A decision to dodge the Group Two Blamey Stakes with Sovereign Nation has been rewarded with a narrow win in the March Stakes at Flemington.
The Lindsay Park stable had Sovereign Nation, and also Seaburge, nominated for both races on Saturday's program but elected to run the pair in the 1400m Listed race.
Sovereign Nation ($15) arrived just in time under the urgings of Damien Oliver to grab well-supported favourite Theanswermyfriend ($2.60) by a short half-head.
Seaburge ($31) also showed a return to form after two unplaced runs this preparation, finishing another nose away third and less than a length covered the first six horses.
Five-year-old gelding Sovereign Nation had beaten only one runner home in his return from a spell in the Group One Futurity Stakes (1400m) last start at Caulfield but appreciated the drop in class.
"They weren't quite in form and the Blamey was a pretty hot race," co-trainer Ben Hayes said.
"We elected just to place them easy, and we got the result."
Another Lindsay Park-trained runner Cool Chap finished second in Saturday's Group Two Blamey (1600m) which was won by dual Group One winner Humidor.
Sovereign Nation has a liking for Flemington having now registered three of his five career wins there and Hayes said the gelding was helped by an "A-plus" ride from Oliver.
Oliver admitted he wasn't initially sure whether Sovereign Nation had got there on the line, but was glad to get the result.
"He was having a good think about it for the second half of the straight but he responded enough under the strong riding," Oliver said.
"It was a pretty slowly run race, I think hence the blanket finish."
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