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Bart Cummings’ dominant filly Norzita got an all-important Group 1 win next her name today taking out the Flight Stakes 2012 at Royal Randwick in impressive style, a victory that could see her head to Melbourne to chase more elite level glory this spring.
The daughter of Thorn Park was first past the post last start in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) but lost that race upon protest to Longport.
It was John Thompson’s Casino Prince filly Longport that was right up there in the finish again with Norzita in today’s $400,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) but this time the result was beyond doubt with the winner opening it up to win by two and a half lengths.
Longport hit the lead early from the Gai Waterhouse-trained favourite Urban Groove while another of the top fancies, Furious Stakes winner Dear Demi, was trapped in traffic and not happy about it either throwing her head around causing her to over-race in the unsuitable pace.
On the last turn for home Longport retained the lead but Norzita, ridden expertly by big race specialist Hugh Bowman who won earlier on Epsom Handicap Day with Mourayan in the Craven Plate, started to stride up on the outside.
The previously undefeated Urban Groove meanwhile was looking to push up too while the unlucky Dear Demi was under a lot of pressure in the middle.
Eventually Longport and Norzita broke free in a battle fighting it out stride for stride as they did last start.
This time however Norzita ($5.50) on the outside got the upper hand and raced away to win by two and a half from a terrific Longport ($14), an honest Dear Demi ($4.60) running a luckless third while the beaten favourite Urban Groove ($2.80F), who got a bit lost in the end, crossed in fourth.
It was a really dominant performance by Norzita, Bowman nursing her right up to the line as she went straight past Longport this time showing a great turn of foot and acceleration to put the race away.
“With these top riders like Hugh Bowman you don’t tell them much…he rode her very well,” Cummings’ stable manager Duncan Ramage said.
It is looking likely that Norzita will now head to Melbourne for races including the $500,000 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Wednesday October 17, and perhaps even the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November, but Ramage said they were taking it step by step with her.
“One step at a time Bart’s told me…but she’s won with authority (today),” he said.
Bowman was also confident with his mount this afternoon, crediting the filly and not his riding.
“I rode her working Tuesday morning and it was enough to give me confidence going into this race,” he said.
“She was first past the post and she really made no doubt of it today.
“The pace was so moderate…I just had to ride her with confidence and she delivered for me.
“The good draw helped I was able to get a trouble free run.
“Took it upon myself (to make a move) and the filly did a great job for me.”
The official 2012 Coolmore Flight Stakes finishing order, margins and times are detailed in the table below.
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2012 Flight Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Royal Randwick Race 6 – 06/10/2012
|1||5||NORZITA (NZ)||Bart Cummings||Hugh Bowman||–||3||56kg||$5.50|
|2||2||LONGPORT||John P Thompson||Jim Cassidy||2.5L||7||56kg||$14|
|3||1||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||James McDonald||4L||5||56kg||$4.60|
|4||6||URBAN GROOVE||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||4.6L||4||56kg||$2.80F|
|5||8||DUET||Bart Cummings||Peter Robl||5.8L||2||56kg||$21|
|6||4||FLYING SNITZEL||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||6.2L||1||56kg||$21|
|7||7||CHEZ HARMONY||David Payne||Nathan Berry||7.6L||6||56kg||$61|
|8||3||JADE MARAUDER||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||8.1L||9||56kg||$6|
|9||9||GONDOKORO (NZ)||Pat Carey||Corey Brown||11.7L||8||56kg||$51|
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