Seconds after Chenille crossed the line in yesterday's $500,000 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup, trainer Tony Pike looked skyward and thanked someone Saturday's Ellerslie races were postponed to yesterday.

Had Chenille run on Saturday's waterlogged track - and that wasn't a given - she would have been no hope.

But the real pleasure for Tony Pike came from the fact his father, Wayne, one of the mare's owners, had an operation on Monday to remove a cancerous tumour and is recovering in hospital.

Leith Innes made a lightning move around the field wide from the 600m and was five wide into the home straight, challenging what would have been normally a long way from the finish in a 3200m race.


"But I had great faith in her," said Innes. It was well placed.

As if she knew it was Bonecrusher Stakes day, Chenille raced with her tongue stuck wide from the outside of her mouth on the off side.

"She does that occasionally," said Pike.

Bonecrusher did it every start.

"I was terribly worried she'd got there [the lead] too soon," admitted Pike. "It's a long way down the home straight when you're in front in a group one race.

"She's a very good staying mare." Chenille is virtually untapped at the top level and has a big future on both sides of the Tasman.

"She's in the Sydney Cup and we could look at that," said Pike.

Innes said the mare was never easy to ride and didn't give him the most enjoyable experience. "I never saw the fence the whole way and she never quite relaxes."

When it counted the Cambridge mare was simply too classy. On a day when Lizzie L'Amour provided sire Zabeel with his 45th group one winner - one ahead of his own sire Sir Tristram's record - Chenille gave her sire Pentire his 13th at the elite level.

El Pistola and Trudy Thornton finished second narrowly ahead of Jacksstar and Megablast.

Jacksstar was brave late, but unfortunately pulled up with a serious tendon injury.