Speedy mare Akoya confirmed her liking for the roomy Trentham track when she made it two wins from as many starts at the venue on Saturday.
Prepared by Stephen Marsh at Cambridge, the four-year-old Bullbars mare sat three-wide on the pace throughout before dashing away to claim victory in the El Cheapo Cars Premier (1200m).
Twelve months earlier she had displayed blistering speed to score easily over 1000m at the corresponding meeting however Saturday’s contest tested her mettle far more as she overcame a tough trip in transit to score a dogged win.
“She had a pretty tricky barrier draw today and with a little bit of pace on early I didn’t want to overdo it, but I ended up being caught out three-wide,” said rider Danielle Johnson after the race.
“There was only one corner we had to go around though so that was a blessing.
“She missed the kick at her last start where she got back and hit the line well. Today she made the jump and has gone well.”
Trainer Stephen Marsh, who celebrated a significant milestone just 24 hours earlier when Firefly provided him with his 500th training victory when successful at Matamata, admitted he had been nervous about the mare’s barrier draw before the race.
“We were very worried about the wide draw as when they draw out like that it is hard on a front-running horse,” he said.
“She’s jumped well and she’s showed how tough she is. She has a really good form-line with four wins now from 9 starts and has been unlucky a few times as well.
“She’s just a tough little mare who tries very hard.”
Marsh will now consider the options available for his charge who he believes is best suited to the shorter sprint trips.
“She is ideally a 1000m-1200m mare, so we’ll just pick and choose where we go from here,” he said.
“That’s her second win down the chute so we might try and find something down here for her. We’ll just play around and maybe try and find some black-type for her.”
Marsh went within a nose of making it two wins on the day when promising stayer Felaar was edged out by Makdanife in a thrilling finish to the fifth race on the programme.