Former top juvenile She’s A Thief made a welcome return to winning form when she took out the opening event at Ellerslie on the weekend.
Successful in her first two starts as a juvenile, the Showcasing filly went on to finish fourth in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) before rounding out her two-year-old campaign with a runner-up finish in the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m).
She’s A Thief resumed after a long break with an inauspicious performance at Ellerslie on Boxing Day before hinting at a return to form when finishing fourth in the Gr.3 Mongolian Khan Trophy (1200m) on Karaka Million Night.
Anticipating a winning effort, punters installed the Mike Moroney and Pam Gerard-trained filly a warm favourite for Saturday’s 1200m three-year-old contest and she didn’t disappoint.
Settled outside a muddling speed set by Wekaforce, She’s A Thief and rider Jake Bayliss cruised along comfortably before extending away in the run home to score in a pedestrian 1.12.67 for the journey, a full two seconds slower than the two subsequent 1200m races on the day.
“It was a nice ride as he took luck out of the equation,” Gerard said.
“She was very unlucky last time when she was carted off the track and should have run a lot closer.
“She pinged the gates today and got there easily, buttoned off nicely, then it was just a matter of waiting.
“She’s a very smart filly, a wee champ.”
Gerard noted the filly had had some problems towards the end of her juvenile campaign which had resulted in a delayed start to the season for her.
“We had a few issues at the end of the last prep and it took a little bit longer to get her right,” she said.
“I think she has come back better than ever.
“I think she might also get out a little bit further (in distance) now.”
Gerard advised She’s A Thief would return to Ellerslie for the Listed Mufhasa Fasttrack Stakes (1300m) on March 2, provided she came through her weekend exertions in good shape.
Gerard also noted that Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) winner On The Rocks had thrived since his Te Rapa victory and would be set for the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on March 9. – NZ Racing Desk