If there were any question marks surrounding exciting filly Instant Celebrity they were answered late in the day at Morphettville on Saturday.
First-up from a short let-up, the Phillip Stokes-trained filly produced a stunning turn of foot on a slippery Morphettville track to cut down Viduka from a seemingly winless position in the 1100m event.
It was a brave ride by Jake Toeroek.
Snagged back from a tricky wide gate, Toeroek opted to take runs between horses before she found clear air and powered over the top of rivals to score, running her final 400m in 22.19 seconds, and her closing 200m in 11.34 seconds.
Toeroek said the plan was to follow Ecumenical into the race but had to make a critical decision approaching the home turn to go between horses.
“Gee she was impressive,” Toeroek said.
“A good horse gets you out of trouble; she’s going to be a serious horse.”
The win propelled the filly from $10 into a $6 favourite for the Group 1 Thousand Guineas with tab.com.au.
Eran Boyd and Todd Pannell shared riding honours, both notching doubles, while trainer Michael Hickmott’s outstanding start to the 2020-21 racing season continued with a double with Pindaric and Lord Vladivostok. Hickmott has 2021 Adelaide Cup ambitions with the latter.
“We saw the beginning of really nice horse,” he said post-race.
“I think he can make a nice carnival horse here.
“I think this is a horse you can see in the Adelaide Cup next year. He’s a serious horse.”
Boyd was in the saddle aboard Pindaric while she also provided Luke O’Connor with his first city success with Waikato Express, the win enhanced by stablemate Barrymore running into third spot.
Across the border South Australian horses were again impressive.
It was Tony and Calvin McEvoy’s turn to shine with Pretty Brazen grabbing her second Group 2 success in the Let’s Elope Stakes, beating boom Perth mate Arcadia Queen.
Pretty Brazen could back up in the Sir Rupert Clarke at Caulfield this weekend and she’s come a long way since breaking her maiden at Murray Bridge in July last year.
And while there was only one SA winner, there was a lot to like about the runs of a host of SA horses at Flemington.
Dalasan was brave when running fourth in the Makybe Diva Stakes after finding himself on speed. The Leon Macdonald-Andrew Gluyas runner was beaten in a photo for third behind Fierce Impact.
Crown Mint was very good at his Melbourne debut, narrowly missing out on third spot in the Exford Plate, his stablemate Bold Star was beaten 1.5 lengths in the Bobby Lewis Quality while Peter Jolly’s Morvada was only just reeled in late in the Sofitel over 1400m.
Horses to follow:
LYRICKIN'S DREAM (Race 2)
Made very good ground between horses late and look for it back in class.
GALAHAD GURU (Race 7)
Didn't have a lot of racing room in the straight and is ready to win.
ARKHAM KNIGHT (Race 8)
Took a long time to win up but charged late behind Alsvior