Stakes targets could be in the offing for promising filly Grande Gallo following her eye-catching win in the Eagle Technology 1500 at Pukekohe on Monday.
The Lance O’Sullivan and Andrew-Scott trained three-year-old was having her first run since disappointing with her 14th placed run in the Gr.1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in November and relished returning to the right-handed way of going at Pukekohe on New Year’s Day.
The daughter of Belardo settled off the pace for jockey Warren Kennedy, who wasn’t content with the speed in the race in the middle stages, so he elected to be the aggressor and sent his filly forward at the 800m mark.
Grande Gallo circled the field and quickly found herself in the lead. She pinched a gap on her rivals down the straight and continued to accelerate to score a three-length victory over Sorghaghtani, with a further 1-1/4 lengths back to To Catch A Thief in third.
Former champion jockey O’Sullivan was effusive in his praise for Kennedy’s ride.
“If you have a look at the ride from the jock, it was pretty sensational. He took the bull by the horns and took off a long way from home. It was some ride,” O’Sullivan said.
“Warren said he was going to search early in the run for ground out wide, and he said if they are dawdling he will go forward at some stage, and that is exactly what he did.”
Kennedy was pleased to make a winning start to the premier meeting and said punters should keep their eye in the progressive filly.
“She made up a lot of ground pretty quickly and she fought all the way to the line,” he said.
“She ran a good race and had a good blow afterwards, so there is more in the tank with her. She looks like a filly you can follow, she is progressive.”
O’Sullivan was rapt to see Grande Gallo return to form and said left-handed tracks seem to be her kryptonite at this stage of her career.
“If you look at her form, it is all right-handed, even when she has trialled. The only time she has disappointed is when going the left-handed way around,” he said.
“It was good to see her turn that form around from Christchurch to today.”
While aware of her weakness going left-handed, O’Sullivan said they may have to try their luck once more later this month and tackle the Gr.3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham with the filly they purchased out of Haunui Farm’s 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Yearling Sale draft for $85,000.
“It would be nice to run in one of the three-year-old fillies races where she could get black-type, but unfortunately the mile at Wellington is left-handed so Andrew and I will just have to rethink that and have a look at that, but that is still a possibility,” O’Sullivan said.