Class mare Mustang Valley proved a cut above her rivals at New Plymouth on Saturday as she relished the Heavy10 surface on offer to race clear in the feature flat event, the Seaton Park Open (1400m).
Last season’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) winner put a massive flashing light on her head as a next up winner when she made good late ground for sixth behind Dragon Leap and subsequent Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) winner Skew Wiff fresh-up in the Gr.2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa last month.
Trainer Andrew Forsman elected to miss the Tarzino Trophy in favour of a start at New Plymouth as he continues the mare’s build-up to defend her Livamol Classic title on 14 October.
Handled patiently by apprentice Triston Moodley, who reduced her carded weight of 61kgs down to a manageable 57kgs, Mustang Valley cruised around the field approaching the home bend, before taking control early in the run to the winning post.
Despite easing in the last 100m, the five-year-old daughter of Vanbrugh held a two-length margin at the line from fast-finishing local Ladies Man, who produced an eye-catching effort in preparation for some of the major staying races later in the season.
Forsman, who was at Flemington to saddle up Aegon in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), was thrilled with the performance of both the mare and Moodley who rode nicely to instructions.
“That was a super win and was designed to set her up for the next two days at Hastings, which it has done,” Forsman said.
“She is a pretty straight forward mare, who tends to tow herself into contention in her races, so my main instruction to Triston was not to panic and just let her do her own thing.
“She did exactly what we thought and he handled it all well.
“She probably knocked off approaching the finish as she had been out on her own for a fair way, but in terms of a good hit out for the future it was just perfect.”
Forsman confirmed the immediate target for the mare is the Gr.1 Arrowfield Stakes (1600m) at Hastings on 30 September, a race where she finished runner-up behind La Crique last year.
“The Arrowfield will be her next run and this will clean her up nicely for that,” he said.
“Obviously Legarto looks the horse to beat but I think our mare can be very competitive.
“Safely through that the Livamol will be next but after that we haven’t thought too much about.”
TAB Bookmakers have Mustang Valley as the $6 equal second favourite behind Legarto ($1.80) for the Arrowfield and equal $4.50 favourite with Sharp N Smart for the Livamol Classic.
Bred by Windsor Park Stud out of their New Approach mare Cream Of The Crop, Mustang Valley has now won five of her 25 starts and in excess of $580,000 in prizemoney.