Cambridge galloper Pierina caused a major upset when she dashed clear in the final stages to score an emphatic victory in the feature event yesterday at Te Rapa, the Group 2 Travis Stakes (2000m).
Rider Michael McNab tracked behind runners approaching the home turn, before Pierina was gifted with a dream run along the rails at the top of the straight.
McNab didn't need a second invitation as he sent Pierina to the front and she cleared out to win by five lengths from the well-favoured pair of Travelling Light and Savy Yong Blonk.
Trainer Stephen Marsh, who has had his stable in red-hot form of late, was in awe of the performance turned in by his charge.
"That was a good field and she just destroyed them," he said.
Marsh was also quick to give McNab plenty of kudos for his ground-saving ride.
"It was a tremendous ride as he never covered an inch of extra ground," Marsh said. "He only came around one horse and that was in the straight when he set her alight.
"She is a mare that is really only just coming right, so to pick up a black-type placing last week and top that off with a Group 2 win is very special and a real boost to her broodmare prospects.
"I don't have any plans for her, so we will just see how she comes through this and then catch up with connections to discuss whether we put her away or keep going for another run or two."
She was purchased out of the Waikato Stud draft for $110,000 by Bloodstock agent Bruce Perry, on behalf of Petagna, during the Select Yearling sale at Karaka in 2016 and has now won five of her 29 starts and over $181,000 in prizemoney.
Meanwhile, speedy filly Babylon Berlin gave her rivals a galloping lesson to win the Group 3 Cambridge Breeders' Stakes.
The Ben Foote-trained daughter of All Too Hard started at the microscopic odds of $1.60 on the tote, but never gave her backers a moment of worry as she dictated terms to her age-group rivals.
Rider Sam Collett, who was collecting her third stakes victory in the space of seven days, bounced Babylon Berlin to the front from an inside barrier.
Foote will now take a breath before deciding on where to go next with his charge.
"I don't have any plans with her but looking ahead, we will be trying to secure a Group 1 win with her," he said.
- NZ Racing Desk