Robert Smerdon could be saddling up the three top fancies for the Crown Oaks at Flemington next month after another of his smart fillies Lumosty looked to earn a start in the Melbourne Cup Carnival classic with her Moonee Valley Fillies Classic 2014 win today.
Smerdon already has Fontein Ruby and Crafty tracking perfectly for the $1 million Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks (2500m) on November 6 after they ran one-two in the Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) last weekend.
Now the well-fancied duo could be joined by stable mate Lumosty, the daughter of Fastnet Rock easily putting her rivals away in the $200,000 Group 2 Drummond Golf Fillies Classic (1600m) on Cox Plate Day this afternoon.
Having her first look at Moonee Valley, Lumosty jumped as the very clear odds-on favourite for the Fillies Classic despite her defeat as the top fancy last time out in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Improving on her Thousand Guineas eighth with a drop down in class today, jockey Nicholas Hall took over from Craig Williams and positioned Lumosty in an ideal spot second on the outside of the pace setter Tender on the rails.
They absolutely walked the first 1000m giving Lumosty time to relax and then it was only a matter of Hall hitting the go button on the home turn.
Lumosty ($1.70) responded well and took off racing away for a soft two length win over the second pick in the market Tahni Dancer ($4.40), Clinton McDonald’s daughter of Sebring coming off a fifth in the Thousand Guineas and moving up for her second spot after settling fourth throughout the run.
In third finishing off the Moonee Valley Fillies Classic trifecta a notable margin away again was then the John O’Shea-trained Berimbau ($16) from the outside barrier with James McDonald aboard.
The race went perfectly to script then for the favourite with Hall controlling the race and taking luck out of the equation allowing for his filly to thrive off the moderate pace and quickly put them away to salute for the punters.
“I have a lot of respect for Robert as a trainer…he knows what he’s doing,” Hall said post-race before explaining how putting blinkers on the Moonee Valley Fillies Classic winner allowed her to focus on the end target.
“Blinkers are a focuser,” he said.
“They ensure the horse is looking forward and has their eye on the target.”
While it looked like the addition of blinkers helped sharpen Lumosty up and got her to settle nicely, post-race comments from Smerdon suggest she could be without them again next race if they step her out over more distance.
“We put the blinkers on today but I’m not sure if that was the right thing,” he said.
“I thought she was a bit keen early…wondering through the first part of the race whether the blinkers were a plus or a minus.”
That distance test could come in the Crown Oaks with her trainer saying if she pulled up well and they went to the Group 1 at Flemington, she wouldn’t have another run in between.
“We’ll have a chat (with connections) tomorrow when the dust settles to see what might be the next best step for her,” Smerdon said.
“I think we’ll take the big leap (straight into the Oaks).
“I don’t think three runs in 12 days will be fair to her.
“Mosheen (in 2011) went to the Thousand Guineas (2nd to Atlantic Jewel), Myer Classic (6th to Hurtle Myrtle) and then straight to the Oaks (to win by nine lengths) so they can do it if they can stay.”
Smerdon’s other Crown Oaks hopes however could have a lead-up in the $300,000 Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) on Victoria Derby Day Saturday week.
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2014 Moonee Valley Fillies Classic Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 3 – 25/10/2014
|1||1||LUMOSTY||Robert Smerdon||Nicholas Hall||–||2||57kg||$1.70F|
|2||3||TAHNI DANCER||Clinton McDonald||Glen Boss||2.5L||4||57kg||$4.40|
|3||5||BERIMBAU||John O’Shea||James McDonald||4.25L||9||57kg||$16|
|4||2||SINGULARITY Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Robbie Griffiths||Mark Zahra||4.35L||6||57kg||$61|
|5||8||KANSAS SUNFLOWER (NZ)||Luke Oliver||Chris Symons||5.85L||8||57kg||$21|
|6||4||TENDER||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damien Oliver||5.95L||1||57kg||$31|
|7||6||LITTLE HOTTIE (NZ)||Michael Kent||Dean Yendall||6.45L||5||57kg||$9.50|
|8||9||DAME LARGO Super Vobis Bonus Scheme||Andrew Sawden||Vlad Duric||12.45L||3||57kg||$301|
|9||7||HAUTVILLERS||Luke Oliver||Brad Rawiller||14.2L||7||57kg||$71|