SHE'S big and she's still maturing, but Saveeon is also a filly that has speed and now she's got a spot in the NSW Breeders Challenge semi-finals as well.
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A member of Bathurst trainer Ashlee Grives' team, Saveeon blew her rival two-year-old fillies away in Wednesday night's NSW Breeders Challenge Heat (1,730 metres).
The ease of which she did it at the Bathurst Paceway is a sign that Grives might have a special filly on her hands.
She peeled off a 27.4 seconds final sectional to clock a career best mile rate of 1:55.5. It meant Saveeon finished 11.3 metres clear of her nearest rival.
"She is a big girl, she's taken a little bit of maturing but this time in her record has been pretty good and she's been racing the older horses off bad draws and she hasn't let us down," Grives said.
"So it's good to come back to two-year-old fillies company and see her do well."
Bred by Tracey Grives, Saveeon is out of another handy mare called Zibibbo the Bathurst trainer-driver once raced.
Zibibbo made the Group 1 Breeders Crown Final as a two-year-old in 2015 and ran a handy second on the Melton track.
Whether or not Saveeon can earn a shot at Group 1 glory remains to be seen, but the filly was ultra impressive in her heat.
Going from barrier four, Saveeon began well for Grives but the $3.30 chance had a battle on her hands for the lead.
Jake Davis' Studleigh Melise, the $1.75 favourite who had a four from four record, challenged on the outside of Saveeon.
As they came around into the front straight Saveeon had finally held off that challenge, but it had made for a quick 28.3 opening split.
Fortunately for Grives, she was then able to get away with backing the tempo off and maintaining Saveeon's advantage of some five metres.
With 500m to go the pace came back on. Grives was watching for the favourite to make her challenge, but it never came.
Saveeon led by six metres at the top of the straight then put her foot down to pick up the third win of her 10-start career.
Second belonged to $81 outsider Eye Keep Smiling who was good on debut for Mark Hewitt, finding the line well despite being caught wide for most of the journey.
"Once she landed the top and did that 31.5 I was quite confident that she'd hold them off," Grives said.
"I was actually surprised she ran 27 home and held them off as well as she did.
"Jake's looked like it was just off the bit at that moment and I thought I may as well use the bend to my advantage and get rolling. Yeah my mare was still full of running and she ran away.
"It didn't feel like she ran a 27 home and with nothing challenging I was surprised to see that. But certainly we've always thought she had it in her and I think the key to that was getting that 31.5 through the middle which just let her get a breather."
Grives knows the competition will be stiffer in the semi-finals at Menangle on October 15.
There are still six heats to come, including another at Bathurst on September 28, but Grives is happy to know her filly's spot at the next stage is secured.
"There's a lot of them now just hitting the trials and the heats, ours was pretty wound up so I was keen to get that heat out of the way and hopefully get her qualified," she said.
"We'll ease off on her now, we'll maybe look at a race or two before the semi, but we'll just focus on that now."
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