Promising three-year-old Miss Labasa retained her unbeaten record with another impressive performance at Awapuni on Saturday.
The Swiss Ace filly had won her first two races in a manner that indicated she could challenge in some of the plum early summer three-year-old features, however some niggling feet issues put paid to those ideas.
Off the scene since mid-November, Miss Labasa resumed in the three-year-old 1400m contest against a line-up that included New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) place-getter Sir Nate.
Rider Johnathan Parkes controlled events from the front on Miss Labasa, who strode clear in the home straight to defeat Sir Nate with southern visitor Emily Margaret finishing off well for third.
Trainer John Bary cut a relieved figure after the race as he revealed the efforts the stable had put in to get the filly back to the track.
“With all the stuff with her foot, all the handling we have been doing with her, it has helped her a lot,” he said.
“A big thank-you to my staff as they’ve done a lot of soaking of her feet and things, so it has worked out all for the good.”
Bary was pleased with the performance although he had envisaged rider Johnathan Parkes would look to take a sit on the filly rather than press on and lead like he did.
“I think he could have taken a sit when he tried to go forward, but he’s the man on top and he’s done the job,” he said.
“I’m thrilled for him and the owner Narendra (Balia) who has had to be patient as we were in then we were scratched and things like that.”
Bary indicated the immediate target for Miss Labasa would be the $1m Listed Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) to be run at Ellerslie on January 26.
Miss Labasa was a $30,000 purchase for owner Narendra Balia from the Wentwood Grange draft during the Select session at the 2017 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale.
The filly is a daughter of Charge Forward mare, Savoia who is also the dam of top South Island performer Starvoia who numbers the Listed Hazlett Stakes (1200m) amongst her six career victories. – NZ Racing Desk