Past frustrations were forgotten after classy stayer Annie Higgins (NZ) posted a deserved victory in the G3 Waikato Times Gold Cup (2400m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.
Annie Higgins (5m O’Reilly – Diva Belle by Carnegie) had been among the leading fillies of her generation as a three-year-old before injuries tested the patience of Lance Noble and her owner-breeder Marie Leicester.
The Matamata based galloper had won the Listed Sunline Classic and was placed at G2 level in the Royal Stakes, Sir Tristram Classic and Eight Carat Classic. “She then got hurt in the NZ Oaks and it basically took a year for her to come right,” Noble said. “It’s been a big team effort to get her back and I’m so thrilled for Marie who is such a wonderful owner.”
Leicester named Annie Higgins after her mother. The mare indicated she was again nearing her best form with a Rating 85 victory over ground at Ellerslie on Melbourne Cup day. She then finished a sound fourth in the Counties Cup after being forced into the uncustomary role of pacemaker.
Leith Innes was able to give her a good midfield run in the Waikato Cup before pouncing 200 metres from home to score a narrow victory over Better Together (Volksraad) and Arcenciel (Black Minnaloushe).
Annie Higgins has been nominated for all the upcoming staying features and her next appearance is expected to be in the G2 City of Auckland Cup at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day.