Trainer Graheme Begg is certain he has a genuine Group 1 performer with Bennetta after the filly scored a remarkable win in the Group 2 $175,000 Light Fingers Stakes(1200m) at Rosehill today.
Jockey James McDonald settled Bennetta back in the field and made a late run on the General Nediym filly to run down Ichihara who had made the pace in the race.
Bennetta was coming off a win in the $164,000 R. M. Williams Magic Millions Fillies & Mares Handicap (1300m) at the Gold Coast on January 12, but Begg knew that the filly had to prove herself in Group company before he would take on the best.
With today’s Group 2 win under her belt, Begg will now aim Bennetta towards the Group 1 $600,000 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill on March 23.
“It’s good to tick that box because the races she has won before they wouldn’t have been able to get her into any of the better class races,” Begg said.
“We are thinking about going to the Coolmore because the Magic Millions being a restricted race, so it’s very important to be able to win a Group race today and onwards and upwards for her.”
Begg is confident that Bennetta will handle the step up in distance to the 1500m of the Coolomre and maybe even get further.
“She’s lovely and relaxed, I can’t see any reason why she won’t, I think probably she may run a mile at some stage.”
Begg also was quick to compliment McDonald on his ride as he continues to ride plenty of winners in Sydney racing after relocating from New Zealand.
“He rode her fabulously well and just got the right breaks and just a matter of when he pushed the button,” Begg said.
Begg let McDonald work out his own race plan and the young jockey backed himself and came out a winner with Bennetta scoring by one and three quarter lengths form Ichihara.
“She’s a great filly and she is going to improve more to compete against the good Autumn fillies and I hope she does,” McDonald said.
“At the Gold Coast she really let down on a hard track and today she had to do it the tough way, grind away and show her fighting quality.”