming a horse who knows how to spoil the part, as all nine of his wins have come with him not racing as the favourite.
Justin Reynolds said the ability of Sputnik to wind up on the back straight and maintain a high pace was impressive to see.
"I was a bit worried when I saw the second quarter come up because it was a pretty steady one from back where we were but he was able to sustain a long run and get there in the end," he said.
"He's always been pretty tough and versatile and he was lucky enough to get the job done tonight.
"I didn't have much of an idea of how it would play out and right up until we went to the mobile I was in two minds about whether to go forward or back, but I saw a fair bit of speed inside me so I opted to go back and he got home real good."
The field didn't take long to sort themselves out at the green light, led by an early dash to the front by Magnifico To Watch.
Inside starter The Weekend comfortably took the sit behind the leader and Camanchi Warrior was left fighting the breeze in the death seat before He Said She Said raced from the back of the pack to take that spot.
Sputnik went right to the back of the outside line to follow the tail of Yes You May.
Reynolds wasn't going to leave anything to chance and decided to make his charge from the back with 700m still to race.
Isobel Ross, on Yes You May, wasn't going to say no to the opportunity to trail Sputnik in the three-wide move to the front.
Sputnik drew up alongside He Said She Said and Magnifico To Watch as the field straightened for home.
A whole host of horses were lining up to take their shot at trying to run down the favourite but Magnifico To Watch fought on well and forced the backmarkers to lift their game.
Despite having to fight the wind in a sustained three-wide run for home Sputnik answered that call.
He hit the front with less than 10 metres to spare, picking up his third win of the season in impressive fashion.
The winning mile rate was 1:59.0.
Reynolds almost claimed two winning drives on the night. He was denied by a head on Yellow Bow in the opening event behind Ryans Gangster (Jason Hewitt).
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