Loving Gaby wins the Scarborough Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
Loving Gaby has shaken off the effects from a testing juvenile campaign to put herself squarely in the Group 1 picture this spring following a breathtaking Group 3 Scarborough Stakes (1200m) win at The Valley.
The filly had been a notable absentee from the early season races this spring and she missed a number of planned trials also, but she cast-off any concerns she might struggle to come up after contesting four Group 1 races in a row to finish off her two-year-old season.
"She was a bit soft but that’s what good horses do," co-trainer Ciaron Maher said after Loving Gaby came from the rear of the field to win.
"They just don’t do that unless they are exceptional and I think she is."
After taking her time to find her feet, Loving Gaby ($6) found herself near the tail of the field but jockey Damian Lane got her going inside the final 600 metres and she looped the entire field to score over the in-form filly of the spring so far in Exhilarates ($3.40 fav).
WATCH: Loving Gaby blitzes her rivals first-up at The Valley
"She came to the races against a pretty slick field and she’s not fully fit yet and she had to do it the tough way a little bit," Maher said. "She had no favours."
Maher said he was careful not to test Loving Gaby too early after she contested so many of the elite juvenile races last season.
"She had four group 1 races in her first preparation and they aren’t motor bikes," Maher said.
"She was a little bit vulnerable because of where she’s at – she’s a bit soft in her preparation so that will bring her right up to speed."
Maher said Loving Gaby’s main spring aim was the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day.