Amore Vita back in winner's circle
In the words of race caller Dan Mielicki … “she’s back!”
Star Kiwi-owned filly Amore Vita broke a nine race losing streak with a dominant win in her semi-final of the Vicbred series at Melton last night.
It reinvigorated her prospects of successfully defending the Vicbred crown she was as a two-year-old almost 12 months back.
The win came at her fifth run since Nathan Purdon returned to NZ and she was transferred to Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s stable.
But standing in her way in the final in the intimidating presence of her superstar stablemate Encipher, who has won eight of her nine starts since finishing second to Amore Vita in that Vicbred 2YO final.
Encipher led, dictated and ripped home in 54.4 and 26.2sec to win as she liked her in her semi last night in a 1min57.8sec mile rate for 2240m.
Importantly, Amore Vita went a much quicker 1min55.8sec mile rate and came out of the one-one, three-wide from the 450m to gun down the leader and favourite Petillante and win pulling clear by 5.3m.
She was privately clocked to run a 54.3sec last 800m.
It was a genuine glimpse of the elite talent she showed late last year and early this year.
Amore Vita and Encipher are two of a staggering eight finalists in the 12-horse field for Stewart and Tonkin.
Encipher gained a major edge for the final by drawing the pole with Amore Vita in gate three.
Stewart and Tonkin won a staggering seven of the 12 Vicbred pacing semis run last night.
The star of them was mighty four-year-old Tough Tilly, who came from an outside draw, sat parked and was simply too strong and classy for favourite and leader Tay Tay in a scorching 54sec flat last half.
Tough Tilly, who now boasts almost $550,000 in earnings, beat Ladies In Red in the Vicbred 2YO final and then missed last year’s series with a setback.
She looks to have this year’s New Year’s Eve final at her mercy.
Emerging two-year-old filly Joyful added to Kiwi flavour on the night with an easy all-the-way win in her semi.
Part-owned by Cran Dalgety, Joyful is unbeaten in four runs since joining the Stewart and Tonkin stable.
The other headline act of the night was comeback pacer Major Moth, who upstaged Inter Dominion finalists and stablemate Narutac Prince and Act Now to easily win his 4YO semi.
Major Moth was an outstanding juvenile before injury has looked terrific winning all three runs back from a year out for Stewart and Tonkin.
Much focus was also on glamour three-year-old Catch A Wave after he was beaten into fifth place as a $1.50 favourite from an outside back row draw.
Crucially, he drew ideally in gate three for the final which means he should lead and get the chance to bounce-back.