Essential Spice Holds Off Fire

Essential Spice has continued a strong week for the Daniel and Ben Pearce juveniles in their stable, taking out the Kirin Megumi Plate (1000m) at Belmont Park.

After Angelic Ruler won one of the two-year-old races at Belmont on Wednesday, Essential Spice broke through for a well deserved first win of her career.

The filly was well supported to win what was a strong two-year-old race, which included Fire And Rain, Kiss The Breeze and Ngawi.

Jockey Peter Knuckey was aggressive on Essential Spice from barrier two, and was able to prevent Fire And Rain from crossing to find the front.

It proved to be a key moment in deciding the outcome of the race, as Fire And Rain had to work harder than Essential Spice in the run, and that told in the closing stages as she held on by a half-head.

Ngawi produced an encouraging run at her first start since running second in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old event at Pinjarra in February, finishing third, while Kiss The Breeze was again unlucky back in fourth.

Co-trainer Ben Pearce said it was a big relief to see the filly win after a setback following her last run.

“I thought the second horse was very brave with 59.5kg so take nothing away from him,” he said.

“It was a big effort to fight back.

“We missed the run in between so it was a month between runs.

“She had a sore foot in between…to recover from that and come back and win was a good effort.”

Meanwhile, a shot at the Hannan’s Handicap could await the in-form Great Again after her took out the TABtouch Handicap (1200m).

The gelding was dropping back from 1300m which he won over last Saturday, and had to carry an additional 2kg.

Jockey Lucy Warwick settled the five-year-old outside the leader Swift Platinum, and was then able to see off the late challenges of Comparitive and Kramden.

Warwick then bought up her double when Ambiente took out the Crown Sports Bar Handicap (1000m).

Tim Walker