Despite displaying some wayward tendencies over the closing stages Cambridge filly Loire stamped her class in emphatic style as she took out the Gr.1 gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.
The Tony Pike-trained three-year-old had been to the forefront of discussions in the weeks leading up to the Riccarton feature before a below par effort in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Ellerslie last month.
A vet inspection revealed the Redoute’s Choice filly had suffered a heart fibrillation with Pike confident she would still be able to show her best as he pressed on to the Group One feature for breeders Brent and Cherry Taylor of Trelawney Stud, who share in the ownership with Kate Plaw.
Left alone by punters, who rallied behind her stablemate Kali and the unbeaten Travelling Light, Loire overcame a slow start and a muddling pace to charge into a challenging position halfway down the long Riccarton home straight.
Just as rider Michael McNab looked to have her cruising to a comfortable win, Loire took a hard turn to the left which cost her some forward momentum. McNab gathered her up and returned her to a level course to the winning post which she reached half a length to the good of a game runner-up in
Jennifer Eccles, with Travelling Light resolute in third after making all of the early running as a reluctant pacemaker.
Pike was delighted to secure the major spoils in the contest after going within a nose of victory with Waterford in 2012, especially after the filly’s disappointing effort and subsequent diagnosis at her last start.
“Ellerslie was a real mystery as her two runs at Hawke’s Bay over 1200m, a distance too short for her, were very very good,” Pike said.
“We always thought this was the race but when you have those heart problems, they can be one-offs which we hoped was the case when the tests came back all clear.
“She had worked super coming into the race so we rolled the dice.
“She is a very good filly who is only going to get better as she gets up over further.”
Pike was also quick to praise McNab after their pre-race plans didn’t go as had been expected.
“It was a super ride by Michael off a slow tempo,” he said.
“We had talked about trying to be a bit closer as we thought there wouldn’t be much speed in the race.
“She got shuffled back but he didn’t panic and he has ridden her superbly.
“He rode her at Hawke’s Bay and has always liked her so it is a great result for Michael and for Brent and Cherry Taylor, who bred her as well.
“She’s a very valuable filly now. She had a little paddock injury so she couldn’t go through the yearling sales but I’m pretty sure they are glad they kept her.”
Part owner Cherry Taylor reiterated those sentiments as she composed herself after cheering the grandstand down with her husband over the closing stages.
“I just started screaming from the turn but Brent was sitting down and then he finally saw she was coming so he stood up and started screaming as well,” she said.
“It’s a huge thrill as we have always had a big opinion of her.
“She had that heart fibrillation last time which was a big shock and disappointment, but Tony and his team have done a huge job and we’re just so thrilled.”
The victory was the second from just six starts for Loire who is the fourth foal of Traditionally mare Syrah and a half-sister to Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) winner A Touch of Ruby. – NZ Racing Desk
.@PikeRacing's Loire ($28.30), with @McnabMjmcnab in the saddle, stomps home down the centre of the Riccarton track on her way to Group 1 glory in the https://t.co/YCme47qvPy 47th New Zealand 1000 Guineas.— TAB Racing (@TAB_Racing) November 16, 2019
An unlucky Jennifer Eccles and a brave Travelling Light fill the minors pic.twitter.com/cOJElm4BHf