Stakes performer Luberon booked her ticket to Riccarton later this spring with a convincing win in the Riverbank Chambers (1200m) at Te Rapa on Sunday.
The daughter of Embellish readied for her first assignment of the season with an 850m trial at Te Awamutu last month where she finished runner-up behind Group Three winner Devastate, and trainer Lance Noble was pleased with his charge heading into the weekend.
Luberon jumped well and settled handy for jockey Warren Kennedy and tracked Screamin Eagle throughout. Kennedy produced his filly into the open turning for home where she was able reel in her rivals and post a three-quarter length victory over Screamin Eagle.
Noble was pleased with what he saw on Sunday, with Luberon’s performance giving the Karaka trainer confidence in pursuing a Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) path with his filly.
“She was a little bit vulnerable and there is improvement to come so to beat the older horses was a good effort,” Noble said.
“There’s a three-year-old race for her next on Matamata Cup Day and then the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m). All going well she’ll head to Christchurch after that.”
Luberon had a promising start to her juvenile season last term, crediting Cambridge Stud stallion Embellish with his first winner when victorious on debut before she was sidelined after her placing in the Listed Challenge Stakes (1100m) at Pukekohe last November.
“She slipped out of the gate and pulled a muscle so that was a really good effort that day,” Kennedy said.
“She did a really good job (at Te Rapa on Sunday) and picked up nicely in the straight and there is a ton of improvement to come.”
Luberon was bred and is raced by Cambridge Stud principals Brendan and Jo Lindsay, and they are hoping she can carry their familiar gold and black chequered silks to further success over spring.