A vintage renewal of the$500,000 Group I MVRC William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night brought a rematch of the first four home in the recent Group I VRC Newmarket Handicap with I Am Invincible filly Loving Gaby emerging triumphant.
Second in the Newmarket, splitting Bivouac and Gytrash, Loving Gaby turned the tables to beat Gytrash by a length and a quarter with Bivouac holding on for third and Oakleigh Plate winner Pippie a brave fourth.
Prepared by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Loving Gaby was positive from the gates under Craig Williams to stalk Bivouac in the lead and was too strong in the run home to keep her Moonee Valley record a perfect three from three.
“It’s a great job from our team and Phoenix have been big supporters of the stable so it’s great to win another Group I for them with her,” said Ciaron Maher.
“Craig had to be forceful to take up a position and it all worked out. It was her night tonight.”
Ciaron Maher indicated the $7.5million ATC Golden Eagle (1500m) for four year-olds may be a target in the spring given star sprinting filly Sunlight, who won the William Reid last year, acquitted herself well in the race last year to finish a close second.
Although for now, the immediate goal will be the Group I ATC TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) in Sydney next month.
A $500,000 Inglis Easter purchase for Phoenix Thoroughbreds from the Kia Ora Stud draft, Loving Gaby has the overall record of four wins and six placings from 12 starts with prizemoney in excess of $2.2 million.
Loving Gaby was bred by Kia Ora in partnership with Alan Bell and is the first foal of Group II placed Maastricht, who was race by Bell.
A half-sister by Mastercraftsman (IRE) to Group I winner Velocitea and stakes-winner Weaponry, Maastricht produced a lovely filly by Loving Gaby’s sire I Am Invincible at Coolmore last spring.