IT was a win that was 17 years and 3,948 drives in the making, but Ashlee Grives can now call herself a Group 1 winner.
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On Saturday night at Menangle Park, the Bathurst trainer-driver guided Saveeon to victory in the Group 1 New South Wales Breeders Challenge Two-Year-Old Fillies Series Blue Final (1,609m metres).
Though it was not the first time that Grives had experienced the thrill of Group 1 success given she owned former champion mare Ameretto, to be in the gig with a filly she trained was a special moment.
"Look I think we're all striving for it and I think we're all hopeful of that," the 34-year-old said of Group 1 glory.
"We were lucky enough to get a horse like Ameretto and she did win us a Group 1 and some people never get another one in their lifetime.
"I always hoped that I would, but I wouldn't have been surprised that was my time up."
Saveeon is out of a mare called Zibibbo Grives formerly drove to second in the 2015 two-year-old fillies Breeders Crown Final.
Her first four-start preparation delivered just one win as she was tested by tough draws and opposition, but when Saveeon returned she was much improved.
She ran fifth in the NSW Breeders Challenge Final on October 29, but Grives said "It was still a pretty good run from a bad draw, she didn't have much luck around the bend with one stopping in front of her."
That run saw Saveeon as the short $1.25 for Saturday's $100,000 Blue Final.
"I felt a bit of pressure with her because she was short and it was a winnable race for her, she'd been running really well, but I was just worried she might have come to the end of her prep before that run," Grives said.
"I just hoped she hadn't run her grand final a fortnight before.
"So there was pressure there to have her right and make sure I drove the right race and all the rest of it, but she pulled through.
"We've always had an opinion of her, probably this time in she's really shown us what she could do. I think racing at Menangle has just seasoned her a bit more, you race the better ones you get that bit stronger.
"I was obviously confident going into Saturday, like I had the best horse in the race, but with a two-year-old filly you just don't know when you've come to an end, she'd had hard racing down there."
From barrier six Grives found herself travelling one out and one back with a lap to go. She waited until the home straight and then launched Saveeon three-wide.
Sit hit the front with 150m to go and went on to win by 3.1m in a 1:54.2 mile rate.
"Usually there's fireworks early when there's a bit of money on the line and I felt that would be the case, so I didn't want to get too involved in that," Grives said.
"If I got softened early it might've been a bit of a problem up that long straight, so I was mindful of that, I didn't want to do too much.
"I was happy to come out and bide my time and when I went to make my move up the back, Darren McCall [Miss Froufrou] took off on his horse, so I just sort of sat and waited to see what was going on there and ended up getting the perfect run into the race then.
"Being patient paid off."
Celebrating her maiden Group 1 win as a trainer-driver was something Grives enjoyed, but she was also happy to see who finished as the runner-up.
It was fellow Bathurst trainer-driver Jed Betts aboard $71 outsider Limbo Lilly.
"To be honest, when I went through the form I thought that horse was way over the odds. It's a pretty nice mare, it won in quick time at Bathurst a couple of starts before," she said.
"It can follow that high speed and sustain it's sprint and those sort of horses are always a worry ... I actually considered it one of my dangers in the race.
"I think people underestimate how strong Bathurst is, there's some strong stables here and some good horses come from here every year."
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