The group 1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) picture became a little clearer, albeit from a southern point of view, following Kiwi Ida's encouraging return to racing at Riccarton yesterday.
She has the gavelhouse.com-sponsored classic on her programme and with the November 18 feature in mind, her trainers John and Karen Parsons let the filly take her chance in the Listed New Zealand Bloodstock Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m).
They weren't keen to start Kiwi Ida on such rain-affected ground, but her class shone through and she got home comfortably in the hands of regular rider Chris Johnson.
"It's not ideal for a three-year-old to kick off on a heavy track, but John said we had to get her going," Karen Parsons said.
Her odds for the 1000 Guineas have now been trimmed to $14 behind the $6 favourite Prom Queen, who beat Kiwi Ida four times last season.
Hot Fuss, whose stablemate Maybe Miami had triumphed in the preceding Canterbury Westland Racing Owners' Association Handicap (1200m), was expected to run boldly and she responded with a brave effort for second.
"We would have been disappointed if she hadn't finished in the first three," said trainer Kevin Hughes who prepares the filly with his wife Pam.
The maiden Ajay Tee came on well from the back for third in front of Highland Lady while Greenpark Gem, well-supported off the back of her debut win, made some late ground to finish seventh after beginning awkwardly.
- NZ Racing Desk