The decision by Leon Corstens to stick by jockey Damien Oliver paid dividends at Caulfield today as the star hoop guided Commanding Jewel to a convincing win in the Group 1 2012 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Ridden quietly for the first time in her career, Oliver peeled Commanding Jewel out at the perfect time and she quickly over took leader Longport in the straight and galloped clear to claim a dominant win ahead of Dear Demi and Zydeco.
Trainer Corstens paid tribute to the ride of Oliver and said he never had any doubts about his appointment despite several other trainers steering clear following allegations that he placed a bet on a rival’s mount through a third party in race in 2010.
“He’s the best rider in Australia so why would I have second thoughts?” Corstens said.
“He knows the filly so it would’ve been stupid taking him off.
“He rode her unbelievably.”
Commanding Jewel followed in the footsteps of close relation Atlantic Jewel who took out out the Thousand Guineas last year.
It was the third win from five starts for the daughter of Commands who has been ridden by Oliver in all but her debut race at Swan Hill.
Oliver said the favourable barrier eight draw allowed him to ride the talented filly in a more suitable fashion compared to her previous starts.
“It was nice to draw a good gate on this filly today, she’s had a couple of wide draws,” Oliver said.
“Settling probably a spot further back she really showed a great kick today.”
“From a good draw today we were able to just settle her.”
Oliver also heaped praise on Corstens and said he was grateful the connections had stuck by him during a difficult period.
“I can’t thank Leon enough, there wasn’t a better looking horse in the yard,” Oliver said.
“He’s having a great run, he’s a great trainer and I’d like to thank Leon and all these owners.”
The action continues at Caulfield this weekend, where an exciting 10-race card takes place for the Caulfield Cup.
|1||8||COMMANDING JEWEL||Leon Corstens||Damien Oliver||–||6||55.5kg||$10|
|2||1||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Jim Cassidy||2.75L||16||55.5kg||$11|
|3||15||ZYDECO||Anthony Freedman||Michael Rodd||2.85L||12||55.5kg||$12|
|4||2||LONGPORT||John P Thompson||Craig Newitt||2.95L||10||55.5kg||$10|
|5||12||STELLA LANTE||John Hyam||Vlad Duric||3.05L||1||55.5kg||$21|
|6||10||BIG CHILL||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Hugh Bowman||4.8L||3||55.5kg||$26|
|7||11||LOVE FOR RANSOM||Greg Eurell||Glen Boss||5L||13||55.5kg||$11|
|8||3||LADY OF HARRODS||Russell Cameron||Jamie Mott||5.75L||2||55.5kg||$10|
|9||14||BALACLAVA LADY||Nigel Blackiston||Michael Walker||5.85L||8||55.5kg||$31|
|10||9||MOLTO BENE||Will Clarken||Craig Williams||5.95L||4||55.5kg||$5F|
|11||4||MAYBE DISCREET||Phillip Stokes||Luke Nolen||6.7L||7||55.5kg||$7|
|12||7||MAMA’S CHOICE||David Hayes||Dwayne Dunn||7.95L||14||55.5kg||$31|
|13||16||LA ZUMA||Michael Moroney||Luke Currie||8.7L||15||55.5kg||$81|
|14||18e||EXCITUS||Ken Keys||Darren Gauci||9.45L||11||55.5kg||$201|
|15||17e||MEDITRINA||Shane Nichols||Steven King||12.95L||5||55.5kg||$201|
|16||5||MEMBERS JOY||Robert Smerdon||Nicholas Hall||22.95L||9||55.5kg||$7.50|