Loving Gaby wins the Manikato Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)

Loving Gaby wins the Manikato Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)

Bend a blessing for Gaby

Ciaron Maher and Craig Williams came to the same conclusion about Loving Gaby’s chances in Friday night’s William Reid Stakes (1200m) after she burned around The Valley on Monday morning.

After three placings in straight-track features stretching back to last spring, Loving Gaby gets to a series of bends at The Valley in Friday night’s Group 1 and both trainer and jockey thought that could be the edge she needs to win the $500,000 race.

Loving Gaby was comprehensively beaten in the $1.25m Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) by fellow three-year-old Bivouac but Maher said her ability to handle The Valley held her in good stead.

"It’s one for one (against Bivouac)," Maher said.

"He was very impressive last start and he obviously got the job done here. She has a tendency to lay-in a little bit so that really suits her here at The Valley.

"She really pings off the bend and Craig (Williams) knows her well and he was happy."

WATCH: 2020 Newmarket Handicap

Indeed he was: "I keep forgetting she’s a three-year-old filly but she is just an imposing type with her physique and her performance – she is just galloping so well," Williams said.

"She was really good. She loved the cut in the track, loves the Valley and her two runs this prep have been super so hopefully she can get to the winner’s stall this Friday night.

"I like her around the bend, and this is where she won her Group 1 Manikato. The ground was quite soft out there and she really motored.

"I loved how solid she was in her work. She’s actually come through the race really well as she’s actually quite aggressive and very similar to the Manikato.

"Last time, Bivouac was just awesome and we felt like we drew to disadvantage without taking anything away from him."

Maher discusses his other likely contenders at The Valley on Friday night:

Unanimous (Listed St Albans Stakes): "He’s going the right way that horse. He seems to have come on since his first-up win. He was quite impressive on debut and we just wanted to give hm a look around the Valley before Friday night. He just worked on the bridle but I felt that’s all he needed to do. That should be enough."

Overkill (3YO Plate): "He’s a horse that’s always shown us plenty of ability and it was a nice win the other day. He’s a horse going places and he worked nicely here again this morning. I think he’s really improving."

Snapdancer (Group 3 Alexandra Stakes): "I thought she was great first-up. I think she just peaked on her run about 150 (metres) out. She’s trained on nicely and had a nice gap between runs. The Valley will be no trouble and out to the mile will be ideal. She’s going the right way. I thought this was really a nice race that she can be a real chance in and hopeful add to her pedigree page."

Piccatric (Group 3 Alexandra Stakes): "Last start we just went forward and he really seemed to relish that. She’s a filly with a nice pedigree. Snapdancer probably had the better of her in her work but we’ll have a look and see (what race to run in). Even if she can place it would be ideal."

Bons Away (William Red Stakes and Hareeba Stakes): "He’s had a bit of a freshen-up down at Balnarring and I was very happy with the way he worked. He loves the Valley and the cut in the track. He’ll have a nom(ination) for Friday night (William Reid) but I through the Hareeba at Mornington might be a race he can win. He’s always thereabouts but it would do him good to win one."

Lagerfield (55 Second Challenge Final): "He didn’t need to do a lot. I just said to Craig to ride him where he’s comfortable, but he took Craig for a ride actually. He burned around there fairly solidly. He’s a very honest horse and very straight forward. His fitness is pretty good. He’s been in work for a while but we’re just trying to find the right race and hopefully that’s Friday night."

Bam’s On Fire (Sunline Stakes): "She’s not far away. She’s very honest and she’s just thriving. She’s trained out of our Ballarat stable. She can hold a preparation and she just had a nice maintenance gallop this morning heading towards the Sunline."