2013 Australasian Oaks Target for Molto Bene

Adelaide horseman Will Clarken has named the Australasian Oaks 2013 as the major new season goal for his smart Royal Academy filly Molto Bene who hasn’t run since her failure in Melbourne’s Thousand Guineas during the spring.

The three-year-old has won two of their five starts to date when she backed up from a successful debut at Gawler to win the Group 3 SA Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) by an impressive three lengths at Morphettville Parks.

After a four and a half month break the unbeaten youngster was then sent to Meloburne for the spring where she caught the eye second-up when a close third to Lady Of Harrods in the Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).

She failed to back up 25 days later in the big one however, Molto Bene finishing six lengths away 10th to Commanding Jewel in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 17.

Currently in pre-training with her return fast approaching, Clarken said that if Molto Bene came back in good order she could be aimed at the $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville on April 27, 2013.

“Just after Caulfield she pulled up with a few little niggles,” Clarken said.

“We hit a pretty hard track that day and it exposed her a little bit.

“There was nothing major but it was enough to pull the pin on that campaign and she’ll get ready for something over the Adelaide carnival.

“She’s not really a big, gross filly so she won’t take long to come up and we’ll just have a look at her in a couple of weeks and look at what direction we’re going to go in.”

Clarken is also excited about saddling up debutant Molto Bella who steps out for the first time at Morphettville Parks this Saturday.

The daughter of Bel Esprit was dually accepted across two states this Saturday with Clarken paying final fees for her in both the $80,000 Christmas Season Plate (1000m) at Melbourne’s Flemington Racecourse and the $34,000 Centrebet Plate over the same distance in Adelaide.

While the latter is worth less than half the prize-money Clarken decided to give Molto Bella her maiden run at home where she won’t have to travel and he is confident she can be competitive in her first trip to the races.

“She’s drawn perfectly here (barrier three) and she’s drawn a little bit wide over there (gate four),” Clarken explained.

He said that it was these factors that influenced his decision not to head interstate and not that he didn’t think she could match it with the juveniles in Melbourne.

“She’s a filly that’s had a couple of private trials and trialled up well and I think she would be competitive if she did venture over that way,” Clarken said.

“But she can stay here and be ultra-competitive.”

Clarken expects Molto Bella, who will be ridden by Matthew Neilson, to settle in the first half of the field and is hoping she can hold on over the 1000m and finish in the money.

“She’s a really big, strong filly. She’s tall and free-running and she’ll go forward in her races,” he said.

“She’s not overly quick but I think she’ll have a really high cruising speed.”

If all goes to plan and she shows the rest of the nation what Clarken believes she has ability wise then he will set her on an Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a trip interstate between now and then also on the cards for her.

“She’s VOBIS Gold so obviously that’s the carrot we’re going to chase but we’ll let her go around in Adelaide, have a look at her, and if she’s going well we’ll sneak her across the border,” he said.

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