After racing against multiple stakes performers in Queensland, Karavali returned to Randwick to score a narrow but satisfying win as part of a Hunter-trained double on Saturday.
The Kris Lees-trained mare ran last this month in the group 2 weight-for-age PJ O'Shea Stakes (2200 metres) at the Sunshine Coast.
Winner of the group 3 Aspiration Quality at Randwick on March, Karavali dropped to the 53-kilogram minimum in Saturday's 1600m open handicap but was still a $6 chance with Special Missile the dominant $2.15 favourite.
Special Missile led but had little answer when the chasers came. Karavali edged Dark Eyes ($8.50) by a nose.
"She is a group 3 winner here over the distance so you would expect her to be right in it," jockey Jay Ford said.
"It was a sedate pace early but when I levelled up to Dark Eyes I thought I had it but that horse did rally. But her class shone through."
After horses fanned wide in the first race, order was restored when Tim Clark rode Two 'N' Wellgo ($5.50) to win the Highway Handicap (1200m).
"The horses in the first race got pushed wide," Clark said.
"That had more to do with it than the track."
Scone trainer Stephen Jones said he would now look at options for Two 'N' Wellgo.
"He has raced his way out of Highway races, but I have no doubt he is up to city class so we will take a good look at the races coming up," he said.
The Lees-trained Invincible Gem and Just Dreaming where seventh and 12th respectively in the group 1 Tatt’s Tiara at Doomben won by Prompt Response.
On Sunday, Australian group 1 winner Merchant Navy won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot for new trainer Adian O'Brien.
Sent off at 4-1, Merchant Navy was all out at the line under Ryan Moore but managed to hold out French raider City Light by a short head.
American runner Bound For Nowhere finished third with the race marred by controversy when favourite Harry Angel was declared a runner despite having his leg caught on the side of the stall and missing the start.
O'Brien said Merchant Navy, winner of the Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington last spring, could run in the July Cup before he returned to Australia for stud duties at Coolmore.
"He was travelling very well and we knew looking at him that Ryan was very happy on him," he said. "I think Ryan was hoping not to get there [the front] too early on him and then he got a little bit of a bump and Ryan said it took him a bit of time to re-balance.
"We thought it was an impossible task for him here as he was 12lb [5kg] worse off than he would have been in Australia. He's being treated as a four-year-old here and he's really a three-year-old. I came here prepared that he couldn't win, reading what everyone was saying.
"The plan was that he'd run here and then go back to Australia, as I think there's a lot of mares waiting on him there."
Redkirk Warrior finished out of the placings.
** Scone holds an eight-race meeting Monday.
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