Ace Tasmanian filly Mystic Journey caught the eye on Tuesday during a brilliant trial win at home ahead of a spring return targeting the 2019 Cox Plate at The Valley this October.
Adam Trinder’s Spreyton-trained daughter of Needs Further proved the revelation of the autumn with an historical campaign that boosted her career earnings up over $3.2 million.
The three-year-old has to date won 10 of her 13 career starts and was last seen beating home her older rivals at Flemington on March 16 in the inaugural edition of the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m).
Pre-nomination Cox Plate odds at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au list Mystic Journey at $4.60, her favouritism confirmed with her first official trial ahead of the spring.
Before the All-Star Mile win, Mystic Journey made history as the first Tasmanian-trained Group 1 winner in over a century when beating home the boys in the $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m) by over two lengths.
She made her maiden public appearance since the autumn on Tuesday morning in the opening heat at Devonport on the synthetic track.
All eyes were on the bonny filly, affectionately dubbed ‘Betty’ in the way former champion Black Caviar was known as ‘Nelly’, in the 800m open trial that Tasracing live streamed online especially.
Last into the barriers with a bit of pre-jump drama from one of the other runners, Mystic Journey was cool as ever.
Quick out, she settled second throughout the run before moving up to give frontrunner Century Arrow a challenge on the straight.
She took little persuading to pass her rival and 150m from the line Mystic Journey got going for apprentice hoop Chris Graham who guided the superstar to a one length victory over the one-time leader.
Mystic Journey won the hit-out in a slick 47.87 seconds, her final 600m sectional completed in a smart 33.51 seconds without ever really being pushed.
The rising four-year-old will be chasing a seventh consecutive turf triumph when she races first-up at Caulfield Racecourse on July 27 in the Group 3 $160,000 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), track conditions permitting.
Trinder has raised concerns over the possibility of a rain-affected track on Bletchingly Stakes Day, while the filly’s sole owner Wayne Roser has some concerns of his own ahead of her return.
Roser said that there were worries about the level of international participation from raiders in this year’s Cox Plate field.
There are 11 international Cox Plate invitees in 2019 and an enticing $2 million MVRC bonus on offer to any internationally-trained Cox Plate winner that also wins another of a selected series of overseas events.
“That was mainly in relation to the publicity that I read about the number of overseas horses coming to Australia basically, but for the Cox Plate in particular,” Roser told RadioTab speaking about his comments to Racing Victoria officials.
“I was a little concerned that the whole field would be taken up with international runners.
“As you have read the publicity from Moonee Valley and Racing Victoria … I think they have invited 11 runners and then there is other overseas runners mentioned.
“I was a little bit concerned that Australian horses would not get the opportunity to run in these good races.
“I’m just concerned that Australian horses weren’t getting an opportunity.
“So, I expressed my opinion a number of times and I think that is going to resolve itself over time.
“It’s a wait and see at this particular moment.”
All going to plan, Mystic Journey will likely contest the Group 1 $1 million Memise Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 31, Group 1 $750,000 Maykbe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 14 and Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) back at her pet Flemington track on October 5 on her way to Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.