By Joshua Smith, Harness News Desk
Girls Are Best rewarded her connections for their patience with her maiden win at Cambridge Raceway on Friday night.
While the Brian and Gareth Hughes-trained filly placed as a late two-year-old last year, she was given a year off to develop and her connections are now reaping the rewards.
She resumed last month with a third placing at Alexandra Park and was subsequently sent out a $2.10 favourite in the Ike Unsworth Mobile Pace (2200m) at Cambridge on Friday.
Driver Todd Mitchell pressed forward for an early lead where he was able to control the race and Girls Are Best proved too strong in the closing stages to win by 1-3/4 lengths over Private Eye, with a further three-quarters of a length back to Wet Flipflops in third.
Her trainers were justifiably pleased with the result.
“It was a nice run, we are really happy about it,” Gareth Hughes said.
“She went awesome last start at Auckland. She sat parked and still stuck on for third. She got a bit more in her favour tonight once she got to the top and it was a nice result.”
Hughes said Girls Are Best has really strengthened over her 12-month break from racing and that is starting to show in her races.
“She is quite a big filly so we gave her a bit of extra time and it has worked out well with the change in the birthdays with her still being three,” he said.
Later on the card, stablemate Murphy’s Reward showed his tenacity when sticking on to run third in the Black Dog Furniture Mobile Pace (2200m) after leading throughout.
“He keeps going honest races and he went really well again tonight,” Hughes said. “He did a fair bit early and only to go down by a short margin was very pleasing.”
Based in Pukekohe, Hughes was unable to be trackside as a result of the COVID-19 enforced restrictions at the Waikato-Auckland border, and he said they are grateful to Todd Mitchell for looking after their pair of runners on Friday.
“Todd has been really good,” Hughes said. “Dad has been in contact with him for the last week and a bit and he was good enough to look after and drive both of them for us, it has worked out well.
“It is good to see racing back up and going.”