Murray Baker knew the only way to try and end the winning streak of Volpe Veloce at Te Rapa was to ensure the group two Sir Tristram Fillies' Classic was run at a genuine clip.
And the Cambridge horseman's pre-race plan worked to perfection with his representatives Bonneval and Nicoletta dominating the finish of yesterday's Cambridge Stud-sponsored fillies' feature.
"We knew the only way we could beat her was to make it a staying test - Volpe Veloce is an outstanding filly and she'd won seven straight. I can't recall that being done since Sunline," Baker said.
Last-start Desert Gold Stakes winner Nicoletta over-raced early before rider Michael Coleman let her to stride to the front. She then settled well and fought tooth and nail to the post.
"She was pulling and he rated her perfectly and she was only beaten on the line," said Baker, whose training partner Andrew Forsman was in Melbourne with the stable star Turn Me Loose.
Bonneval had been set alight by Matt Cameron 700 metres from home and the Makfi filly was able to sustain a long run to earn a head decision over her stablemate.
"She's a very good filly and both of them will be heading to Trentham for the Oaks," Baker said.
Devise enjoyed a good run behind the pace and stuck to her task well in the run home to take third from commanding favourite Volpe Veloce.
Rider Johnathan Parkes took her back to last from a wide gate before they got an ideal drag into the race behind Bonneval.
Volpe Veloce looked in trouble on the turn, but stuck on grimly for fourth, less than three lengths from the winner.
- NZ Racing Desk