Dizzy Miss LIzzy, after winning at the Harness Jewels back in June. Photo: The Digital Birdcage.
West Melton trainer Nigel McGrath turned a quiet start to the season around by going within a head of winning with all three starters at Addington on Friday night.
Chief among them was the $19,800 Sires Stakes Heat with last season’s smart juvenile filly, Dizzy Miss Lizzy.
Now, it’s all systems go with Dizzy Miss Lizzy as she treks to Auckland for possibly another Sires Stakes Heat there next Friday, and the $150,000 Sires Stakes 3YO Fillies Final on December 31.
“She’s not paid up for the Caduceus Club Ladyship Stakes on the 15th,” McGrath said.
“But, we’re not worried. There will be enough there for her.”
McGrath felt some of the rival fillies may have had a fitness edge on Dizzy Miss Lizzy for Friday’s resumption.
“She’s still fat as,” McGrath said of last season’s Gr. 1 Harness Jewels 2YO Diamond winner.
“We gave her a really good spell and have just been careful bringing her up slowly,” he said.
A fresh Dizzy Miss Lizzy, in the hands of New Zealand’s most in-form driver Blair Orange, stormed home from four back on the outer with a superbly-timed finish.
She beat Bare Knuckle by half a head in a 1:55.9 rate for the mobile 1950m.
The leaders had the speed on over their last 800m in 56.2s.
Shebang fought on well for third, with favourite Elle Mac fourth after improving wide from the outside front to be parked at the 1200m, then trying to lead over the last 800m.
Co-trainer and driver Natalie Rasmussen thought Elle Mac was “a bit ordinary” on the night.
“But she’s still fat. She has a big three weeks coming up,” she said.
Dizzy Miss Lizzy, a now bargain $20,000 yearling, is raced by Peter Boag (jun), son of long-time Ashburton owner Peter Boag (sen, who raced horses with a Unique prefix), and Peter jun’s wife, Karen.
Peter jun selected the filly on type and breeding, with McGrath giving the owner the thumbs up.
“She was a great looking individual and Peter deserves the credit for picking her out. She’s a Changeover from a good family,” McGrath said.
Dizzy Miss Lizzy has been beaten only once in five starts, taking her earnings to $176,594.
Aloka's win for McGrath and Orange in the rating 53-59 mobile 1950m pace in a swift 1:54.2 rate was encouraging, despite giving his supporters a scare by pacing roughly for a few strides with 1400m left.
"We know his problem is in his feet. He'll get better," McGrath said.
"He'll have to improve a fair bit in the next week to think about going to Auckland with him for the Yearling Sales race on December 31, though," he said.
McGrath will be without the services of top grade pacers Classie Brigade and Ears Burning until late in the season as he has decided to give them longer out in the paddock before bringing them back in.
The luck of All Stars driver Tim Williams also had a good turnaround in Friday's $30,000 Sires Stakes Silver for the 3YO colts and geldings.
Williams, who returned to race-driving in October from shoulder surgery, landed his first win since resuming with a gem of a drive behind Major Shard for Melbourne owner, Jean Feiss.
After securing an early one-one sit, Major Shard was on the move to the front-end, trailed favourite Anthem from the 700m, and dashed along the sprint lane to win by 1 1/4 lengths in a 1:54.7 rate (1950m).
Co-trainer Natalie Rasmussen said Major Shard wasn't going to Auckland for the $200,000 NZ Yearling Sales Series Race on New Year’s Eve before Friday's race, but she would consult the horse's owner before making a final decision after the win.