Full stretch, Twilight Savings (blue and gold) powers out from Vonusti (outer), while the grey Cool Storm was fourth. Kenton Wright www.raceimages.co.nz
Exceptional filly Twilight Savings (3 Ch. F. Secret Savings – Ghemashah, by Danewin) will attempt to do what Katie Lee did with success last season when she takes on the boys in the $1million 2000 Guineas at Riccarton in November.
Co-trainer Bjorn Baker gave rise to the plan after Twilight Savings had resumed from a 161-day spell with an amazing performance to win the $45,000, Listed, Lion Brown Plate, at weight-for-age over 1200-metres at Rotorua on Saturday.
Despite carrying 51kg to give her a major pull in the weights over the older horses, the manner of victory by Twilight Savings was phenomenal.
Ridden for the first time by Danielle Johnson, replacing Kelly Myers who unfortunately suffered a broken leg during the week, Twilight Savings was sent forward only to remain posted in no man’s land for a majority of the journey. Appearing flat when six-lengths astern at the 600-metres, she was ridden up to improve widest of all near the home turn and kept responding with a huge effort.
At the line she had a half-length margin over Vonusti (Ustinov), with Bulginbaah (Starjo) a long-neck away in third.
Equally massive as far as a finishing burst is concerned was the performance of Vonusti, who came from last in the field of thirteen under rider Noel Harris.
The time on footing rated Slow7 was 1:11.03 and she paid her supporters handsomely - $7.80 & $2.70.
A last start winner of the Listed Champagne Stakes at Riccarton to end her juvenile season in May, the $20,000 purchase by co-trainer Murray Baker at the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock Select Yearling Sale is owned by R Adams, J, Prof R J & T Harbridge, Ms S Homewood & B Watson, and now boasts a record of four wins from six starts for $81,700 in earnings.
Bjorn Baker alluded to a series of viruses and the recent development of feet issues that have hindered the filly throughout her career, yet it seems she has the sheer class to overcome such adversity.
“There’s a bit of x-factor about her” said Baker. “What she did at the end of her last preparation was huge. She’s been a horse we’ve had constant problems with. As an early two-year-old she kept getting a virus, so we had to put her out for a long spell, and this time she’s had feet problems and another virus. Hence we’ve been forced to run her today, we were a little bit iffy with the soft track first up with no trials and only one public gallop about five or six weeks ago and she went terrible.”
“It’s a good effort to turn that around and I think it’s probably more a sign that she’s a good horse”, concluded Baker.
He then summed up the situation perfectly, saying, “Whenever you win a race its good, but whenever you win a stakes races it’s even more special and with a promising horse like this it’s a great day.”