A WELL-DESERVED second career win has likely earned the promising Rod Symons-trained mare Kiata her city-race debut.
The consistent four-year-old backed up her handy first-up second at Echuca on New Year's Eve with an eye-catching 1.5 length win over 1000-metres at Wangaratta on Sunday.
The win extended the daughter of Group 2-winner Kuroshio and the former Symons-trained mare Lascelles' handy record to two wins and two placings from five starts.
Symons admitted to heading to Wangaratta with a good degree of confidence, with the mare fully justifying her short $2.05 starting price.
"She is always getting beat by a handy one - (jockey) Lachy King lined me up last week and said the horse who beat her at Echuca (Hot In Paris), they thought very highly of and she only just got beaten there," he told broadcaster Racing.com.
"There's always been good form around her."
Jockey Patrick Moloney, who claimed the winning ride on Kiata and also rode the mare at her previous start, said he too was confident the horse could deliver her second victory.
"I was pretty happy for Rod to run her here instead of Moonee Valley because why not knock one (a win) over in between," he said.
"(Pre-race) I thought I was going to take the sit today just with all the speed (in the race) and just try and add another string to her bow.
"But she just began too well. She was able to lob outside the leaders. Even though we were running along, she was travelling beautifully in my hand and I always knew I had plenty of horse underneath me.
"She took natural benefit from her first-up run and was too good."
Moloney was confident Kiata could now make the step-up to a midweek metropolitan grade race, which is considered likely in about a fortnight's time.
"(Rod) said to me then there is one at Sandown on a Wednesday, a benchmark 70 for her. It's right up her alley.
"She's on the upward spiral and is only improving naturally with more racing.
"(Rod) is going to have a bit of fun with her."
The win delivered Symons his fourth win of the 2020-21 racing season and his first since Luna Chara's victory at Tatura in late-November.
Bill The Bee stings his rivals
Bendigo trainer Kym Hann landed his first winner with his relative stable newcomer Bill The Bee following the gelding's impressive win at Wangaratta on Sunday.
The five-year-old So You Think gelding was having only his third start for Hann following his transfer from Michael Moroney's Flemington stable in the latter half of 2020.
Jockey Jack Martin had Bill The Bee ($3.50) handily placed just outside the leaders on entering the straight and was able to boot the gelding clear to win by a handy 1.25-lengths ahead of the fast-finishing Rip City with Think Music back in third.
The beaten favourite was Fontein Damond, who finished sixth and was formerly trained by Hann, but is now raced by Ben Brisbourne.
Martin, who has an impressive 33 per cent strike rate for Hann with five wins and a second from 15 rides, said he was again glad to partner with the young Bendigo trainer for another victory.
"He got this horse off Moroneys and he's given us a good feel at trackwork and at home," he said.
"First-up (when 10th at Geelong in December) he went a bit missing, but he picked up his form last start (at Stawell).
"I rode him a bit quieter, but (Sunday) I had a bit of an opportunity to hold a more prominent spot.
"When the favourite didn't step out well, I was a bit worried there wasn't going to be enough tempo in the race, but it eventuated we went at a good clip and I was able to push the button at the right time.
"It was a good win with the weight (63kg).
"I think Kym bought him to maybe have a try at those shorter country cup-type races, but he's heading in the right direction."
A city winner at Moonee Valley in late 2019, Bill The Bee has now won three career races and been placed six times from 20 starts for earnings of $116,770.
Hann, who was Bendigo's trainer of the year in 2019-20 with nine winners, already has seven winners less than six months into the new season.
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