Bookmakers were breathing a huge sigh of relief on Saturday after the David O’Meara-trained Bravery touched off a Ryan Moore four-timer to land the curtain raiser to the 2017 Flat season, the Betway Lincoln.
The assembled 22 raced in two groups early on with Zhui Feng leading the near side group and the keen-going Third Time Lucky prominent towards the far side.
As they raced into the final two furlongs, the heavily-supported Oh This Is Us looked to be going well and narrowly hit the front a furlong out.
All the while Bravery, who was manoeuvred from stall 20 to the far side early on by Danny Tudhope, made good strides on the flank.
In a close finish the O’Meara-charge got to the lead in the closing stages to win by a neck, with Donncha running on strongly to fill out third place.
“After the first two races they seemed to be winning over on the far side so we thought if we can to go over there a bit,” reflected Tudhope.
“The key to this horse is to get him to switch off. He’s a good strong traveller and sometimes he’s been a bit keen in his races.”
Tudhope and O’Meara went close to winning the Lincoln two years ago when their subsequent Grade 1-winner Mondialiste finished a neck second behind Gabrial.
A son of Galileo, Bravery was purchased out of Ballydoyle by Sprint Thoroughbred Racing earlier this year.
He wasn’t over dear he’s won his cost back today
With only a Dundalk maiden success to his name previously, he did however run in some of the big Group 1s last season and finished fourth behind Awtaad in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
O’Meara said: “We do target some horses for this meeting and we have been placed in it three or four times.
“To finally actually win it is good. He wasn’t over dear he’s won his cost back today. He competed in Listed and Group races throughout the season for Aidan [O’Brien]. From 20 it was a good achievement to get that position.”