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Five-year-old Angelic Light was favourite to win the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday. Despite being given every chance in the race by hoop Damien Oliver, the mare could only manage a fifth placing in the race, running three lengths behind the winner Magnifisio.
Trainer Robbie Griffiths told TVN that the mare simply didn’t bring her ‘A’ game to the race – racing on the wrong leg and looking “uncomfortable”.
“I just don’t think she stretched out to her full talent — not as a consequence of the track, but it wasn’t soft enough for her liking,” the trainer said.
“She didn’t give us her ‘A’ game. She was ridden well, she was ready to win, but didn’t stretch out like she has at Moonee Valley.”
Griffiths was quick to point out that all of Angelic Light’s runs since injuring a tendon had been at Moonee Valley, where the mare seemed to thrive.
“Her previous four runs have all been outstanding, but they’ve all been at Moonee Valley on the Straight,” Griffiths said.
After injuring her tendon in the autumn of 2013, Angelic Light had a long layoff of over one year. She returned in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) first up in the spring, finishing very well for third place. The mare then scored herself a win in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) as well as a second placing in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m), finishing just a nose off Lankan Rupee despite getting badly checked twice during the race. Her only other run was in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m). Despite trying hard she finished outside the placings in fourth place.
Because of her tried and tested success on the Moonee Valley track, Griffiths is eyeing the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) on March 27 as Angelic Light’s preferred autumn campaign start.
The Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic (1200m), which Angelic Light finished runner-up last year, and Group 1 The Goodwood (1200m) which will both run at Morphettville in late April/early May are also potential targets for the mare during her 2015 Melbourne autumn racing carnival.
Angelic Light seemed well after the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes and her recovery has been good.
“She’ll go to the spelling paddock now and hopefully bounce back her next campaign,” Griffiths said.
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