Viadana belies lowly price tag
up for the fight.
‘‘I’ve had the Queen of the Turf in mind for quite a while,’’ he says.
‘‘That’s why we backed off her after she ran fourth in the Zabeel Classic at Christmas. We could have gone to Trentham for the Thorndon Mile but instead I freshened her and then when she came back and won the NRM Sprint at Te Rapa I knew she deserved to go to Sydney.’’
The crucial part of that plan is a continuation of her form and in that respect Noble could not have wished for more.
After a hard-luck fourth in the Haunui Group I Classic at Otaki, she exceeded expectations when carrying topweight of 59 kilograms to victory in the Japan/ New Zealand Trophy at Tauranga last month and then fronted up at Te Aroha to score the best and most impressive win of her career.
What Viadana is achieving now is a far cry from her early form, but not exactly a surprise to those closest to her.
‘‘As a yearling she was plain but there was still a lot to like about her and the price was right to form a syndicate,’’ Noble recalls.
‘‘She was tough to break in and for a start she was a very finicky eater, she was light and cantankerous.
‘‘She always looked like she would need time but when she went to her first trial as a late 2-year-old and finished third on a light preparation I knew she had something. When I got her back at 3 she came along steadily and won a maiden at Te Teko, but she was still a long way off.
‘‘What made her was being told by her owners I could take as long as I felt I needed, and what we’re seeing now is pretty much the result of being allowed that time.’’
Last autumn Viadana broke through for her first Group I win in the Easter Handicap at Ellerslie and on her return to work Noble knew that wasn’t the end of it.
‘‘Even last season as a 5-yearold she wasn’t fully mature, but when she came back to the stable last spring she was the heaviest she had ever been, around 520 kilos. The amazing thing about her preparation this season is the way she’s thrived, she’s just kept putting on weight.
‘‘Going into Saturday she weighed 526 kilos and the way she won and came through it just showed how she has blossomed and gained that confidence. She’s almost arrogant now and but most of all she’s enjoying what she’s doing.
‘‘That counts for a lot and . . . I think it’s the right time to be heading across to Aussie.’’
Perfect result: Craig Grylls celebrates yet another big win on Viadana in the $200,000 Fiber Fresh New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes at Te Aroha.