By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
At the 200m mark Aqua D’ivina looked more likely to finish last than first but the promising filly rallied to win the ATC Owners Benefit Card Handicap (1400m).
Aqua D'ivina winning at Randwick
“She raced on and off the bridle most of the way due to the speed. They pulled up middle stages and when they quickened left her flatfooted,” said jockey Jason Collett.
“That did show a bit of depth as to what she’s got. She was on and off the bridle, and had to pick herself up and then quicken to win the race.
“The penny is dropping but it is still not completely there yet. Today was a step up in class and she was a bit flatfooted when they quickened on the bend but she dug deep which is a good sign.
“She has got a frame but is still quite narrow. In time she’ll fill out a bit more.”
Punters' Intel sectionals reveal closing splits of 10.98s and 11.25s with a last 600m of 33.57s so Aqua D’ivina certainly wasn’t labouring at any stage, as the replay may deceptively suggest.
The lure of a Magic Millions berth next week is tempting for trainer Matthew Smith but he has reservations about it all coming too soon for the daughter of Pierro.
If the filly bypasses the Gold Coast, Aqua D’ivina will likely be seen again in Sydney in three weeks’ time over the mile before tackling the Princess Series in the autumn.
“It was good the last 50m, no worries about that. She’s got a bit of stamina I’d say the way she hit the line late so can’t wait to see her over the mile,” Smith said.
“She took a little bit to get going but once she did she was too strong.”
Aqua D’ivina took a while to warm up but was too strong at the finish! Congrats to connections. pic.twitter.com/s6VG6V16lf
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) January 6, 2018
Smith revealed he has always thought highly of Aqua D’ivina, who is out of star mare Aqua D’Amore, pairing her with the Group Three placed maiden Touch of Mink.
“There is nothing between her and Touch Of Mink and there hasn’t been at any stage. We’ve always thought highly of the two of them and were thinking we’ve either got two average ones or two really good ones,” he said.
Touch of Mink will be seen at the trials shortly before embarking on an Oaks campaign over the autumn carnival.