Debutant Kali stamped herself as a filly to follow when she eased to an effortless victory over 1300m at Hastings on Saturday.
The Darci Brahma filly had caught the eye with a pair of convincing trial wins prior to her debut and was warmly supported as second favourite for the event behind debut winner Puysegur.
Rider Leith Innes positioned the filly perfectly behind pacemaker Stateline throughout and it was obvious approaching the home turn that he had a lapful of horse underneath him.
Once Innes asked for an effort, Kali bounded clear and cruised home more than two lengths clear of fellow Cambridge raiders On The Ball and Mongolian Heaven.
Trainer Tony Pike had been confident of a good performance from the filly after pleasing him with her trial efforts leading into the race.
“She’s a big scopey filly who’s shown us lots of natural ability,” he said.
“She had been a little green off the bridle in her last trial, but I thought with natural improvement she would be a big chance today.
“She has a very high cruising speed and Leith did say she wanted to go faster in the early stages.
“When he let her go, she quickened nicely, and it was a very good win first-up.”
Pike will now set Kali aside over the winter before bringing her back for some serious targets in the spring.
“It’s good to get a win with her as a late season two-year-old and I think we will probably tip her out for a break now,” he said.
“She comes from a family that has tended to get over a little bit of ground so I think with some time on her that she will get out to 1600m or further.
“Now that she has had a trip to Hastings it sets her up nicely for the spring carnival here with races like the Gold Trail Stakes (Gr.3 1200m) on the radar.
“If she can go well in races like that then the obvious target would be the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) at Riccarton.”
Kali is the last foal of St. Petersburg mare, Race Empress and is a half-sister to stakes placed filly Royal Dominance and promising three-year-old Heavenly Emperor.
The win kicked off the first of a raceday double for Innes who took out the feature event, the Listed Royston Hospital Hawke’s Bay Cup (2200m) on Felaar later on the card. – NZ Racing Desk