UP Hill Jill was back to her brilliant best on Thursday night at Sandown Park when winning a heat of the Group 1 Sapphire Crown (515m).
The David Geall trained bitch exited box eight in the third qualifier, stepping sensationally from the traps and crossing over to take the early lead around the first turn.
Despite the best efforts of Rob Britton’s Call Me Gee (box three) – the leader was off and gone swinging for home – racing clear in the run to the line to score by 2.29 lengths in a handy 29.60.
By Premier Fantasy out of Where’s Demonica, Up Hill Jill hadn’t been seen since finishing second in the Group 2 Warrnambool Cup (450m) earlier this month, but seemed to relish racing on the fresh side.
Up Hill Jill has now won 17 of her 32 starts with 10 minor placings, including a stunning victory in the Group 2 Laurels Classic at Sandown earlier this year.
The first heat of the Sapphire Crown was an exhilarating event, with Pepper Fire (box one) and Maja Mahi Mahi (box five) going stride for stride throughout the majority of the event.
However, at the finish Pepper Fire was able to get the better of her rival which had worked hard out wide throughout the race, scoring by 0.3 lengths in 29.84.
Heat two saw dual group 1 winner Striker Light start the favourite off box seven, but when the lids flew open the Brett Bravo-prepared bitch bumped with Fabregal (box six) which cost them both momentum in the charge to the line on the first occasion.
Taking advantage of the favourite’s misfortune was Flyrite (box five) which was able to slip through and take up the front spot.
Despite the best efforts of Striker Light and Fabregal, which both began grinding away at the margin, Flyrite was too strong – winning by 2.89 lengths in a respectable 29.61.
The final qualifier saw Group 2 Launching Pad winner Suffragette (box three) start the favourite, however the Kerrie White-trained chaser found a bit of trouble after the start and was unable to lead.
Instead finding the front around the first turn was Princess Pout (box five) which gave nothing else a chance after leading, charging away from her rivals to triumph by six lengths over Dash Of Rose (box eight) in 29.72.