Love Affair (Matt Cameron) races away with the feature sprint at Te Rapa.
Volpe Veloce, the proven class act, was odds-on to resume on a winning note at Te Rapa today, but she was no match for emerging talent in the form of Love Affair.
There was little wrong with Volpe Veloce’s late finish into second place in the Aon Insurance Brokers’ Premier, but there could only be positives about the dominant performance of the Murray Baker/Andrew Forsman-trained winner.
“She’s a beauty, I’ve always said that,” enthused Baker after Matt Cameron had brought Love Affair home by nearly three lengths over the favourite.
“The distance (1200m) wasn’t her go but she came here nice and fresh after a tidy trial the other week. Where to from here, I’m not so sure.
“Garry Chittick (owner) isn’t here so I’ll have to get home and talk it over with him. He might want to go to Brisbane after that, but those tracks over there might be a bit wet for her.
“I wouldn’t mind if we were to hold her over for Melbourne in the spring. That’s how much we think of her.”
Love Affair, a four-year-old by Savabeel from the O’Reilly mare Romancing, finished second in her last appearance at Te Rapa, chasing home her stablemate Lizzie L’Amour in the Gr. 2 Cal Isuzu Stakes. On the strength of that performance – and with four wins from just seven starts – Love Affair lined up as favourite for the Gr. 1 Thorndon Mile but let the side down when beating only one home.
That left her connections at a loss to explain the lack-lustre performance, but today’s turnaround left no doubts about the benefit of some time out.
Today Matt Cameron had Love Affair travelling sweet behind the pace in the small field and made a decisive move to send her forward as the field swung for home. The break she established never looked like diminishing, with Volpe Veloce forced to make her run wide out.
Volpe Veloce was also having her first start today since being beaten as favourite in a Group One race at the Wellington Cup carnival. After winning the Gr. 1 Sistema Railway, she was unable to complete the big sprint double in the Berkett Telegraph, but the respite since has seen her develop into an even more imposing mare.
Trainers Graham Richardson and Gavin Parker were in no way disappointed that she had to settle for second under topweight of 60 kilos.
“I’m really happy with that, under the circumstances she did everything we could want,” said Richardson, who has Volpe Veloce booked on next week’s Brisbane charter flight.