It shaped as a two-horse race and the $1 million Inglis 3YO Sprint didn’t disappoint with star fillies Fiesta and Estijaab fighting out the finish at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Golden Slipper winner Estijaab was returning from 10 months on the sidelines after having tie-back surgery in the spring while Fiesta made the most of a three-year-old spring campaign and proved too strong over the latter stages.
The Chris Waller-trained daughter of I Am Invincible has been a model of consistency throughout her 12-start career.
Having her first start in 2019, Fiesta raced behind the speed, overcoming a four-wide trip before storming down the centre of the straight and overhauling the leader Estijaab which fought on gamely.
“I knew what I had to run down and I must say Brenton (Avdulla – Estijaab) had a very easy time of it up front,” winning rider Glyn Schofield said.
“I was on the back of the front three or four with a bit of cover absolutely smoking my pipe.
“I just had to pinch myself and say ‘don’t go yet, just count to 10’ because she was just travelling so sweetly but I must say when I joined Brenton, the Slipper winner gave a bit of a kick.
“Then I got serious, asked her for a deep effort, she found plenty.”
Fiesta ($4.20 eq fav) defeated Hawkes Racing’s Estijaab ($4.20 eq fav) by three-quarters of a length with another 1-3/4 lengths back to the Anthony Cummings-trained Mizzy ($7.50) in third.
Post-race Avdulla praised the efforts of Estijaab and signalled punters should only expect improvement to come from the daughter of Snitzel.
“She was great, ran terrific,” he said. “You can’t ask for much more than that after a long time away from the races.
“If today was on top of the ground I reckon she might have skipped away and beat them.
“She will only improve and it was a good filly that beat her. No disgrace.”
Waller said Fiesta would now head to the Group I Surround Stakes (1400m) in three weeks before a possible crack at the older mares later in the autumn.
“The Surround in three weeks looks the logical next target for her,” he said. “She’s such a versatile filly, a pleasure to train.
“After the surround we’ll probably look at the Coolmore with her. Three-year-olds at this time of the year have a good record and then probably through to the (Coolmore) Legacy.
“There’s plenty of options about for her.” – Racenet.com.au