Donna Logan knew Sir Lovesalot was ready.
The Ruakaka trainer had bided her time with the Darci Brahma four-year-old entire as he grew into himself and matured as a racehorse, but the time was right to strike at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Logan and her training partner Dean Logan produced Sir Lovesalot for the first time in open stakes company in the Listed $50,000 Shaw's Wire Ropes Stakes (1400m) and in the hands of leading rider Mark Du Plessis, he struck success immediately.
"He's been a very consistent horse right throughout his career. He just hadn't matured. But he's reached his maturity now," Logan said afterwards.
"He's always operated in the best of company and this is a good step up for him. We were pretty confident with the weight he had. He was so well.
''Speaking with Dominic Li, the owner in Hong Kong, earlier today, I said 'I couldn't have this horse strip any fitter than he is today. He's 100 per cent'. And it proved accordingly. He kicked when asked and it was a beautiful ride from Mark."
Du Plessis pushed forward early with Sir Lovesalot, having to exert previous energy to get to a position outside the leader, Single Currency.
He challenged and led with 300m to run and fought gamely to the line, holding off the late-closing Spin Doctor by a length, with favourite Shandream finishing half a length further back in third.
Single Currency, a luckless Full Of Spirit and Gunsmoke were next home at close intervals, with Sangster and Historian producing encouraging returns for 10th and 11th after finding trouble in the straight.
Logan indicated Sir Lovesalot would have his next start in the Gr II $100,000 Rich Hill Mile (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 1, a race where he would face several of the rivals he beat home on Saturday.
"The Rich Hill Mile is a race that will suit him but we'll get him home and assess it," Logan said.
"It's very pleasing. He's such a gentleman to work with. He stood in the tie-ups beside a filly today and didn't give a dam. He's just a true-blue gentleman. We've always thought he'd get a bit more ground."
Du Plessis said he'd had to use Sir Lovesalot's speed to take up a handy position but his mount was always willing to give more when he asked him to.
"It was a better win than it looked. I had to cuddle him in the straight but he gave a good kick. Everything I asked him to do, he just did. He was always there when I wanted him."
- © Fairfax NZ News