In an impressive display at New Plymouth, New Zealand on Saturday, the classy mare Mustang Valley showcased her prowess on the Heavy 10 track.
Last season's Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) champion signaled her readiness for future victories when she made a strong late surge to finish sixth in the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa last month, a race won by Dragon Leap and subsequent Group 1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) victor Skew Wiff.
Trainer Andrew Forsman chose to bypass the Tarzino Trophy in favor of a New Plymouth start as part of Mustang Valley's preparation to defend her Livamol Classic title on October 14.
Under the skillful guidance of apprentice Triston Moodley, who managed to reduce her assigned weight from 61kgs to 57kgs, Mustang Valley effortlessly maneuvered around the field approaching the home bend and seized control early on the way to victory.
Despite easing up in the final 100m, the five-year-old daughter of Vanbrugh maintained a two-length lead at the finish, with the fast-finishing local Ladies Man making a notable effort in preparation for upcoming major staying races.
“That was a superb win and was designed to set her up for the next two days at Hastings, which it has done,” Forsman commented.
“She is a pretty straightforward mare, who tends to position herself well 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 eased up approaching the finish as she had been out on her own for a fair way, but in terms of a good workout for the future, it was just perfect.”
Forsman confirmed that Mustang Valley's immediate target is the Group 1 Arrowfield Stud Plate (1600m) at Hastings on September 30, a race where she finished as the runner-up behind La Crique last year.
“The Arrowfield will be her next run, and this will prepare her nicely for that,” he stated.
“Obviously Legarto looks like the horse to beat, but I believe our mare can be very competitive. Safely through that, the Livamol will be next, but beyond that, we haven't made any firm plans.”
Online bookmakers currently have Mustang Valley listed as the +500 equal second favourite for the Arrowfield, alongside being the equal +350 favorite with Sharp N Smart for the Livamol Classic.