Sweepstake back to her best with Whanganui win
Progressive mare Sweepstake returned to the sort of form that saw her place at Group One level last season with a brilliant front-running performance at Whanganui on Saturday.
The Per Incanto four-year-old had promised plenty when running third to La Diosa in the 2016 Gr. 1 1000 Guineas at Riccarton before having her season ended prematurely when finishing well back at Trentham at her next start.
Photo: Race Images (Peter Rubery)
A vet examination revealed a bone chip needed to be removed which put her on the easy list as trainer Mike Breslin and connections gave her an extended break. After a patient build-up the mare made her racetrack return at Rotorua in late October.
“Once they’ve had an operation like that you are never too sure just how well they can come back from it,” said Breslin.
“She had trialled nicely before we stepped her out at Rotorua but she half-pie ran off that day when finishing near last, so I was worried she might still have an issue.
“She didn’t seem to be too bad, so we pressed on and she went nicely at Awapuni last start before we lined her up on Saturday.”
Plagued by wide barriers at her first two starts, Sweepstake drew wide once again on Saturday which had Breslin resigned to seeing her settle well back in the early stages of the contest. A lightning beginning and positive ride from Rosie Myers saw that scenario turned on its head as the mare dictated proceedings from in front before dashing away in the home straight to win untouched by four and three-quarter lengths.
“Once she drew wide again I thought we would be heading back at the start, so I told Rosie to take a sit where she could,” said Breslin
“She actually jumped brilliantly so Rosie took her to the lead where nobody really wanted to take a look at her. She got a pretty soft lead and found a great kick in the run home to do it easily in the end.”
The win was a relief for Breslin who believes his charge has what it takes to compete at the highest level.
“She is group quality so we will be looking to get her a start at that level during this preparation,” he said.
“The difficulty is there really isn’t that much around for her at present so she will likely have one more run in her grade and then a wee break before we lift our sights with her.
“I think she is good enough for a race like the Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes in the autumn so that is most likely where we will aim her when she comes back from a break.” - NZ Racing Desk