Mornington trainer Pat Carey is so thrilled with the way his Zabeel filly Gondokoro has pulled through her big Queensland Oaks triumph he is considering backing her up against the boys in the 2013 Queensland Derby this Saturday.
The progressive three-year-old finally scored her first Group win on Saturday when the Australian Oaks third placegetter improved on her last start second to Dear Demi in The Roses and easily accounted for her rivals in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
Thriving at the roomy Eagle Farm course and relishing also the 2400m and the Slow (6) track, Gondokoro proved her staying potential to put an easy three lengths on runner-up Miss Zenella in the Oaks.
While the original plan was to send her out before a possible spring return after that run, Carey is now looking at running her on consecutive Saturday’s with the $500,000 Group 1 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) on Stradbroke Handicap Day this weekend a very real possibility.
“On face value she pulled up in terrific order straight after the race it puts the Derby right there as an option next week,” Carey said on Sunday.
Having kept the Derby in the back of his mind throughout her excellent campaign this time in, Carey said the filly had been paid up all the way throughout the season for the race and he would be talking to connections including the WA-based Trevor Delroy ahead of Wednesday’s final acceptances to make a final call.
“I wanted to get past the Oaks first before I thought about anything else for her but she’s been nominated and paid up all the way through for the Derby,” he said.
“It’s not a given that she runs. It will all be about how she does over the next few days.
“We’ve got until Wednesday to make the call which gives me time to talk it over with the owners and see where we head next.
“Trevor bought this filly’s mother Kisumu specifically to go to Zabeel.
“He bred and sold this filly’s brother Zabeelionaire who won the South Australian Derby and winning the Oaks was the icing on the cake for him.”
Should she run again this weekend jockey Rhys McLeod will be available to ride her again with the eight meeting suspension he copped for his Oaks ride not starting until the day after Stradbroke Handicap Day.
Current Queensland Derby odds are led by the likes of Kiwi raider Survived ($3.40), Gai Waterhouse’s recent Grand Prix Stakes winner over the 2200m at Doomben Hawkspur and the Michael Moroney-trained Rhythm To Spare ($5).
Gondokoro then occupies the fourth line of Queensland Derby betting as the only other single figure fancy and the shortest priced filly in the mix at $8.50.
Carey was also keeping tight lipped about whether Gondokoro would be set for the big spring cups at the end of the year, but did say that they would be keen to target the 2014 The BMW next Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
“There is no guarantee of a spring preparation when all those imported horses come into Melbourne,” he said.
“The obvious race for us is the BMW in the autumn.”
If she does return to Eagle Farm for the Derby and beat home the colts and geldings Gondokoro will join an elite list of fillies to complete the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival double.
Just four have done so before her over the past 40 years with Analie (1973), Bravery (1988), Royal Magic (1992) and most recently the Bart Cummings-trained Riva San (2008).
Last year Kiwi visitor Quintessential, who won the Group 2 Eagle Farm Cup (2200m) on Oaks Day, took out the Queensland Oaks by 2.5 lengths in the wet before running a brave second from the far outside barrier (18 of 18) behind Brambles in the Derby.
The 2013 Queensland Derby final field is due for release on Wednesday with all the Stradbroke meeting acceptances to be published right here at Races.com.au.
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