Honey Rider gave Andrew Forsman a pre-race scare before the filly trumped her rivals at Hastings on Saturday.
The daughter of Pins opened her 3-year-old campaign in perfect style with victory in the Hawke's Bay Breeders' Gold Trail Stakes.
"I was very confident going into the race, but my confidence dropped a bit when she broke into a sweat and I thought she may have been a bit fresh," said Forsman, who prepares Honey Rider with Murray Baker.
"She got the job done though and she's a pretty high-class galloper."
Forsman said her programme through to the NZ 1000 Guineas had yet to be locked in. "We'll see how she comes through this first and then it's about getting her down to Riccarton in the best possible order."
Honey Rider settled in the trail before in-form jockey Michael Coleman was able to ease off the fence into the straight.
"I was a little bit anxious about getting out and once we did she showed good fight," he said.
Honey Rider was a debut winner at Hastings last season and finished runner-up at her only other appearance in the Castletown Stakes. She had trialled at Te Teko and Cambridge ahead of resuming.
"In her first trial she wasn't very flash, but she had improved out of sight when I rode her in the second one," Coleman said.
Honey Rider accounted for the fast-finishing Glass Slipper and Mystery Show. Bella Gioia came home strongly from last for fourth, while there was also drama before the start with the favourite Volpe Veloce a late scratching on veterinary advice after she had lashed out in the gates.
- NZ Racing Desk