More than six months of planning paid off for the connections of Sparks Alight when she scored a home town win in the Gold Bracelet at Bendigo.
Trainer Shane Fliedner earmarked Saturday’s $90,000 1400m race for the daughter of Rakti and, ridden by apprentice Jacob Rule, she thrilled him with her victory.
“Six months ago or a bit longer when they got this meeting I set this mare for this race,” Fliedner said.
“It is just fantastic to set a horse for a race and pull it off.”
Sparks Alight has always shown a lot of ability but, in particular, has a special liking for her home track.
She has never missed place in eight starts at Bendigo and four of her five career wins in 17 starts have been at the track.
Last start she gave Fliedner confidence that she was tuned up for the Gold Bracelet when, ridden by Rule, she scored a first-up neck win over Iridescente in a 1200-metre event at Moonee Valley.
Fliedner knew that 1400 metres was going to suit her better and he instructed Rule to hold nothing back.
“I said to Jacob before he went out that (settling) fourth or fifth would be nice and make the 200 metres the winning post and she won’t get run down,” Fliedner said.
She made her run down the centre of the track, racing clear inside the final 200 metres and holding off the fast-finishing Gail to score a three-quarter length win.
Two Hills set up a four-length break coming to the home turn and was brave up the straight, holding on to run third a length away.
Fliedner said Sparks Alight was a stronger and heavier horse this campaign and he is keen to test her against the better mares in the coming weeks.
“I am really rapt in her,” Fliedner said.
He said his short-term plan was to step her up again in distance and aim for Adelaide’s $175,000 Group Two Queen Of The South Stakes (1600m) at Morphettville on April 28.