A decision to keep Thee Auld Floozie in training was richly rewarded at Ellerslie on Saturday.
The six-year-old had been in indifferent form this preparation before the grey mare turned it around when overcoming a difficult run to successfully defend her crown in the Group 2 Westbury Classic (1400m).
“Some people were saying she should have been retired and I was thinking they may have been right after her first couple of runs,” trainer Stephen Marsh said.
“But I thought the writing was on the wall after her last run, I saw enough there and she’s a high class mare.
“When I saw her in the parade ring before the race today I saw that spring back in her step. I’m rapt for the owners and I would love to get another Group One and then send her to stud next season.”
Thee Auld Floozie, winner of last season’s Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m), was ridden by top Sydney jockey Hugh Bowman.
“She really came home well after being caught three wide without cover,” he said.
“Stephen was very confident after her last run over an unsuitable 1200m and getting up to 1400m suited her. She showed her class here today.”
Thee Auld Floozie raced wide just ahead of midfield and she finished gallantly in the run home to account for the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained stablemates Lizzie L’Amour and Coldplay.
The runner-up stormed home from well back in the field over a distance short of her best and Coldplay fought gamely to hold third from the southerner Montoya Star, who found the line strongly.