A super-impressive return to racing at Taupo on Friday has thrust Molly Bloom into equal favouritism for the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew Scott-trained filly by Ace High made only one start as an autumn two-year-old, producing an eye-catching finish for third behind Just A Floozie and Orchestral at Avondale on Anzac Day.
She carried a burgeoning reputation into the new season, rising to $8 second favouritism for the 1000 Guineas before she had even set foot on a racetrack as a three-year-old.
O’Sullivan and Scott chose Friday’s DPA Accountants 1200 as the starting point for Molly Bloom’s spring campaign, and she well and truly lived up to the hype.
After getting back and settling in second-last through the early part of the race, jockey Kozzi Asano saved ground coming up to the home turn and asked Molly Bloom to launch her run through the inside.
Friday’s Taupo meeting had favoured on-pace runners up to that point, but Molly Bloom flipped that script with a booming finish. She swept to the lead and went clear, scoring by a length and three-quarters.
“She quickened very well,” Scott said. “It was good to see her find her rhythm and settle as well as she did, and then the way that she found the line was very encouraging.
“She’s a filly that we’ve always had a lot of time for. Her trials have been good. She was quite immature as a two-year-old, so we educated her and then popped her away for a nice, long break. She made some good progress physically during that break, and she’s maintained her weight nicely so far this spring. Hopefully she can just keep building confidence and experience from here. There’s still some good improvement to come in her coat, so the signs are good.”
The TAB reacted to the win by cutting Molly Bloom to $5 for the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton on November 18. She now shares favouritism with Quintessa, who won last Saturday’s Gr.3 Gold Trail Stakes (1200m).
She has also been a big mover in markets for the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington, now holding $9 second favouritism with some Australian bookmakers.
“As far as what we do with her from here, we’ll let the horse tell us,” Scott said. “We’re just going to take things race by race for now. She holds entries for both Guineas down in Christchurch in November, but her maturity is going to dictate whether she gets that far and whether she’s ready for that trip.
“She’s got a long summer in front of her, so we’ll make sure that we look after her and do what’s right by the horse. There’s no need to rush into anything.”
Molly Bloom’s Taupo heroics made her the third winner this spring for Rich Hill Stud stallion Ace High, whose oldest progeny have just turned three. Bezique has been a back-to-back winner at Ruakaka in his last two starts, while Te Akau Racing’s My Lips Are Sealed cleared maiden ranks at Avondale earlier this month.