The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Lavish Girl made the most of a good start to lead all the way in the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Xtravagant filly controlled the race early, and then was able to hug the rail and kick away from the rest of the field to score by a length-and-a-quarter for jockey Ben Melham.
Race favourite, Argentia, had a nice run in behind Lavish Girl, but after bullocking her way clear at the top of the straight, she couldn’t reel in the all-the-way leader.
The Cranbourne-trained filly was having her first run since being a beaten favourite in early January.
“The plan was to give her just a little break to have her ready for these races,” Maher told Racing.com post-race.
“She’s a bonny little filly, quite strong.”
Lavish Girl holds off the pressure to take out the Angus Armanasco Stakes!
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) February 26, 2022
Maher was pleased with the way the race unfolded.
“The track’s probably a little bit on-pace today,” he said
“I had a couple of discussions with John Kelly, he didn’t want to lead. Fortunately, she just landed there.
“Ben was quite keen to lead, and that was probably the winning move. She travelled sweetly.”
Jockey Ben Melham, who has recently come back to riding after suspension, was vindicated by his decision to go to the front on the filly.
“I looked at the track before the races and I thought it was a big advantage to be leading on the rail,” he stated.
“The first few races proved that way.
“In a race there didn’t look much pressure, she was the leader, she was able to lead comfortably, travelled well into the straight and let down well in the end.”
The win was a valuable one for the Xtravagant filly, who has now become a stakes winning filly.