Tropical Squall too good in Surround Stakes

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Tropical Squall (+700) has returned after a 114-day spell to secure glory for the second time in her career in the Group 1 (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday afternoon.

The daughter of Prized Icon had previously had Group 1 success in the (1600m) last preparation, stamping her against the girls by producing another dominant front-running display.

That was clearly the stable instructions again on Saturday, with the Gai Waterhouse & -trained filly allowed to stride forward by Adam Hyronimus, holding off all challengers in the concluding stages.

Chad Schofield was able to gain the perfect economical run aboard race favourite Learning To Fly (+260), who didn't seem to have the same scintillating turn-of-foot as she did first up in the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m), only managing a fourth-place finish.

It was a race dominated up on speed, with Tropical Squall ticking over some soft sectionals throughout, allowing eventual runner-up Stefi Magnetica (+1400) to sneak up along the inside to make it a grandstand finish.

Meanwhile, the -trained Tutta La Vita (+10000) has seemingly returned in good order, rounding out the top three and giving exotics players plenty to cheer about.

It was all honours the winner, however, as Tropical Squall did it the tough way on resumption, eyeing off bigger targets in the autumn.

Adrian Bott spoke with media post-race for the second time on Saturday after saluted in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) earlier in the day and suggested the team's filly has returned better than ever.

She's a classy filly as we saw previously,” said Bott.

“She had come back so much bigger and this preparation so I was confident that she would be in for a good preparation.

“Just the way the track was playing today, we lost a little bit of confidence against horses with race fitness but it was fantastic to see so it is only up from here.

“I thought she might be vulnerable in the conditions and the 1400-metres first-up.

“We will probably go through the Coolmore path and assess. She had to do that today to warrant going down the Coolmore path.

“The Vinery is an option and she is nominated for the Doncaster. There's plenty of options.”

Adam Hyeronimus spoke to the quality of his mount and seemed to suggest she'll only improve getting over further later in the season.

“It has been a huge 12 months – crazy, unbelievable,” said Hyeronimus.

“She's very good, this horse. After winning the Flight Stakes we tried to go to the Oaks and that can be very for three-year-old fillies but she came back and she really took some time to find her feet this preparation but her improvement from her first trial to her second trial, and her work from that second trial was very good.

“Very happy the way she worked last Saturday morning and it was probably the best she's ever worked.

“That gave me great confidence coming to the track today. I wasn't happy with the conditions today but it just shows how good she is and what she had to overcome.

“I think probably a mile is her sweet spot because she's got a beautiful high cruising speed and I think that is where she does win her races.

“She's got great gate speed so you don't have to push her to be anywhere but then once we go a furlong and she can go a nice gallop, but then when she gets to the 600 and you put the pressure on again, not many horses can do that.”

Tropical Squall is currently an equal-second favourite for the Group 1 (1500m) set to take place on March 16

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