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Ken Casellas | Photo: Gloucester Park Harness Racing

Smart filly In The Spotlight will be set for the group 3 $30,000 Daintys Daughter Country Classic at Pinjarra next Monday after scoring an impressive victory in the $20,250 Book Now For Xmas In July Pace at Gloucester Park on Friday night.

The New Zealand-bred In The Spotlight, owned by Team Bond and prepared by champion trainers Greg and Skye Bond, overcame the disadvantage of starting from the outside barrier (No. 8) on her way to beating Acharne Girl by a half neck, rating 1.55.9 over the 1730m journey.

In The Spotlight now has won at all her five starts as a three-year-old, and she is an early fancy for the $150,000 WA Oaks on October 14.

In the Spotlight was the $3.90 favourite in an open betting race, and Ryan Warwick seized the initiative by urging her forward, three wide, at the start to quickly move to the breeze, with the $4.40 second fancy Precocious Lady setting a brisk pace. In The Spotlight got to the front on the home turn and won in good style.

“Strength is her main asset,” said Warwick. “She had a preparation last year where things didn’t go right, but in this preparation, everything is falling into place.

“Tonight, we didn’t know where we would end up from the wide draw, so we had to come off the arm just because if we went back we would be left with no other option. If we went forward, we could always go back. So, we had to test the water and see what happened.

“She actually travelled too strongly in the breeze, and even tough she might have appeared to be struggling at the end, that was not the case.”

In the Spotlight has earned $119,005 from eight wins and three placings from 13 starts. She is a half-sister to the four-year-old American Ideal mare Allamericanlover, who has had 16 starts for eight wins, six placings and $102,142.