Racing: Valley Girl scales the peak

By Mike Dillon

Valley Girl takes out the $300,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Saturday. Photo / Trish Dunell
Valley Girl takes out the $300,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa on Saturday. Photo / Trish Dunell

If horse racing were a science, we wouldn't see results like this.

Saturday's $300,000 Herbie Dyke Stakes proved a few naked truths, not all of which could stand too much scrutiny.

One certainty is that even allowing for the around $10 price, there was no massive confidence Valley Girl could topple the likes of Kawi and Stolen Dance. And neither should she have been able to.

That's public confidence - the stable opinion has always been that Valley Girl has a massive future. But to win a group one at this level at just the sixth raceday start is unthinkable.

The Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs stable will take that, thanks very much, even if under circumstances only thoroughbred racing can manufacture, it seemed near impossible.

Given conditions, reputations were not ruined. Early in the home straight, local trainer David Greene felt his nightmare had finally broken in terms of beating home Kawi in a group one race.

"You'd better be careful," Kawi's trainer Allan Sharrock told Sam Spratt [Stolen Dance] when he walked into the jockeys room before Race 1 on Saturday. "There will be this tall back image looming at you in the closing stages."

Nothing can alter racing plans quicker than water on a track - rain or applied by club officials. The Herald could not yesterday contact a member of the Waikato Racing Club to explain how the official footing could change from good very early in the morning to a dead 4 (it almost looked worse) after two races with no rain falling and with extremely hot conditions drying tracks for at least seven hours."

Valley Girl is clearly extremely good. There will always be yelps among the beaten brigade, but Stolen Dance's trainer David Greene's comments held some weight.

"Halfway down the straight the mare's local fan club wound up and I thought we'd finally beaten Kawi home.

"Then I looked again and Valley Girl was in front of us both."

- NZ Herald

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