Global breeding giant Darley scored its first feature win in WA when Academus prevailed in a thrilling finish to the $350,000 SKY Racing WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot.
Academus, backed from $4.40 to $4 equal favouritism, looked a spent force at the 200m after hitting the lead early in the straight.
But the Peter Snowden-trained three-year-old managed to fall in, holding off Bippo No Bungus ($41) by a short half-head.
Darlington Abbey ($16) motored home from last on the turn to finish a close-up third.The race was run at a frenetic pace courtesy of Hussy By Choice and El Rijes, with the final 600m in 37.53sec. and
the first 1000m run in a stunning 58.44sec.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy had Academus behind the two tearaway pacesetters and the son of Lonhro showed his toughness to hold out the swoopers.
“I’m very relieved,” said Snowden’s son and foreman, Paul Snowden.
“They were going ridiculous (in front).“We spoke about it before the race – there were some good local finishers in the race and if the speed was on they
would be hard to hold out.
“Fortunately everything around us dropped off.
“We were a sitting duck so to speak and he did a great job to hold on.
“He (Kerrin) waited as long as he could but he had to go.
“He was a picture of health and travelled over really well so we were actually pretty confident.”
Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) winner Fuddle Dee Duddle joined the placegetters in putting in an eye-catching run when she flew home for fourth.Luke’s Luck, the $4 equal favourite with Aacdemus, ran on fairly but was no match for the placegetters when fifth.
Antique Belle ($4.80) ran eighth.