Group One winner La Crique showed a change in home has done nothing to hinder her spring preparation when she put in an eye-catching runner-up performance in her 1100m heat at the Taupo trials on Wednesday.
The daughter of Vadamos settled off the pace for jockey Craig Grylls, who bided his time before navigating his charge wide at the turn and La Crique showed a good turn of foot to storm home late to just miss winner Aromatic by a head.
Trainers Katrina and Simon Alexander, who earlier in the week moved into their new Te Awamtu barn, were pleased with what they saw from their mare.
“I was really rapt with that. More the fact that she settled back nicely, which is the way I would prefer her to do things. It was a nice hit-out,” Katrina Alexander said.
“Gryllsy (Craig Grylls) said she actually missed the kick a little bit. I said to him be mindful that we have just moved stables with the whole team on Sunday, so she is in a settling in phase in a new environment.
“Today was really about the day out just to bring her on a little bit. The plan was to get her nice and relaxed, keep her in hand and keep her balanced, but at the same time, making sure we have benefited from the day out.
“It was pretty much a perfect trial.”
La Crique’s spring preparation last year was hampered by inclement weather, but Alexander is hoping trialling under the sun at Taupo is a sign of things to come ahead of La Crique’s first target, the Gr.1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) at Hastings next month.
“The season has already got a way better feel about it than last year,” she said.
“Even the work that we have been able to do coming through has been uninterrupted, unlike last year.
“We just have our fingers crossed that the weather continues to pick up from now.
“We are still sticking to our decision that if it doesn’t do that and it doesn’t behave then we will be patient, but at this stage it is looking very promising and we are on track for where we need to be, we just need the weather to play its part.”
Alexander has been pleased with the way La Crique has returned this preparation, believing she is finally starting to mature.
“She has been quite settled in herself and I am quite pleased with how she has settled into the new stables. That doesn’t seem to have interrupted anything either,” she said.
“Maturity is coming. She has come up in front quite a lot. There is still not a lot of her compared to other horses, but she is developing and is heavier.
“I am happy with the article we have at the moment."