Star apprentice Kathy O'Hara got every last inch out of Tamworth gelding Sir Winalot to prevail in a desperate drive to the line in the PJ Bell Country Championship (1400m) at Warwick Farm.

The Mark Mason-trained Sir Winalot made the pace throughout but when O'Hara let him drift to the centre of the track to find better running, Dale Spriggs on Billy Whiz snuck up on his inside and issued a serious challenge to the favourite.

The pair went head-and-head to the post and O'Hara admitted she'd conceded defeat.

"I thought he beat me," O'Hara said.

"He had me for all money but at the end my horse just found enough."

Sir Winalot's nose victory took O'Hara's season tally to 16 and she is now just four city wins away from having her current 3kg claim reduced by a kilo.

Sir Winalot has flourished since joining Mason's 20-strong team earlier this year, winning seven of his eight starts for the Tamworth horseman.

Mason said he elected to come to town for the race after Sir Winalot's game last-start win in the Tamworth Cup.

"After he won the Tamworth Cup I realised it was a qualifier for this race and it fitted in nicely being two weeks later," Mason said.

"He would have got too much weight at home, as it was he got topweight (57kg) here before the claim.

"I will take him home now and see how he pulls up and try to find another race for him."

Billy Whiz was game in defeat after stalking the speed all the way while seven-year-old Centillate flashed home late to grab third another three-quarters of a length away.

Earlier in the day the John Hawkes-trained three-year-old Malcolm, a half-brother to 2004 Cox Plate winner Fields of Omagh, continued his rise through the grades in emphatic fashion, unleashing a whirlwind finish to win the Exeter Hcp (1400m).

Malcolm settled midfield before being shuffled back on the bend but sailed down the outside once given rein by Darren Beadman to reel in Palabiro by a length.

Hawkes' foreman Peter Snowden hopes it is a sign of things to come.

AAP 2024 Published 13/06/05