Long Face Grace wins Pinker Pinker Plate

Pacific Bloodstock’s progressive 4YO mare Long Face Grace more than doubled her earnings on Friday evening when she proved too strong in the $100,000 Cranbourne TC Inglis Pinker Pinker Plate over 2080 metres.

The daughter of Manhattan Rain made light of her wide draw with the aid of Glen Boss who directed her towards the rail, to settle in third spot as Billie Frechette took up the pace from Trancing.

Long Face Grace rolled along easily off the pace through the middle stages and was poised to strike as the field caught Billie Frechette round the turn. Boss got to work after the mare straightened up and she kicked clear, with enough in hand to hold off the fast-finishing Zanteca by a neck. Ring Da Belle was a further 1.7 lengths away, third.

Watch Long Face Grace’s win in the Pinker Pinker Plate.

Boss said, “She’s a quality mare, I always thought she was probably looking for the 2000 or more. For an inexperienced filly, she’s got some good qualities.”

A $70,000 purchase by Pacific Bloodstock principal Mark Hoare from the 2013 Magic Millions draft of Highgrove Stud, Long Face Grace has progressed quickly in the Mark Kavanagh stable since her debut third at Yarra Valley in March. She has now won three of her last four starts and has relished each step up in distance.   

Long Face Grace is the fifth foal of Retract (by Flying Spur), a city-winning half-sister to the dam of champion filly Atlantic Jewel and Group 1 winner Commanding Jewel.

Given he is free of Danehill, it’s not surprising that Manhattan Rain (by Encosta De Lago) is proving effective with mares by the supersire’s sons. His eleven winners bred that way include his Group 2-winning son Moonovermanhattan (also from a Flying Spur mare), Group-placed pair Man Of Choice & Manhattan Avenue, and stakes-placed Right Or Wrong. 

It’s been a fruitful week for Manhattan Rain, with three notable winners in six days. 3YO filly Manrose Hattan (ex Marlena Rose by Al Samer) scored by 3 lengths over 1600 metres at Doomben last Saturday, and 4YO gelding Mr Manhattan (ex Fashion Police by Elusive Quality) was successful over 1000 metres at Warwick Farm last Monday.

Manhattan Rain has two Group 1 runners on Saturday: Moonovermanhattan in the Toorak Handicap at Caulfield, and Man Of Choice in the Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick.

No Long Faces around Grace

Syndicator Pacific Bloodstock hoped for a big showing from Long Face Grace at the first of Moonee Valley’s night meetings this season and that’s exactly what Manhattan Rain’s promising daughter delivered.

The 4YO mare stepped up to 1600 metres last Friday for the first time after her maiden win at Sandown last month and a second at Seymour on 9 September, both at 1400 metres. That form earned Long Face Grace favouritism in the Fillies & Mares Handicap which she justified with a narrow but strong win, defeating Billie Frechette by a half-head with 1.5 lengths further back to Bet You She Rocks.

Watch Long Face Grace win at Moonee Valley.

Out of the money only once in her six starts from the Mark Kavanagh stable, Long Face Grace was a $70,000 purchase by Pacific Bloodstock principal Mark Hoare from the 2013 Magic Millions draft of Ron & Deb Gilbert’s Highgrove Stud. 
 
The filly fitted Mark’s criteria. “I tend not to buy running two-year-olds, I prefer a bit of scope which she had and Mark [Kavanagh] liked her too.

“I liked Manhattan Rain given his pedigree and thought he had a chance, and of course, she had the Atlantic Jewel factor as well.”

Long Face Grace is the fifth foal of Retract (by Flying Spur), a city-winning half-sister to the dam of champion filly Atlantic Jewel and Group 1 winner Commanding Jewel.

However, things didn’t go smoothly for Long Face Grace during her early education, as Mark Hoare explains. “She was kicked in her paddock when she was being broken in and we nearly lost her. Mark and the stable have handled her very patiently, everything has been done at her pace and she’s starting to come into her own now.”

The next goal for Long Face Grace is the 1600-metre Ladies Day Vase G3, at Caulfield on 14 October but jockey Glen Boss, who has piloted the mare to both her wins, believes she will cope with 2000 metres and beyond as she progresses.

Manhattan Rain’s first crop has so far produced 36 winners including Group 2 winner Moonovermanhattan (also from a Flying Spur mare), Listed winners Manapine, Ondina, Crafty and Long Face Grace’s short-course sprinting stablemate Wild Rain.