Progressive mare Vaquera (4m High Chaparral x The Mighty Lions, by Grosvenor) ended her three year-old season with a brave third in the Group I BRC Queensland Oaks and started spring with an eye-catching victory on Wednesday in the Group III Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle.
Easy in the market, the Gai Waterhouse trained Vaquera had two barrier trials under her belt and stormed home to win the 1400 metre sprint by half a head for Tommy Berry.
Entered for the Group I ATC Metropolitan and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, Vaquera could join the Waterhouse Melbourne spring raiding party, but the trainer said she had some assignments to complete in Sydney first.
“Today was more like a mile race and she was looking for longer,” Waterhouse said.
“Today was a crucial stepping stone to where we would go. We’ll stay in Sydney at present and then move to Melbourne if she keeps going the way she is going.”
A $280,000 NZB Premier purchase for Waterhouse from the Windsor Park draft, Vaquera is the best of four winners from Group I Avondale Gold Cup winner The Mighty Lions.
Vaquera is the 47th stakes-winner worldwide for High Chaparral, who stands in Australia this spring at a fee of $77,000.