Speedy mare Babylon Berlin was at her brilliant front-running best when she led all the way to take out the Gr.3 Brighthill Farm Eminent First Yearlings Concorde Handicap (1200m) at Ellerslie.
The Ben Foote-trained daughter of All Too Hard went into the race after a third placed finish behind Entriviere and Levante in the Gr.1 Sistema Railway at the venue on New Year’s day and was installed a $2.50 favourite for the contest ahead of the Jamie Richards-trained runner Festivity ($3.70).
Most expected the pair to fight out the finish and so it unfolded as rider Michael McNab made use of a brilliant beginning from his mount to dictate terms out in front throughout.
McNab kicked Babylon Berlin away early in the run home, with Festivity beginning to mount her challenge at that point, but still three lengths in arrears.
Just as Babylon Berlin looked home, Festivity really started to charge at her and in a desperate slog it was Babylon Berlin who found something in reserve to hold out Festivity by a long neck with Iconic Star claiming a prized black-type placing in third.
Foote was all smiles after the race as he celebrated the victory.
“She fought on really well and is probably learning how to be a racehorse now,” he said.
“She got there (the front) quite easily as we didn’t expect to lead with Iconic Star in the race.
“I said to Michael to ride her how you find her and they produced a great result.
“The owners will be stoked and we will probably be having a few beers later tonight.”
McNab had been keen to ensure the mare made the most of her barrier speed and was thrilled with how his plan unfolded.
“I think the main thing was I got her out of the gates today as she was a bit slow away last time and that messed up our race,” he said.
“She kicked really well, probably the best she ever has for me and she deserves a win like this.
“I wanted to lead and when I got out so well and crossed them I was really happy.
“Normally the last 150m is her weakness and today she was really strong.”
Raced by Foote along with Scott Williams, Kim Rogers, Sam Beatson, Cedric Foote and Andrew Stuart, Babylon Berlin is out of Fusaichi Pegasus mare You Can’t Say That, a daughter of What Can I Say who won eight races including six at stakes level.
Babylon Berlin has now won six of her 14 starts and over $228,000 in prizemoney.
Foote also advised that Babylon Berlin’s stablemate Travelling Light, who numbered the Gr.1 Levin Classic (1600m) amongst her five career wins had been retired after finishing unplaced in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) earlier in the night.