Cranbourne-based horseman Michael Kent has begun preparations with his AJC Oaks winning filly Absolutely for a Melbourne Spring Carnival assault with the grand final target being this year’s Caulfield Cup.
A rising four-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice, Absolutely is raced by Rick Jamieson of Gilgai Farm who is the breeder of the world’s top rated thoroughbred Black Caviar, and enjoyed a highly consistent and in the end successful autumn campaign.
Running three close minor placings during March including her second to Peter Moody’s undefeated Zabeel filly Lights Of Heaven in the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville, Absolutely claimed a massive upset in the Group 1 AJC Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 16.
In the Oaks she beat home odds-on favourite Shamrocker by an emphatic three and a half lengths in a mud-bath of a race run on a Heavy (10) track.
The Oaks upset was Absolutely’s first race win from seven starts, and Kent is convinced she has what it takes to return next season and score more Group glory after breaking her maiden status in an elite level.
Having returned to Kent’s stables last month, Absolutely has reportedly come back in excellent form having enjoyed her time in the paddock as evidenced by her healthy weight gain.
“She’s come back terrific, she’s put on 50 kilos,” Kent said.
“She was always slight and didn’t really spell well last year but she looks like a horse now.”
Kent also confirmed that Absolutely is being aimed at the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15, the first of the ‘Big Three’ spring majors followed by the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup.
“We’ll head towards the Caulfield Cup,” Kent said.
“I haven’t actually mapped out a program yet but I’ll stick to the mares’ races early.”
Early spring carnival feature races Kent could consider for Absolutely include the Group 2 Lets Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 3, the Group 2 WH Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 10 and the Group 2 Rose of Kingston Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on October 2.
“The Naturalism Stakes and the JRA Cup was the path I was going to take but they are a week closer now because of the AFL grand final being put back a week,” Kent explained.
“So I haven’t finalised that part of her program yet.
“But she’s been back in work a month and looks good.”
The Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) is an open handicap feature that runs at Caulfield on September 17 on Underwood Stakes Day while the Group 3 JRA Cup (2040m) runs at Moonee Valley on September 30.
“I’m looking forward to her,” Kent said.