A pre-race plan of finding the fence has paid a dividend for the connections of Chica Fuerte in the Group 3 Alexandra Stakes at The Valley.
Trainers Anthony And Sam Freedman have Group 1 aspirations in Adelaide for Chica Fuerte following her all-the-way victory at The Valley on Friday night.
Away smartly, Mark Zahra pushed forward aboard the $2.10 favourite in the Group 3 Alexandra Stakes (1600m) to find the lead in a calculated pre-race move.
Zahra allowed the daughter of Hinchinbrook a mid-race breather before ramping up the tempo at the 600m mark.
Being headed before the turn by Miss Inbetween switched on Chica Fuerte who held off Love Sensation ($3.60) by three-quarters-of-a-length with Wanaliri ($51) 1-¼ lengths away third.
With the majority of stables thinking of the carnival in Sydney, the father-and-son Freedman team are looking to Adelaide for the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on May 1.
“She’ll probably go to Adelaide,” Freedman stable representative Steve Adams said.
“She won a Group 3 in the spring over 2000 (metres) so I think that’s her pet distance.”
Adams said pre-race planning was for the filly to lead on Friday night.
“She tends to lay in a bit when she’s in behind horses so we thought that there’d be a little bit of pressure early,” Adams said.
“But Mark pushed the button and once she got to the front, she was going to be hard to beat.”
Zahra said he thought on the home turn that he was going to run fifth after Miss Inbetween headed her.
“I wasn’t finding much and it wasn’t until nearly Miss Inbetween headed me that she really got going again,” Zahra said.
“I knew I was going to be vulnerable late, but I was surprised how hard she fought.”