Jovial Rock only found the front with her last stride but it was enough to claim a narrow victory in the second MIA Breeders Plate heat on Saturday.
The filly finished just a little bit the better than Victorian visitor The Defiant ($4.80) to win by a short half head.
Given the perfect run behind leader The Defiant by Nathan Jack, the daughter of Rock N Roll Heaven out sprinted her more experienced rival in a fast last quarter.
The last 400 metres was 28.7 seconds and Leeton trainer Wayne Sullivan was impressed with how she finished off the race.
“They went a fast last quarter and last half,” Sullivan said. “They only went 63 (seconds) up front then zipped home so she did it fairly nice.”
Sullivan is confident she will improve of her debut experience after recording a winning mile rate of 2:01.1.
“She goes better than that so we will see how she what happens later in the week,” he said.
“She went quicker at the trials the other night, they went two minutes and she did it quite comfortably.”
After starting from barrier one in the heat, Sullivan thinks a nice barrier draw will be key to further success.
“Fillies have got to draw well and if they don’t draw well and some of the better colts draw inside you, you are pretty much finished,” he said.
Jovial Rock also has to contend with a leg injury after striking out and hitting her nearside hind splint bone.
It was an issue she brought into the race but is something Sullivan will continue to monitor before Friday’s final.
“We will see what happens there,” he said.
“She may or may not be here (for the final).”
Sullivan normally drives his own horses but elected to put Jack on both his Plate hopefuls.
Leeton trainers have won the last four additions of the MIA Breeders Plate and Sullivan would love to extend their winning run.
He had Sports Chaton start favourite in the final two years ago, only for the gelding to come unstuck coming into the first turn and finish third.
“Especially in this area it is a nice race you want to win,” Sullivan said.
“For her there is better races down the track, she’s Australian Pacing Gold, Bathurst and Breeders Challenge (eligible) so if she’s in doubt I’m not that worried.
“I’ve had a lot of disappointment with this race so one more won’t matter.”
Moama trainer Tony Peacock qualifed two of his three runners for the final with Manos De Piedra and Tuakau Beach finishing in the placings in their respective heats.
Adding to the local flavour, Phil and Reece Maguire also qualified The Loustar as the fast fourth placed finisher behind Jovial Rock.
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