David Hayes & Tom Dabernig’s classy Group 1 performing mare Gregers earned herself a Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes 2014 assignment this spring after an effortless first-up win at Caulfield Racecourse over the weekend.
Undefeated in black-type company the daughter of Commands made her four-year-old debut in Saturday’s $80,000 Australian Defence Force Handicap (1100m) on P.B. Lawrence Stakes Day.
Jumping the odds-on $1.80 favourite she never looked in doubt either producing a classy sprint performance to begin what looks to be a very promising spring in just her fourth start outside of stakes company.
She was at the deservedly short price through Ladbrokes.com.au based on her outstanding form as a two and three-year-old having finished top four in all five of her Group 1 assignments to date including her two lengths away fourth to Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) first-up last campaign.
Last seen running fourth behind upset winner Smokin’ Joey in the Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) in Adelaide back on May 10, Gregers returned from a three month break racing back home in Melbourne to kick off her new season.
Ridden by Jye McNeil for the first time the Group 2 winner and dual Group 1 placegetter beat home the Robert Smerdon-trained Members Joy ($13) by a big three and a half lengths despite giving the runner-up a four kilogram weight advantage.
In third just a nose further away was another Smerdon-trained hope in Bloomingdale Miss ($14) before Cox Plate winning hoop Chad Schofield guided You’re So Good ($19) to a close fourth.
Gregers has now won five of her 14 career starts to date for a tick under $630,000 in prizemoney, a top record she’ll be looking to improve on this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“That’s what I wanted for her, to have a nice soft kill,” Hayes told the media post-win on Saturday.
“I think she really appreciated looking up and not seeing Lankan Rupee!”
Hayes’ No. 1 aim is to get Gregers to win a Group 1 after her five close calls with her opening elite level assignment scheduled as the $400,000 Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) back at Caulfield on September 28.
“The race I’ve got in the back of my mind for her is the Rupert Clarke,” he said.
“At 1400 (metres), I think she’d be really hard to catch around here.”
Her last look at 1400m was at Caulfield in the Group 2 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude back in September last year when beating home Marianne to win by a long neck.
Gregers then went up to a mile at her next two starts when third to Guelph in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) and then second behind Gypsy Diamond in the Group 2 Fillies Classic (1600m) at Moonee Valley last spring.
Hayes is still mapping her carnival path this year waiting to see how she pulls up to determine her next start.
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