A pleasing Cranbourne trial from injury-prone Commanding Jewel has trainer Leon Corstens tipping a first-up return in the Tattersall’s Tiara 2014 next month during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
Kept to just the seven starts with injury plaguing her very promising career, four-year-old Commands mare Commanding Jewel is best known for her Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) win at Caulfield in October 2012.
Last year the half-sister to star mare Atlantic Jewel had just the two runs, most recently beating Chris Waller’s subsequent Group 1 performer Catkins in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) in early September.
It will then be over nine months between runs should she make her much anticipated return in the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 21.
The first step towards that possible Group 1 run happened today at Cranbourne where Commanding Jewel, ridden by Damien Oliver, put in a pleasing effort in the opening trial.
She crossed one and a half lengths off Use The Lot in the 1190m hitout, an effort that had Corstens smiling despite Commanding Jewel letting go of her lead after fading late.
“I was happy with the trial,” he told Racing Victoria.
“She was still a bit on the fresh side.
“She began well early – that’s just how she trials. She was a bit fresh and was found wanting a bit towards the end of the trial.
“She had a really good blow out at the back of the course, so there’s still room for quite a bit of improvement.”
While Corstens has no lead-up races scheduled between now and Tatt’s Tiara Day for Commanding Jewel, he plans to get her back to race fitness with some race day hit outs over the next four weeks.
“I’ll hopefully take her to the races and try and give her a few gallops between races if I can somewhere,” he said.
“At this stage the Tatts Tiara is still the plan, but nothing’s set in concrete.
“She seems to be as good as gold now. We still have to wait and see how she cools off tomorrow, that will be the telling factor.”
Also on show at the Cranbourne trials this morning was the Wez Hunter-trained Smokin’ Joey, upset 40-1 winner of the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide on May 10.
The Encosta De Lago ran three lengths away third behind Shanghai Warrior over 800m ahead of a trip to Brisbane next week for a shot at the $1.36 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 7.
2014 Stradbroke Handicap weights were released today with Smokin’ Joey allocated 55kg.
Those handicaps will be raised half a kilo however with the non-acceptance of original topweight Buffering (59kg) giving Smokin’ Joey 55.5kg.
Latest Stradbroke Handicap betting markets are led by flying filly Srikandi ($4.60) whose connections plan to pay the $23,000 late entry to get her into the race this week.
Smokin’ Joey was also a late Stradbroke entry, owners hoping the gamble pays off with another upset win with the horse currently paying $21 to win.
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