The Phoenix Thoroughbreds owned filly produced her trademark late speed to shake off a lack of race fitness to win the Group Three Scarborough Stakes at Moonee Valley last Friday. Admitting at the time his charge wasn’t fully tuned up for the run Maher conceded he was surprised the filly got the better of fancied Exhilarates.
“She was just so impressive the other night,” Maher told Racing.com. “I didn’t think she could beat Exhilarates, who is a very high-class horse. Just the way she did it was very impressive, and she just bounced through it. She went home and just hopped into her tucker and was as bright as a button the next morning. She showed she liked Moonee Valley, and she’s Group One placed so I thought the mile race (Empire Rose Stakes) would be ideal for her, but the Manikato might be a nice stepping stone towards that.”
As a juvenile Loving Gaby won the Group Three Chairman’s Stakes on debut before running in the four major Group Ones for two-year-olds and was never beaten more than two lengths. Her co-trainer has always spoken highly of the Daughter of I Am Invincible but now believes he has a very special animal on his hands, and a run in the 1000 Guineas hasn’t been ruled out.
“It’s still an option,” agreed Maher. “She’s one of those horses that are just one out of the box I think, and they can do things an average horse can’t. It’s just great to have her back and firing.”
The Manikato Stakes is scheduled to take place on Friday 25th October at Moonee Valley.