Sydney horseman Gerald Ryan continued his good run with three-year-olds in the early autumn with his promising filly Perignon diving late to take out the Light Fingers Stakes 2016 at Royal Randwick on Apollo Stakes Day.
After the success of stablemate Spill The Beans in last weekend’s Eskimo Prince Stakes for the boys, nicely-bred Snitzel filly Perignon went out as a $10 chance in betting for her first-up run in the $175,000 Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
Having always showed above average ability over her early starts including her third to Speak Fondly in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) last October, Perignon put the writing on the wall for a big autumn campaign.
Ridden by in-form Tim Clark she settled off the pace set by Harlem River who raced keenly setting the speed up front ahead of Kangarilla Joy for Team Snowden and the John O’Shea-trained Pearls in third.
Hot favourite following the early scratching of Ghisoni was the returning David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained Thousand Guineas winner Stay With Me, who hoop Kerrin McEvoy had settled back in last.
The top fancy was never a winning chance however, still five off them on the straight and given an impossible task the way the race was run.
On the run home Harlem River tried to fend off her rivals, but the complexion of the race changed over the final 50m and the front runner was quickly put under pressure.
Hugh Bowman started to come with Kangarilla Joy who he had cuddled through the run, with the James Cummings-trained Tempt Me Not briefly hitting the lead.
Perignon ($10) dived late however and got up to defeat Kangarilla Joy ($3.50) narrowly with roughie shot Tempt Me Not ($26) holding for third.
Ryan’s foreman Stirling Alexio confirmed plans to go through the traditional Three-Years-Old Fillies Series this autumn with the Light Fingers Stakes winner who would back-up in the $175,000 Group 2 Surround Stakes (1400m) back at the track on February 27.
If all goes well and she continues to step up, Perignon will target the $600,000 Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, March 12.
Last year’s Light Fingers Stakes runner-up First Seal backed up to win the Surround Stakes before a second in the Coolmore Classic to Plucky Belle.
“It’s good to get a big win next to her name,” Alexio said.
“Obviously the normal plan is to step through the fillies’ series maybe onto the Coolmore (Classic).
“(Jockey) Hugh Bowman wasn’t sold on her over a solid mile last time, so we’ll just let her tell us.
“We decided to pull the pin on a Magic Millions bid and set her for the autumn and it’s come to fruition this time.”
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2016 Light Fingers Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 3 – 13/02/2016
|1||2||PERIGNON||Gerald Ryan||Tim Clark||–||6||56kg||$9|
|2||6||KANGARILLA JOY||Peter & Paul Snowden||Hugh Bowman||0.2L||5||56kg||$3.30|
|3||5||TEMPT ME NOT||James Cummings||Jason Collett||0.4L||2||56kg||$26|
|4||4||HARLEM RIVER||Gai Waterhouse||Brenton Avdulla||1L||3||56kg||$6.50|
|5||1||STAY WITH ME||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Kerrin McEvoy||2.3L||7||56kg||$2.60F|
|6||3||PEARLS||John O’Shea||Sam Clipperton||3.5L||1||56kg||$9|
|7||8||PERASINO||Thomas Elmes||Ms Winona Costin (a)||13.1L||4||56kg||$151|
|–||7||GHISONI||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||0||–||–|