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Derby’s unforgettable heat goes down in the history books

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The time recorded throughout the latter part of the race was potentially lost for some in Saturday night’s epic Victoria Derby heat between Captain Ravishing and Leap To Fame.

Emma Stewart’s charge was parked at Grant Dixon’s star colt, and despite major signs of greenness, managed to get the better of the Queensland raider in what was one of the fastest final half-kilometres ever recorded at Tabcorp Park Melton.

The two three-year-olds dueled in the final quarters of 26.8 seconds and 26.6 seconds for an overall closing time of 53.4 seconds.

He tied for third-most last-half sharpness on record at Victoria’s harness racing headquarters since the track opened in 2009.

Topping the list is Ride High’s demolition job at the Rod Osborne Pace in June 2020 when the Stewart-trained speed machine clocked 52.7 seconds in its nearly 30m win.

This race was on the 1720m sprint course, with Captain Ravishing’s recent performance surprisingly coming at the end of the Derby’s 2760m course.

There is only one final half that ranks above in Melton’s long journey and that is Lochinvar Art’s AG Hunter Cup triumph of 2021.

This race takes second place overall, with champion David Moran managing to beat a Group 1 in a record time of 53.2 seconds.

Chilli Palmer’s win in the 2014 4YO Bonanza and Beach Life’s Woodlands Stud 3YO Pace success in March of this year are tied with Captain Ravishing’s 53.4 seconds in the final half.

Captain Ravishing’s three runs for Camp Stewart have all included electric fence splits, with a final quarter of 25.1 seconds at Ballarat on September 9, one of the fastest on record in Australia, before a display record on the Kilmore 2180m on September 23.

He will start from gate 10 in the Downbytheseaside Victoria Derby final on Saturday night, with Leap To Fame outside gate five.

The race is one of four Group 1s on the Melton map and is scheduled for 8:33 p.m.

TOP 10 FASTEST LAST HALVES IN MELTON

20/06/2020 VALE ROD OSBORNE PACE (1720m) RIDE HIGH – 52.7
6/02/2021 DEL-RE NATIONAL AG HUNTER CUP (GROUP 1) (2760m) ART OF LOCHIVAR – 53.2
8/02/2014 GARRARDS 4YEARS BONANZA (GROUP 3) (1720m) CHILI PALM – 53.4
5/03/2022 WOODLANDS STUD 3YEARS PACE (1720m) BEACH LIFE – 53.4
1/10/2022 DOWNBYTHESEASIDE VICTORIA DERBY (ROUND 2) (2760m) LOVELY CAPTAIN – 53.4
4/07/2020 MELTON CITY COUNCIL SPRINT (1720m) RIDE HIGH – 53.6
9/11/2019 COGS CHAMPIONSHIP 4 & 5 YEARS OLD (GROUP 2) (2240m) RIDE HIGH – 53.7
25/01/2020 ALABAR 4YEARS BONANZA (GROUP 1) (1720m) ART OF LOCHIVAR – 53.7
28/01/2017 EYNESBURY VICTORIA CUP (GROUP 1) (2240m) LAZARUS – 53.8
3/09/2016 CITY OF MELTON PLATE XXVIII (GROUP 3) (1720m) HECTORJAYJAY – 53.8