There were a few anxious moments for punters and connections of Godiva Rock before the filly broke through for an overdue win at Moonee Valley.
A Group One Blue Diamond Stakes placegetter at her second start last season, Godiva Rock had gone winless in her first seven races before putting that right with a maiden victory in Monday’s Essendon Hyundai Santa Fe Plate (1000m).
However, those that took the $1.55 on offer would have been concerned as the filly was awkwardly placed, locked away on the fence approaching the home turn.
Jockey Vlad Duric was eventually able to get the Mick Kent-trained filly into the clear in the straight, and Godiva Rock did the rest to score by a length over Streetshavenoname with a long neck to Word Of Mouth third.
“You don’t want to ride a $1.50 pop like that,” a relieved Duric said.
“When I ended up in the box seat I was a little bit concerned. I really wanted to have her in the running line and Mick actually wanted me in the first couple but she just didn’t have the speed to go early.”
Godiva Rock showed her class over the final 100m to put the race away and Kent is now keen to build on the victory.
“It’s just good to see her win,” Kent said.
“She has good ability and she didn’t have the best of springs last year. She got a virus early and didn’t come up very well.”
He said he would like to get a Saturday-class win next before looking at stakes racing later on.
“I think there’s more to come if we take our time with her,” Kent said.
Apprentice Kayla Nisbet brought up her first city double with victory on the Matthew Dale-trained Your Excellency in the City Jeep Handicap (1200m).
Nisbet grew up in Canberra where her father trains, while Dale is also based in the nation’s capital.
“I’ve known Matty since I was about 10 and his family, so it’s a big thrill to be able to ride a winner for him at Moonee Valley,” Nisbet said.
Nisbet had earlier won on Waldorf for her boss David Hayes and narrowly missed a treble when beaten a nose on $2 favourite Girl Guide in the last race.
Meanwhile, Mark Zahra was suspended for 10 meetings for careless riding. He starts his ban straight away and can return on March 20.