Lighthouse shows the way in Manifold
The US-bred mare Lighthouse has achieved the goal set for her in Australia with her stakes success at Flemington on Saturday, but such has been her immediate impact on the local scene, connections are considering raising the bar of expectation to Group 1 level.
Lighthouse, who was bred and is raced by American family business LNJ Foxwoods, won her fourth straight race and her first stakes race when ultimately a comfortable winner of the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes (1400m).
It was difficult not to be taken with the fast-finishing performance, according to co-trainer Dave Eustace.
"I thought she was very, very impressive today," he said. "She got a pretty cool ride from Jye (McNeil).
"We said to him pre-race to back her turn of foot, you don’t need to be in a rush because she’ll get herself out of trouble.
"Obviously it was her toughest test but I thought it was her most impressive win as well, she got herself out of trouble.
"Just having a chat with the boss (Ciaron Maher) then and we’ll have to work out what we do.
"There are races like the Orr which you’d have to think about but we’ll have to give her a little bit of time.
"She won’t go out. She might have a week or go to the water walker."
After being in a tricky position mid-race off the speed and in the ruck, McNeil found some space and the mare accelerated through to score at the odds of $2.45 favourite by a length and a quarter over Looks Like Elvis with a short neck to Not To Be Mist in third place.
McNeil said he hoped he could stay as the mare’s rider into the future.
"It was a little bit of a chequered path but I really loved the way she was gutsy in taking a small gap and the way she quickened down, it’s a credit to the team and the way they keep getting her to perform," he said.
"She was taking on some handy horses there and she was really brilliant the way she quickened down and put the race away so the future is really bright for her and hopefully I can stay with her."