The Tony McEvoy-trained Hey Doc won an incident-packed $1 million Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The drama began before the start when the champion Chautauqua and English were withdrawn from the barriers and vetted.
While English was allowed to take her place, Chautauqua, much to the dismay of the large crowd and jockey Dwayne Dunn, was withdrawn after it was initially announced he would run.
Then another shock when Luke Currie on Hey Doc took up the running.
Short-priced favourite Vega Magic and the gallant little mare In Her Time were in close pursuit but it was clear well before the turn that Vega Magic was struggling.
Still full of running, Hey Doc kicked clear in the straight but In Her Time found clear air and was finishing fast.
Hey Doc clung to a rapidly diminishing head margin over In Her Time with Malaguerra coming from last on the turn to finish a neck back in third.
More drama, Corey Brown on the runner-up In Her Time protested against Luke Currie on the winner for interference when tightened up shortly after the start when Hey Doc looked to squeeze up Vega Magic who cannoned into In Her Time.
But stewards allowed the result to stand and the 4yo son of Duporth earned a second win at the highest level after the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington last season.
The win was a triumph for McEvoy who said that Hey Doc would be kept at sprint distances after finishing unplaced in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600 metres at Flemington at his most recent start.
“We thought he was a genuine Group 1 horse, we were a bit confused by him in the mile race – we decided to come back to sprinting and it came off for us.
“It wasn’t the plan to lead, we thought he would be about fourth but he began very well and Luke was out on a bit of a limb. He pressed on trusting his horse and it was fabulous.
“We are building a really good brand, a good team and I’m just lucky enough to get on the podium occasionally.
“He’s a sprinter. That really stamped it there. Beating these horses and doing it at both ends.
“He goes really well at Moonee Valley, that’s three from three and he’s effective down the straight at Flemington so we’ll go to the Darley (Stakes) and enjoy the ride.”
Consigned to the 2015 Inglis Premier Yearling sale by Rosemont Stud, Hey Doc was knocked down to McEvoy Mitchell Racing for $85,000.
The 4yo gelding has been rock solid investment.
His overall record stands at 8 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds from 18 starts with earnings of 1,760,900.
Hey Doc is the second and final foal of the 3-time winning General Nediym mare Heyington Honey who died in February 2015.
He is a son of Kooringal Stud’s underrated stallion Duporth, a Group 1 winning son of Red Ransom who stands for a fee of $7,700 in 2017.