Savabeel filly strikes early

Savabeel fan Rudy Liefting got an early bonus victory with a daughter of the Zabeel stallion at Woodville yesterday. The WS-bred and sold Ray’s Girl made the long trip south worthwhile for the Pukekohe trainer when she claimed the juvenile event at just her second appearance.

Liefting had done his homework at last year’s National Yearling Sale and was intent on securing a youngster by the former Cox Plate winner. “I looked at every Savabeel there was and narrowed it down to two and got this one for only $6000,” he said. With her pedigree in mind, Ray’s Girl wasn’t entered for the Karaka Million. “She’s by a stayer over a stayer and I didn’t want to rush her,” Liefting said. “Anything she’s doing at two is a bit of a bonus and you’d think she’s only going to get better.”

Raced by Liefting’s long-time friend Ray Bosher, Ray’s Girl had finished eighth on debut at Te Rapa after drawing the outside gate. “I didn’t really want to start her, but there’s too few maiden two-year-old races in the north,” Liefting said. “It was quite a tough run, but she came through it really well.”

The first foal of the Viking Ruler mare Natural Rhythm, Ray’s Girl led early before she was steadied to trail by Shohei Shirahama and they finished stoutly in the straight. “I’m pleased she settled well and finished over the top of them,” Liefting said. “She’s got another couple of runs in her so we’ll probably have a look at something better. She might be a Champagne Stakes-type horse.”

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