John Thompson will give Fituese a chance to showcase her Everest credentials after she claimed the scalp of a luckless Masked Crusader at Rosehill.
Lumping equal top weight of 58kg and forced to race against her usual pattern due to the hot early speed, Fituese ($4) relaxed well for Rachel King and zoomed late to nail Hilo ($6.50) in the final bound.
Masked Crusader ($1.95 fav) had a torrid run midfield and wide but never stopped trying, finishing another three-quarters of a length away.
Thompson had initially planned an interstate preparation for Fituese but a combination of COVID-19 restrictions and the mare’s winning return have him aiming higher.
The Randwick trainer hasn’t ruled out an Everest shot and is likely to give Fituese an opportunity to press her claims in the Premiere Stakes at Randwick next month.
“Why not?” Thompson said.
“It was on the cards (Premiere), it was just see how she went today and obviously she’s gone very well.
“She is just a winner.”
Fituese has now won six of her nine starts and Thompson said her victory in Saturday’s Vale Rick Worthington Handicap (1100m) came despite the race not going to plan.
Usually an on-speed horse, Fituese settled back in the field from an awkward draw, relaxing perfectly for Rachel King before unleashing down the outside.
“She’s so good, so adaptable. She just came back and relaxed,” King said.
“It was really nice to feel that real engine and turn of foot.”
The race was named after trainer Rick Worthington, who lost his battle with cancer last week.
Thompson was a close friend of the Warwick Farm horseman and was honoured to claim the race in his memory.