Rarely has the racing spotlight shone so brightly on Tasmania as it has done in the past few months.
It certainly has not been directed that way at this time of year for a trial.
But that was the case at around 10:30am on Tuesday. Such is the interest in, and regard for, Mystic Journey.
The Adam Trinder-trained filly took what could be described as her first public step on a path expected to culminate in the $5 million Cox Plate – for which she is the $5 favourite in early market – at The Valley on October 26.
It was only an 800-metre trial on the synthetic track at Devonport, but was eagerly anticipated by the many fans she has already garnered.
‘Smoko’ would have been arranged and meetings potentially put on hold so adoring fans of the filly known as ‘Betty’ could watch the live stream that Tasracing arranged for broadcast on its website.
Those who did tune in would have liked what they saw. A slight delay due to a misbehaving rival didn’t faze the daughter of Needs Further, who was the last to be loaded and one of the first out when the gates opened.
After settling in second spot, Mystic Journey challenged leader Century Arrow, a 75-rater who has won six of his 22 starts, early in the straight.
One ever-so-slight shake of the reins around 150m from home, just to keep her mind on the job, was as aggressive as apprentice jockey Chris Graham got and a big glance behind not long after confirmed things were well in control.
At the line Mystic Journey enjoyed a one-length margin over Century Arrow, with four lengths back to the third placegetter.
The time was 47.87 seconds, which included a 33.51-second final 600m, described by caller Duncan Dornauf as ‘one of the better times that we have seen at the trials’.
With her first trial behind her, Trinder will now plot a path towards a racing return for the soon-to-be four-year-old who has won her past six starts, including the Group 1 Australian Guineas and $5m All-Star Mile – both over the Flemington 1600m – at her past two starts.
The Spreyton trainer has long identified the $160,000 Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m), at Caulfield on July 27, as the preferred first-up option, provided the track is not too wet.