An exciting summer lies ahead for talented mare La Spezia who marked her rise as a city class horse with a last stride win at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
The four-year-old is unbeaten in two runs this campaign and has improved through the grades winning three of her last four starts.
The Front Runner Membership Hcp (1600m) was an important test for her and she rose to occasion with a positive ride from jockey Jordan Childs.
La Spezia, who drifted from $12 to $15, pushed forward from her outside barrier and crossed to settle second, nearly three lengths behind the well supported The Marg factor ($7.50 to $6.50).
On the home turn she improved to within a length and slowly closed the gap in the straight to snatch victory by a nose, with the stakes-performed Standoff 1-1/2 lengths away third.
“There was nowhere to hide against some really nice mares tonight and we walked away from the track pretty excited about the summer,” trainer Jamie Edwards said.
“We always thought she was a city grade horse, and she will improve again as she gets out over a trip.”
Jordan Childs said La Spezia’s courage got over the line in the tight finish.
“The second horse (The Marg Factor) gave a good fight, and my horse was running on empty the last bit and was good to tough it out,” Jordan said.
Last campaign La Spezia showed good stamina easily winning her maiden over 2046m at Benalla at only her fourth start and resumed with a soft win at Warrnambool over 1400m on November 5.
Jamie said the float trip to Melbourne through heavy traffic was going to be challenge for the nervy La Spezia but with a small stable pony as a companion and her loyal strapper Lenny Andrews on board she coped well.
Lenny has been an important part of helping La Spezia handle race day pressure and despite sporting wounds from an accident at Wednesday’s Sandown races he made sure he was with the mare for her city debut.
The daughter of Toronado has weighed in at all seven of her starts and is a half-sister to her stablemate and city winning stayer Lorenzetti.
Breeder and owner Mike Palmer races La Spezia with the Janet Edwards, Barry Gilbert, David Holst and Stuart Wills, Shane O’Brien and the Thoroughbred Club of Geelong.
Jamie said La Spezia was a horse on the rise and he can’t wait to get her to 2000 metres.
“She is the right sort of horse at the right time of year and potentially she can win a lot of prizemoney quickly in this sort of grade,” he said.