Cranbourne’s Robbie Griffiths gained confidence his progressive grey filly Girl In Flight is a genuine Schweppes Oaks 2014 hope for the autumn following another career win this time at Caulfield over the weekend.
The Commands three-year-old went into the $80,000 Leigh Thomas Gift (1700m) on Saturday as the $2.30 favourite having won her two previous career starts.
She retained her undefeated status taking out the benchmark 78 handicap fine style, the race her first start in the city following wins at Pakenham and Sale respectively this spring.
Ridden for the third time by Ryan Maloney, who didn’t panic when blocked for a run at the top of the straight, the $60,000 yearling buy boosted her career earnings to $129,300 when defeating the Ciaron Maher-trained Collins Street ($10) by half a length.
It was a gritty effort too as she carried 59.5kg, half a kilo more than the last start Cranbourne winning runner-up, and come from last to first in a sizzling finish only hitting the front in the final 200 metres.
“It was only her third career run but I knew she had the talent and if she got the split that she’d do the job so I banked on that and when she got through it was all over,” Maloney told Racing Victoria post-win on Saturday.
In third was then Mick Price’s Cottonwood Grove ($4.80) another length away again.
Connections were celebrating overtime too as not only did the filly take out the $48,000 first prize, but connections were eligible for a tidy share of the $50,000 Super VOBIS and VOBIS Gold bonuses.
“She’s got a fantastic pedigree, we spend so much money importing horses that when I bought her in Melbourne for $60,000 I thought this is fantastic, we were very pleased to pick her up,” Price said.
While yet to commit 100 percent to a trip to South Australia for Morphettville’s $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) in April, Griffiths said the Caulfield win certainly boded well for an Oaks’ assignment.
“For a tall filly she has got a great turn of speed and great balance which allows her to really run a good sectional so it all looks good for the future,” he said.
“I think she’s a black-type filly and we’ve always had Adelaide in our mind because it just suited her timing.
“She’s a late-foal that has kicked-off her racing behind the Spring Carnival which makes it very hard to be ready for the (Melbourne) autumn.”
Whatever is next for Girl In Flight, Saturday’s winning hoop hopes he can retain the ride.
“She’s still very green, every start she’s had she’s improved that bit more and I just think with time she’s going to make a really nice filly,” Maloney said.
“She has a really nice temperament and I just hope that I can stay aboard.”
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