The Group 3 Vanity has been long used as a springboard for fillies to an autumn Group 1 and, while that might be the case again for Saturday’s winner Barb Raider, the win was all about the moment.

“She’s my best horse – it’s just fantastic,” trainer Jerome Hunter said. “I hope there are bigger races (ahead) but certainly it is very satisfying today.

“So much hard work at home, all the staff and track riders, we’re a good team. It’s paid off. We’re not the biggest stable but we certainly try our hardest.”

Ridden perfectly by Craig Williams, Barb Raider ($2.90 fav) enjoyed a nice run behind the speed before she angled and chased down the leaders to score an impressive first-up victory over the fast-finishing Cardigan Queen ($5.50), who edged out early leader Ancient Girl ($10).

Barb Raider came to attention last spring when she finished third in the G1 Thousand Guineas but when she was unplaced in the Wakeful Stakes, Hunter said it was decided to pass on a chance to win the VRC Oaks.

“I didn’t want to burn her out,” he explained.

“I didn’t want to go to the Oaks. I didn’t want her to be a filly where they go ‘I remember that horse that ran in the Oaks’.

“I wanted her to come back and to have an older horse. So, we put her out on a good note and she thrived out there with spring weather and grass up to her knees.”

Hunter said Barb Raider’s grand final is likely to come in Sydney when she races in the G1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 26, but she was prepared for a big first-up run.

“You hope they come back and this whole preparation she’s done everything 100 per cent. Just her demeanour as well,” he said.

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