3 minute read
Progressive mare Flamebird made up for an unlucky run in stakes company at her last start to register career win number four when she dashed home to take the Stella Artois 1500m Championship Qualifier (1400m) at Pukekohe.
The Brendan and Jo Lindsay-owned daughter of Shooting To Win had finished last in the Gr.2 Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1400m) last month after a tardy start and home straight interference cost her any chance of victory.
Rider Craig Grylls, who replaced regular pilot Warren Kennedy, got her away with the body of the field this time and although he allowed her to find her feet early in the contest he had the Lance Noble-trained four-year-old ready to strike approaching the home bend.
Angled to the centre of the track, Flamebird let down powerfully to sweep to the front at the 200m before holding out a late rails finish from Arby, with Adam I Am and Reverberations dead-heating for third.
Noble was on-course at Trentham with Gr.1 TAB Classic (1600m) runner Habana, who finished fifth in a race where his chances weren't helped by a false start to the contest. Unfortunately, he was busy saddling Habana when the Pukekohe race jumped and completely missed all the action.
"I haven't seen the race yet so can't really comment on the performance," Noble said.
"We had been confident she could turn her form around as last time things didn't go to plan as she put her head in the next stall at the jump and cost herself any chance.
"She is still learning, and she is definitely a mare that will take the step up to stakes racing as she has a lot of potential.
"There is an open handicap 1400m on Boxing Day at Pukekohe where she will get in on the minimum, so that looks a nice race for her before we lift our sights again."
Bred by the Lindsay's, Flamebird is the younger half-sister of talented performer Hiflyer who won twice at Group Three level while also finishing runner-up to Melody Belle in the 2018 Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m).
She has now won four of her 12 starts and more than $142,000 in prizemoney.
Noble did manage to see the winning performance by stablemate Terra Mitica earlier in the day which was the first leg of a stable double and provided rider Craig Grylls with one of his four wins on the programme.
"We got Terra Mitica from the UK where she had won two races and came with a pretty high rating," he said.
"It has taken me a bit to get the hang of her, however we have both been learning and she won today like we hoped she would.
"She has a nomination for the Dunstan Stayers Championship Final (2400m) on Boxing Day as well as the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) a week later but we might stick to the Boxing Day race as I think the other race might be just a bit too soon for her as she will get to that level but maybe a little later on."