Outstanding filly Anntonia served notice to all prospective rivals with her win at Club Menangle yesterday.
Capturing an Australian Pacing Gold heat at the world class venue when first-up from a break on May 11, Anntonia returned to secure a second round qualifier with ease.
Driven by Jack Trainor, Anntonia worked to the lead from barrier five before cruising to a soft 15-metre win from Bettor Be Kept.
Slick Sophie was a metre-and-a-half away third.
Covering the mile in 1:53, the David Thorn-trained daughter of Bettors Delight took her record to nine wins and five seconds from 14 starts for earnings of $240,926.
“I couldn’t be happier with her run,” Thorn said. “She improved between the two runs and will be better again next time around.
“That said, she will need to improve as it is going to be a lot harder for her.”
Anntonia’s “next time around” is the $350,000 Final at Tabcorp Park Melton on May 29, where she is likely to meet star stablemates Tough Tilly and Joanna.
“Emma’s (Stewart) two are clearly the pair to beat in the series,” Thorn said. “Anntonia is feeling as perfect as she can, so at this stage, we are going into it in top shape.
“I’ll leave on Wednesday and give her a couple of days to settle in before the race.”
Anntonia’s was in the first of two fillies’ qualifiers during the card, with Heaven Island annexing the second in 1:54.5.
Prepared by Paul Fitzpatrick and driven by Sean Grayling, Heaven Island scored at $41 upset as Elektra – a stablemate of the winner – and Soho Almasi filled the placings.
Pleased with Heaven Island’s effort, Fitzpatrick is yet to decide if the daughter of Captaintreacherous will head south for the Group One.
“I will talk it over with her owners,” Fitzpatrick said. “There is good money on offer even to run a placing, so it’s more than likely she will go.”