Pocket rocket Bit Lippy carried on where he left off last season when he dealt to his three-year-old rivals over 1200m at Avondale on Saturday.
The Wayne Hillis trained gelding raced exclusively in stakes company as a two-year-old where he signed off his juvenile campaign with victory in the Gr.3 Phoenix Park 2YO Classic (1200m) at New Plymouth following minor placings at his first three starts.
The son of Showcasing was given plenty of time to get over his exertions by connections as he had been unsighted on the track since his victory in February. Punters hadn’t forgotten about that performance as he disputed favouritism with fellow Matamata galloper Nirvana In Fire in the seven-horse field that featured a number of contenders for the up-coming spring three-year-old features.
Patiently handled by rider Cameron Lammas, Bit Lippy stalked the pace throughout before easing into the clear at the 200m mark. Sent to the lead by Lammas, Bit Lippy eased clear to score with plenty in hand from debutant Rip Em Up and Valalie, who both made up good ground in the run home.
“It’s nice when they come out and win like that first up as you know you’re on the right track,” said Hillis.
“You never know going from a two-year-old to a three-year-old. He was consistent in every race he had so you would expect him to come up alright but you just never know.”
Hillis has the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton on November 10 as the main target for his charge although he is unsure of the exact path he will take to get him to the spring classic.
“We’ll look for something in two or three weeks,” he said.
“We’ve just got to fill in time between then and now.”
Minor placegetters Rip Em Up and Valalie could also be seen in Christchurch for the three-day New Zealand Cup Carnival as they both hold nominations for the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on November 17. – NZ Racing Desk