The Hawkins family’s faith in their trainers gained the ultimate reward at Te Rapa where youthful exuberance triumphed over a pair of seasoned Group One campaigners.
The Wentwood Grange owner-operators left the decision to run their three-year-old Valley Girl against the older horses in Saturday’s Herbie Dyke Stakes in the hands of Donna Logan and Chris Gibbs.
Only four nominations were initially received for the weight-for-age contest and the Ruakaka conditioners decided the 2000 metre contest was a more favourable option over next weekend’s Gr.2 Auckland Eye Avondale Guineas.
“It’s a huge win, we’re absolutely thrilled,” Dean Hawkins said. “Donna rang and said what do you think about running and we just said it’s your call. It’s been a great team effort and everybody has done their jobs.”
Logan said the Avondale Guineas promised to also be a strong line-up and, with a Gr.1 BMW New Zealand Derby start already assured, they opted to take an early crack at the highest level.
It proved to be an inspired move and Valley Girl is now an equal $7 favourite with Get That Jive for next month’s Ellerslie classic.
Valley Girl settled midfield on the fence before rider Lisa Allpress moved away from the rail and they came with an undeniable finish to relegate Stolen Dance to her third consecutive Group One second placing.
“At the half mile she was really flat and I was working on her but at the 600 when the pressure went on she just kept finding,” Allpress said.
Windsor Park shuttler, Mastercraftsman has been in a purple patch of form of late with three new stakes winners in the last five days including Mime winner of yesterday’s Gr.2 Sir Tristram Classic. – NZ Racing Desk.