Te Hana (Falkirk) delivered an impressive fresh-up performance to win at New Plymouth.
A devastating home-straight burst has become a trademark for Te Hana, and she produced it again for a first-up victory at her home track of New Plymouth yesterday.
The Janelle Millar-trained galloper had been earmarked as a likely stakes contender this summer after a string of good runs during her last campaign, where she won four of her four starts.
Returning to the track in yesterday's Rating 85 1200-metre contest; the daughter of Falkirk indicated she was ready to compete at the elite level as she downed a field of handy performers in comprehensive fashion.
“I knew she had the talent to win but I didn’t think she could, as she is really only about 70 per cent ready at the moment,” Millar said.
“She had a good winter break after a big season and has come back a stronger version of herself, but I thought there may have been one or two who were more seasoned that would be a little tough for her.
“As it turned out the race played into her favour as she likes to get back and then storm home, and with the speed on all the way it was perfect for her.”
Millar isn’t looking too far ahead with her charge, but admits she has bigger plans for her in the future.
“We will take it one race at a time with her next target being the Taranaki Breeders' Stakes at Hawera in a fortnight,” she said.
“After that we will assess where she is at but I think she has the ability to foot it at a higher level this summer. The way she relaxes also indicates she will get further than a mile so we may look at a middle distance at some stage during this campaign.”
Yesterday’s event was part of the New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association-administered Pearl Series Incentive scheme that is sponsored by New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance.
Introduced in 2013 to benefit owners, trainers and breeders of thoroughbred fillies racing in New Zealand, the scheme provides bonuses of almost $2.6 million and prize-money of nearly $2.8 million across 215 individual races over three seasons’ racing for fillies and mares nominated as yearlings.
Yesterday’s bonus went begging, however, with the unregistered Te Hana denying Second Time Lucky the $20,000 prize with her victory.