Local salutes in two-year-old feature
Locally trained two-year-old Melt produced an irresistible finishing burst that carried her to an impressive victory in Saturday’s Listed Ashford Lodge 2YO Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe.
The Nigel Tiley prepared Iffraaj filly had impressed when winning a trial at Avondale earlier in the month but had not figured prominently in pre-race discussions due to the focus on debut winner Pinot Grey and expensive yearling purchase, Autumn Wild.
|Melt Photo: Trish Dunell Photography|
Tiley had expressed some confidence in his charge’s chances prior to the race however when Autumn Wild and Pinot Grey jumped to the front to control the early speed it looked as though the race could turn into a battle between the heavily favoured pair.
Rounding the home bend there was nothing between the two favourites however rider Michael McNab had Melt idling nicely just behind them before angling into the clear at the 300-metre mark. A quick flick with the whip from McNab saw Melt hit overdrive as she put the contest beyond doubt with a devastating turn of foot that saw her clear out by three and a quarter lengths from the fast finishing Bit Lippy with Flaunt It Girl snatching third from Pinot Grey.
Tiley, who produced Oscar Eight to finish second in the 2016 edition of the race, was delighted with the result.
“Her work on Thursday morning was as good as I’ve ever had a two-year-old work,” he said.
“I said to Andrew (Fowler) who owns her that I won’t run her unless I think she can win.
“This filly is very good.”
McNab was also taken with turn of foot shown by the filly despite having some concerns early in the race.
“I thought there would be good pressure early on, but they eased up a little,” he said.
“They did quicken up enough to let me roll into the race and when I let her go there was something special about her.
“I ride a lot of good two-year-olds at Te Akau (Racing) and this one’s given me as good a feeling as any of them.”
Tiley will now plot a path for the filly through some of the feature two-year-old events available later in the summer.
“She’s not a Karaka Million horse so we don’t have to put any pressure on her to go anywhere,” he said.
“She’s got black type now so the pressure’s off. We will be looking at some of those good races over Christmas for her.”
Melt is the daughter of speedy eight-race winner Ticklish who was successful twice in Listed company during her career. – NZ Racing Desk