Tony Pike can’t hide his regard for his Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) candidate Treasure.
“I think she’s one of the best staying fillies that I’ve trained,” said the Cambridge conditioner, who won the 2013 edition of the Trentham classic with More Than Sacred.
“We’ve always had a massive opinion of her, she’s just taken a few runs to work things out and the blinkers have helped her.”
The subject of a hefty betting plunge, Treasure showed she was on an upward plane at New Plymouth on Saturday when she produced an impressive display to beat her stablemate Caricature in the Listed Fasttrack Insurance Oaks Prelude (1800m).
She settled midfield on the fence before rider Michael McNab angled into the clear across the top and the filly was too good in the straight, winning by two and a-half lengths.
“We were pretty confident with the winner,” Pike said. “It’s nice when a plan comes off.
“We wanted to get today out of the way and now we’ll sit down and decide whether she goes to the Lowland Stakes or the Sunline Vase before Wellington.”
A daughter of Mastercraftsman, she is out of the O’Reilly mare Penny Whistle who is a half-sister to the dam of Pike’s Gr.1 Auckland Cup (3200m) winner Chenille.
Treasure was at odds of $81 when the market for the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks market was first released and she is now down to $12.
Pike said he was also more than satisfied with the performance of Caricature.
“She’s still quite new and dumb,” he said. “She was bit tardily away and had to work to be outside of the leader, she was pretty brave in the straight.”
The longshot Luxe came home well from the back of the field for third ahead of Miss Foxy Gal. – NZ Racing Desk.
Video replay: Treasure winning the Listed Fasttrack Insurance Oaks Prelude (1800m)