Promising filly Princess Amelie provided an impressive first leg of a premier day double for trainer Lisa Latta when she opened a new campaign with an eye-catching victory at Hastings on the weekend.
A $300,000 purchase by Latta from the Little Avondale Stud draft at the 2017 National Yearling Sale at Karaka, Princess Amelie had impressed in three starts as a two-year-old that including a win at Tauherenikau over 1000m to close out her juvenile season.
The rangy Snitzel filly had strengthened markedly during her winter spell, with a quiet run at the Foxton trials last month fitting her for Saturday’s 1200m assignment. The addition of blinkers proved the masterstroke by Latta as the only filly in the eight-horse field burst to the lead at the 100m mark to upset the well fancied local runner King Louis with Star Performance finishing strongly for third.
“We’ve put the hood on her for her work the last two or three weeks and she has improved lengths with it,” Latta said.
“She’s really stepped up from a two-year-old to now, but we’ve just sat and waited for a decent track.
“I’ll take her home now and see how she gets through this as she’s quite a big filly. She holds a nomination for the 1000 Guineas, but there are also a lot of options up here for her.”
Latta was back in the winner’s enclosure later in the day when last season’s Gr.3 Waikato Cup (2400m) winner Five To Midnight proved too tough in a desperate finish to the day’s open 2000m contest.
Driven to the line by in-form rider Johnathan Parkes, who was also aboard Princess Amelie, Five To Midnight claimed outsider Peso in the final few strides to register his seventh career victory.
“He’s come up good this time and had trialled up well,” Parkes said.
“He needed his first-up run and was better for it.
“I got all the runs at a good time and he took advantage of them to stick his head out at the right time to win.”
Latta was impressed by the effort after the six-year-old gelding had over-raced during his first run of a new campaign on the opening day of the Hastings spring carnival.
“I didn’t think he could win but as long as he was hitting the line okay I would have been happy.
“I’m very happy now as he stripped looking very good.”
Five To Midnight will now be set for the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) on the final day of the carnival on October 6. – NZ Racing Desk