Punters could be forgiven for believing Spirits Aubeer was under the influence when winning the group three Bonecrusher Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie yesterday, but there is no denying the talent of the wayward three-year-old.
The Nigel Tiley-trained son of Spirit Of Boom proved too good for his rivals despite laying-out markedly in the home straight and proving a difficult ride for winning jockey Rowena Smyth.
"He's quite green," Tiley said.
"He is still a pretty raw sort of horse, but he has just got so much ability.
"I said to Rowena I really want you to lead if you can because I think he is a better horse when they're chasing him, than he is when he is chasing the others.
"Today is the first day that he has been able to get to the front and dictate.
"It was a great ride by Row. She rides him in work every day, so for her to win a group race is great.
"I don't think he knows how good he is."
Spirits Aubeer has now won three of his six starts and will likely return to Ellerslie for the group two Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m) on New Year's Day.
"I'd like to see him have a crack at the Guineas," Tiley said.
"I don't see why we can't stretch him out to a mile."
The group three success rewarded the efforts of Smyth who rides trackwork full-time for Tiley.
"That was great," Smyth said.
"He is a really nice horse and the team at Nigel's do such a good job with him.
"He is not easy, but when he comes out and does that it's worth the effort.
"He is such a big free-striding horse that we thought if he got his own way in front, he would be really hard to catch."
Smyth said she felt Spirits Aubeer would have no issue with a step-up to a mile.
Surely Sacred and Hypnos closed well from the rear of the field to finish second and third respectively but were never a threat to the winner.
- NZ Racing Desk