Matamata trainer Graham Richardson is grateful that Volpe Veloce has the ability to match her good looks.
And so are the owners Richardson put into the Foxwedge filly that he paid $240,000 for at the 2015 Karaka yearling sales.
"She was the nicest yearling I've ever seen and I thought to myself 'I have to buy her no matter what she costs'," Richardson recalled as he prepares to produce Volpe Veloce as a $3.10 favourite for Saturday's Gr.1 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1600m) at Te Aroha.
"A lot of the owners in her were good friends before but the ones that weren't are good friends now. I had one guy say to me 'when you find your next good horse, call me and I'll take a share no matter what it costs'. I rang him to tell him I'd found her and he immediately said 'I'm in'.
"I've only retained a small share but even if I didn't own her, I'd be getting the same thrills."
Now a five-year-old, Volpe Veloce will chase her second Group One win on Saturday, having won last year's Railway Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie, one of her 12 wins from just 24 starts.
She won her first seven starts before bumping into another star three-year-old filly of her year Bonneval, who went on to be twice named New Zealand Horse of the Year.
"We were unfortunate to run into Bonneval the same year. We were dominant in everything up to 1600m, then she won everything at 2000m and longer. Volpe Veloce is more a sprinter-miler."
Until this year, Volpe Veloce had not won past 1200m since her three-year-old season but she produced a stunning finish to deny Sleeping Beauty in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) at Ellerslie in January and stretched out to a strong 1600m win last start at Tauranga in the Gr.2 Japan-New Zealand International Trophy (1600m) under new rider Michael McNab.
"It was an awesome win. She really showed her true colours," said Richardson, who trains in partnership with Gavin Parker.
"She's won four races over a mile but her previous three had all been as a three-year-old. She's lost a bit of that early speed but she's stronger now which is helping her a lot.
"Michael McNab worked her out pretty quickly and just said she needs to be balanced up and that's what Mickey Coleman had said earlier on. Michael rode her in work today (Thursday) and said she felt terrific.
"The Breeders' is a race I always look forward to. You look back over the years and all the good mares that have won it, Orchidra and Tudor Light and those good ones.
"I haven't won it yet but Rodrigo Rose went close (third to Zirna in 2003). Everybody is going out there thinking they can win and that's what we're hoping for too.
"It's a strong field but we know we've got a good one on our hands. I've never had one with a 105 rating before." - NZ Racing Desk