Utmost Delight and Ricky May on their way to Group 1 victory. Photo: Race Images.
Ricky May knew it, Steven Reid knew it too and some outstanding track work during the week ensured Simon McMullan knew it as well.
Yet not one of three men, who are all more than qualified to predict a big showing from a racehorse, were quite ready for what Utmost Delight managed to produce to the win the PGG Wrightson New Zealand Breeders Stakes at Addingto on Friday night.
And some win it was too after almost nothing went right in the running.
Pushed four wide down the back straight, the daughter of Bettor’s Delight and former outstanding racemare Victor Supreme raced away from her rivals inside the final 200 metres to claim Group One glory in the most impressive of fashions.
“I thought she might have been the best horse in the race beforehand,” Ricky May said.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt about it now though, -that was massive.”
Also erased in the immediate aftermath of the race were May’s concerns that the four-year-old mare couldn’t do a whole heap of work in her races.
“She’s definitely a bit more than just a sit sprint horse,” May added.
Owned by legendary owner and breeder Charlie Roberts, Utmost Delight was represented last night by Roberts’ daughter, Mary and her Paul who told the the tale of the question marks that were raised when Roberts purchased the multiple Group One winning broodmare.
“We did wonder,” Paul Kenny said.
“But as normal, Charlie has got it right and I just hope he was tuned into watch that because it was all for him.”
It hasn’t all be plain sailing though and there was a time when Reid wondered if she was ever going to live up to her talents.
“She got beaten a lot of times early on, when she shouldn’t have probably been beaten to be fair.
“There were a few issues there, but as is the case with the Bettor’s Delight’s when they’re good, they’re good.”
Reid had no fixed plans for what lies ahead for the mare, but did quip that he might start putting the hat around to get her over to Australia next week for the Ladyship Mile.
The win gave May his fifth win in the race to sit alongside; Mainland Banner, Carabella, It’s Ella and Frangelico - making him the outright most successful driver in the Group One feature.
Sheeza GNP gave Blair Orange an extra reason to smile on a night when drove his 1500th winner with her outstanding effort for second at a big price while American Empress burst through late to finish in third for Jeremy Young and Sailesh Abernethy.