South Island filly Emily Margaret, pictured, announced her candidacy for some of the bigger spoils on offer in the coming months with a stunning last to first performance at Riccarton on Saturday.
Placed in two starts as a juvenile, the Pins filly was having her first run for the season off the back of a stylish trial win at Rangiora last month. Despite taking on a field that included a number of race winners, the Kevin and Pam Hughes trained galloper was confidently expected to feature prominently in the finish.
Settled well back in the early stages of the 1000m scamper by visiting North Island apprentice Jasmine Fawcett, Emily Margaret bided her time until well into the home straight. Hooked to the outside by Fawcett, the filly swept to the front as she cruised clear to win untouched by two lengths from race favourite William James.
“You never like to be too confident heading into a race, but I really thought she was a big winning chance,” Kevin Hughes said.
“She had been working up with our good sprinter Carnival and they were flying.
“We had given her a little break after she had run third back in June and she just thrived. She’s filled out nicely and we think she could be in for a very good campaign.”
Hughes will now set his sights on some upcoming local features with the filly who is owned by long-time stable client Rodger Finlay and his wife. Finlay purchased Emily Margaret for $55,000 from the Trelawny Stud draft during the Select session of the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka.
“Rodger has had horses with us for a number of years and we would like to win a good race for him,” Hughes said.
“Her immediate aim is the Canterbury Belle Stakes back here in a fortnight and safely through that she will have a run over 1400m before we hope to get her into the 1000 Guineas at Cup Week.
“She is from a good sprinting family but the way she relaxes in her races I think she is quite capable of getting the mile of the Guineas comfortably.
“She will have to keep improving to foot it with the good ones that will target that race, but it’s on her home patch and we think she is up to it.”
The Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m) is the feature event at Riccarton on September 22 with the Gr.1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) raced on the final day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival on November 17.