RACEGOERS got the finish they were expecting in Monday's opening event at Kennerson Park as short-priced runners Coastal Ally ($1.95 favourite, Shane Pulbrook) and Im Big Deal ($2, Darren Wort) fought out the finish.
(min cost $8)
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A nose was all that separated the pair at the finish line as Coastal Ally did just enough to hold off a resurgent Im Big Deal in a time of 17.87, holding on by one hundredth of a second.
It was a great preparation for The Thunderbolt Heats, which are coming up at the Bathurst track in a fortnight's time on June 6.
"I wasn't too keen coming here first up. I was trying to give her a trial for The Thunderbolt but I just had to chuck her in unfortunately so she's done well to finish like that," winning trainer Shane Pulbrook said.
"She missed the start a bit and had to work to get onto the other dog."
Indeed, Im Big Deal clearly won the start in the four-dog race and kicked out to an early one length lead in the opening couple of strides of the Welcome GBOTA Free For All (307 metres).
Coastal Ally picked up the pace and drew along the inside of the leader in the approach for the turn, with Blue Bird Beach ($14, Len Haaring) and Dana Dancer ($34, Hsiu-Mei Lin) trying to match their speed.
Pulbrook's bitch pulled ahead on the turn and appeared to have victory in her grasp before Im Big Deal began to fight back over the closing 50 metres.
Coastal Ally got the nod in a photo finish to pick up her 14th career win at start number 36. She has missed a placing on just six occasions.
Blue Bird Beach was third.
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