Others might have thought it was just a hunch, but Hastings trainer Guy Lowry had more serious intent in bringing Pimms Time north to contest the group two Travis Stakes at Te Rapa yesterday.
Backing up from a Rating 85 win on her home track last Saturday and lining up for just her twelfth start, Pimms Time backed her connections' confidence with a long neck win over the favourite O'Fille.
"This race was always the plan, in fact we were confident she'd go well," said Lowry, who trains the four-year-old daughter of Pins in partnership with Grant Cullen. "She's always shown us a lot and when she won last week we knew she was on target."
Yesterday's win was the biggest that Lowry has saddled, while Cullen was the trainer of 1999 Wellington Cup longshot Miss Bailey. Lowry did go close when Lilakyn was narrowly beaten in the 2007 Brisbane Cup and now he's toying with the idea of another Queensland winter carnival campaign.
"I'd like to go back there and have a crack at a race like the Doomben Cup," he said. "She's still on the rise and it's worth thinking about."
The result was also a welcome return to the feature race-winning list for jockey Mark Sweeney, who was an automatic choice after riding Pimms Time for the first time in her Hastings win.
"Don't ask me what my last big winner was - I can't remember back that far," said Sweeney. "It's just good to be back on a good one.
"It was funny run race, the pace was muddling, but she settled well for me and I was able to get a sweet trip. My only worry was getting her out into the better ground and once I was there she gave me plenty."
Pimms Time is raced by a partnership that paid $60,000 for her at the 2010 Karaka yearling sales. The only member of the group on hand yesterday was Hastings financial adviser Charlie Whyte, whose grandfather Bob Whyte, a prominent administrator based around the Wellington Racing Club, raced horses of the calibre of 1970s stars Black Rod and Topsy.
The white with black spot colours worn by those and others are still in use, with a slight variation a white versus black and white quartered cap. "It's great to see the old colours carried by another big winner," said Whyte.
Third placegetter Quintessential flagged a return to Brisbane, where she won the Queensland Oaks last winter. "She had to perform today and she did," said owner's representative Adrian Clark.
Little Wonder paid the ultimate tribute to his sire Volksraad with a brave win in the Windsor Park Stud Breeders' Stakes at Te Rapa.
The 1200-metre three-year-old feature on the Cambridge Jockey Club's Premier programme is sponsored by the stud that was the former home to the eight-time New Zealand champion stallion.
Little Wonder, a three-quarter-brother to Volksraad's warhorse son Sir Slick, is as his name suggests, not big in stature, but he more than makes up for his lack of size with a tremendous determination to win.
His seven starts before yesterday's Group Three event had produced three wins, one second, one third and one fourth, with his only unplaced effort when on debut back in August.
Little Wonder and regular rider Sam Spratt bull-dogged between runners to down Lucky Country by half a length, with a long neck to the favourite So Wotif, who had taken the lead halfway up the straight. Waterford finished fourth from Silverdale with Oasis Rose next, wilting on a likely challenge wide out.