Lightly raced three-year-old Travelling Light indicated she is on target for some bigger assignments on her immediate horizon as she produced a powerful sprint in difficult conditions to race to a hollow victory at Matamata on Saturday.
The Ben Foote-trained El Roca filly had been a stylish winner over 1300m on a good surface at Taupo last month after being unbeaten in two trials preceding that debut effort.
Saturday’s Heavy10 underfoot conditions added intrigue to the three-year-old 1400m contest however Travelling Light handled the testing ground with aplomb as she travelled like a winner behind the pacemaker Gigolo George throughout.
Angled into the clear on the point of the home turn by rider Sam Collett, Travelling Light quickly burst past race favourite Harlech before cruising clear to win untouched by just over six lengths.
Foote had been confident of a good performance when questioned before the race got underway however, he did harbour some concerns about the heavy track.
“She won on a Good3 at Taupo and definitely prefers better ground so I did have some worries about whether she would handle it today as it is pretty testing,” Foote said.
“She’s not an extravagant filly, as she does just what she has to at home, but she has shown us plenty all the way through.
“She travelled up really well and the turn of foot in the ground was quite surprising actually, but just showed what she is capable of.”
Foote will now aim Travelling Light at the Gr.3 Barneswood Farm Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie in a fortnight before deciding on whether she makes a trip south to contest the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton next month.
“She holds a nomination for Christchurch so we had to run today if we are going to make the trip down to Riccarton,” he said.
“She will have a few easy days now before we go to the Soliloquy at Ellerslie.
“Providing she shows us enough there then she will be off to the 1000 Guineas.”
Collett was also impressed with Travelling Light’s effort after the filly made a lightning beginning from an outside barrier.
“When the track came up heavy it was a wee bit of a concern,” she said.
“We had drawn out and I hadn’t really made a plan on how I was going to ride her but she jumped out like a startled rabbit and once I could let one go outside me, she raced really tractably.
“Good horses are able to sprint twice in their races and she showed me that today.
“I had to wait for a wee bit of a split but once I asked her, she accelerated super.
“She’s very light on her feet and what she showed me in the final 200m was pretty smart.”
Bred and raced by Tauranga-based businessman Coll MacRury and his father Ian, Travelling Light is the third foal of their handy racemare Cissy Bowen who won five times from 30 career starts. She is
also a half-sister to stakes performer The Great Southern who finished third in the Gr.2 Wellington Guineas (1400m) as a three-year-old.