Mark Kavanagh’s undefeated filly Atlantic Jewel has unsurprisingly opened as the odds-on favourite to win her highly anticipated resuming run in the Sapphire Stakes 2012 at Randwick’s Australian Derby Day this Saturday.
Cruising through her opening five career starts in emphatic style late last year, Fastnet Rock filly Atlantic Jewel’s most notable wins were her three length victory over subsequent triple Group 1 winner Mosheen in the Thousand Guineas (1600m) and her scorching seven length romp in the Wakeful Stakes (2000m) in Melbourne last spring.
Spruiked as a star three-year-old filly that could be competitive in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship the Cox Plate, Atlantic Jewel injured herself after the Wakeful and was sent out to recover.
Taking care not to rush one of his stable aces, Kavanagh is confident Atlantic Jewel is ready to return to the turf and will start her in the $175,000 Group 2 Sapphire Stakes (1200m) on Saturday.
Running as Randwick Race 6 at 2:55pm, the 2012 Sapphire Stakes field is down to 13 hopefuls following the early scratching of #14 Bound To Blush.
Drawn out wide in gate 12, into 11 with the first scratching, Atlantic Jewel is all the rage in the early Sapphire Stakes odds at bookmaker.com.au paying a short $1.50 to return in the same brilliant style she exited last season in.
So confident are the bookies that Atlantic Jewel will remain undefeated on Saturday and become the Sapphire Stakes winner, none of her rivals are under double-figures to beat her.
Regular rider Michael Rodd, who retains the mount on Saturday, is also bullish over Atlantic Jewel’s chances having ridden her in a nice piece of trackwork on Thursday.
“I did the last piece of work on her this morning the reverse way of going here in Melbourne and she jumps on the float this afternoon and comes up to Sydney,” said Rodd.
“She is one-hundred percent, but obviously you don’t know exactly what we have got until you push the button on Saturday.
“At the moment she is going through her paces really well and hasn’t shown any sign of soreness or anything like that.
“She is very sharp and electric still and shouldn’t have too many problems I wouldn’t think.
“It’s perfect to draw out a bit because it will be easier to keep her out of trouble.
“I know what I have got underneath me and I just have to give her a clear passage on Saturday and let her show her best.”
The next shortest-priced of the field are the Peter Moody-trained Patinack Farm Classic third placed Mid Summer Music and Parables paying around $12.
Oamaru Force six-year-old Mid Summer Music races second up for the season after running seven lengths away seventh behind this Saturday’s 2012 TJ Smith Stakes favourite Foxwedge in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 23.
She gets gate nine, into eight, for Saturday with her star stablemate Black Caviar’s regular rider Luke Nolen to ride, Mid Summer Music boasting an excellent second-up record of two wins from three attempts to date.
Parables meanwhile is one of two chances for Peter Snowden in the race and she has a bit of work to do from her double-digit gate.
Still the Lonhro four-year-old was only beaten a length first-up in the Listed Maurice McCarten Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on March 24 and she should improve as she goes up in distance.
Gai Waterhouse’s 58kg topweight on the rails More Strawberries follows in the Sapphire Stakes betting markets at a quote of around $15.
If she handles the weight she is in with a very good chance to place from barrier one, the More Than Ready four-year-old racing for the first time since October last year; More Strawberries’ first-up record reading one win and two minor placings from for attempts.
Other notable chances at longer odds include the Chris Waller-trained stakes winner Dystopia ($17), Snowden’s other runner Celts (21) coming off a win in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill, and the Joe Pride-trained Ladys Angel ($26) out to improve on her last-start 11th in the Coolmore Classic.
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