Adam Trinder's decision to target what he saw as the weaker fillies' Group race paid significant dividends as his star filly Mystic Journey (Needs Further) showed her mettle and her talent to prevail in the G2 Aquis Farm Fillies Classic at Moonee Valley.
The 2.25l win over G1 Thousand Guineas runner-up Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt) raised questions about whether the Tasmanian filly would have been better placed at Group 1 level two weeks ago at Caulfield, but Trinder was satisfied with her success on Saturday.
"I just felt the three weeks into that (the Guineas) with the timing of things, she was a little bit hollow," he said.
"We were more than content to go the five weeks between runs by design. We bypassed a Group 1 but we are more than satisfied with a Group 2 win on Cox Plate Day."
"We bypassed a Group 1 but we are more than satisfied with a Group 2 win on Cox Plate Day." - Trainer, Adam Trinder
On one of the biggest days on the Australian racing calendar, the victory of a one-time $11,000 yearling, who arrived in Melbourne by boat the day before the race, to be ridden by a fly-in fly-out jockey and trained by someone who had never had a Group winner, can not be underestimated.
Overcoming all those factors, Mystic Journey was then forced to race three-deep without cover throughout the 1600m event. But the trainer was never really worried.
"She was strong and solid to the line and it’s easy to say it after the fact, while she was three deep without cover, she continued to build throughout the race and I grew in confidence as further they went," Trinder said.
Sticking with Darmanin
Darmanin, who mixes his Tasmanian riding duties with his work at Macedon Lodge, knew it wasn't his prettiest ride, but was delighted to have captured the second Group 2 victory of his journeyman career.
"It wasn't very nice to watch from a punter's perspective. But Adam Trinder has done a terrific job with this filly and all credit goes to him," he said. "It’s an amazing feeling."
"It wasn't very nice to watch from a punter's perspective. But Adam Trinder has done a terrific job with this filly and all credit goes to him. It’s an amazing feeling." - Anthony Darmanin
While he had plenty of other options for who to put on Mystic Journey, Trinder said he was always going to stick with the jockey who has ridden her in eight of her nine starts.
"Anthony's our senior jockey, he does all of our riding. There was a temptation there to go with the big names, but he's got a good understanding of her, he's done nothing wrong and we stuck with him," he said.
With six wins in nine starts, Mystic Journey now has claims on being one of the more exciting fillies in Australia, let alone in her home state. Trinder is convinced she will improve even more as she heads to the paddock to be aimed at features in the autumn.
"She was very dynamic as a sprinting filly. She ran times and broke 1100m track records as a 2-year-old which is unheard of. She's bred to get a trip, and now she is getting out to these trips where she can just get an easy sectionals mid race, she's very good," he said.
Big day for Needs Further
Her win is also huge boost for her sire, Needs Further, who stands at Armidale Stud at Carrick, near Launceston.
Mystic Journey is one of the two stakes winners for the stallion, whose oldest progeny are four.
His progeny swept the major 2-year-old races in Tasmania last season, leading to a much stronger demand for him this season alongside one of Armidale's other stallions, Alpine Eagle.