This Saturday at Flemington undefeated filly Atlantic Jewel will be out to maintain her flawless race record and salute in her fifth career start when contesting the $300,000 Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m), the talented Mark Kavanagh-trained star running in the traditional lead-up to next Thursday’s 2011 Crown Oaks.
Clear favourite to win the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) this year at a quote of $1.85 through Luxbet, Atlantic Jewel is also certain to open odds-on for her Saturday assignment in the Wakeful Stakes.
Programed as Flemington Race 3 and due to jump at 12:40pm (AEDST) on Victoria Derby Day, the 2011 Wakeful Stakes drew a final field of 10 hopefuls, Atlantic Jewel the 58kg topweight of the contenders jumping from barrier five with Michael Rodd in the mount.
She may be heavily weighted, but she has proven she can handle 58kg having carried it to victory over 1400 metres at Caulfield two starts back on September 24 beating a quality field by three lengths.
Atlantic Jewel comes off another three length romp as she broke her Group 1 maiden in the Thousand Guineas over the mile on October 12.
History may against her on Saturday with the last filly to take out the Thousand Guineas – Wakeful Stakes double being Arborea back in 1993, but Atlantic Jewel is clearly the classiest of her rivals and looks well-positioned to break the hoodoo this year.
Rodd has been singing Atlantic Jewel praises all week, the ace hoop highly confident that she will remain unbeaten come Sunday morning.
“I know what Luke Nolen means with Black Caviar,” Rodd said.
“She’s the best three-year-old I’ve ridden, and potentially the best I’ll ever ride.
“I don’t want to offend the owners of other top horses I’ve ridden, but you can see watching her she’s pretty special.
“I’ve never had the feel on a horse before that she gives me.”
The two next heaviest-weighted Wakeful Stakes hopefuls for 2011 are the John Thompson-trained Pane In The Glass, out to improve on her Flight Stakes failure when beaten 10 lengths on October 1, and Daniel Morton’s Thousand Guineas Prelude winner Bliss Street both on 55.5kg and due to jump from the outside barriers 10 and nine respectively.
Drawn one outside the favourite and the most likely to challenge Atlantic Jewel on Saturday is the Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained New Zealand filly Dowager Queen.
With Craig Williams booked for the ride, Dowager Queen was last seen running an unlucky second behind Gliding in the Listed Ethereal Stakes (2000m) on Thousand Guineas Day and sees Flemington for the first time this weekend.
Dowager Queen is second favourite behind Atlantic Jewel in the Crown Oaks odds at Luxbet paying $4.40.
Ethereal Stakes winner Gliding from the stables of the legendary Bart Cummings is also backing up in the Wakeful on Saturday, the improving daughter of Flying Spur drawn ideally in barrier three with Luke Nolen booked for the ride.
Gliding occupies the third line of Crown Oaks betting paying $8.50 for an upset, a price that is set to firm should she get the better of Dowager Queen for the second time in a row.
Rounding out the Wakeful Stakes field are then the Leon Corstens-trained Zabeel filly Rahveel (barrier seven), Graheme Begg’s Fallen One (barrier eight), Etheral Stakes third placegetter Gioe with the inside running from barrier one, Michael Moroney’s lightly-raced maiden When My Baby and stablemate to the favourite, La Dolce Diva, a daughter of triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva.
See below for the full Wakeful Stakes field, barriers, weights and jockeys.
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2011 Wakeful Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1111||ATLANTIC JEWEL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||5||58kg||108|
|2||13232X1427||PANE IN THE GLASS||John P Thompson||Joao Moreira||10||55.5kg||95|
|3||311X161292||BLISS STREET||Daniel Morton||Steven Arnold||9||55.5kg||94|
|4||31144X1632||DOWAGER QUEEN (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||Craig Williams||6||55kg||86|
|5||334651||GLIDING||Bart Cummings||Luke Nolen||3||55kg||82|
|6||77145||RAHVEEL||Leon Corstens||Damien Oliver||7||54kg||68|
|7||5X415||FALLEN ONE||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||8||54kg||65|
|8||3203||GIOE||Michael Kent||Corey Brown||1||54kg||66|
|9||373||WHEN MY BABY (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Dwayne Dunn||2||54kg||58|
|10||7X05||LA DOLCE DIVA||Mark Kavanagh||Glyn Schofield||4||54kg||57|