Visiting Cambridge filly There You Go firmed into the clear favourite for next month’s Group 1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton after dominating her rivals in the Group 3 Barneswood Farm Stakes (1400m) at Ashburton.
The Tony Pike-trained daughter of Niagara had turned plenty of heads when she broke her maiden status in effortless fashion over 1400m at Riccarton earlier in the month, smashing the clock in the process.
That day There You Go dominated proceedings from in front and jockey Kozzi Asano was keen to employ similar tactics again on Saturday.
After absorbing pressure from Hyspec and The Radiant One, There You Go eventually found the front turning for home and after being challenged by the well-fancied pair of I Wish I Win and Art De Triomphe, There You Go found another gear as she extended her margin to go to the line a comfortable two-length winner.
Pike, who was stuck back in Cambridge given the Level 3 status of that part of the Waikato region, was delighted to see his charge take a step up in her current campaign.
“Nothing really went right for her today and she still got the job done in good fashion, so I’m delighted with her,” Pike said.
“We’ve always thought she was very good, as she is a beautiful, big strong filly with a massive action.
“She had to step up a few classes today and did it nicely and I think she will be even better when she gets back to the bigger, roomier track at Riccarton, so it is very exciting.”
Bookmakers reacted quickly to the victory with There You Go now rated the +200 favourite for the New Zealand 1000 Guineas ahead of Art De Triomphe at +450.
That now leaves Pike with both the favourite for the 1000 Guineas and the Group 1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) a week earlier with stablemate Field Of Gold rated a +500 chance in that race by the bookmakers.
“We’ve gone close to taking out the Group One double at Riccarton with Sacred Falls winning the 2000 Guineas in 2012 and Waterford getting beaten in the 1000 Guineas by a nose,” Pike said.
“It would be nice to pull that off, but just having competitive runners in those types of races is a big thing.
“Field Of Gold will have his final lead-up in the War Decree Stakes (Group 3, 1600m) at Riccarton next weekend and he will be ready to run a big race.”
Bred and raced by Australian Steve Bruhn, There You Go is out of the seven-race winning Not A Single Doubt mare, Not A Dancer and is from the extended family of Group 3 Cuddle Stakes (1400m) winner Elegance.
Pike added a second win to his tally for the day when Tellall took out the last race at Hastings.