It has been a long 10 months since Oakleigh Girl last stepped out at the races but her Brisbane-based trainer Danny Bougoure is confident she’s “ready to go” in the 2015 Rubiton Stakes in Melbourne this weekend.
The untapped Snitzel filly takes on a crack field of sprinters including current 2015 Newmarket Handicap favourite Chautauqua in the $200,000 Group 2 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday.
Bougoure has opted for that tough first-up assignment over taking on her own kind in the $150,000 Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) on CF Orr Stakes Day, which she was also nominated for.
Lightly raced with only six starts for over half-a-million in prize money to date, dual winner Oakleigh Girl hasn’t run since her mid-field finish when fifth to Eloping in the Group 2 Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m) on April 19.
The Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison-trained Choisir filly Eloping franked that form when she raced during the spring winning a Group 3 at Moonee Valley as well as the Blue Sapphire Stakes over the 1200m at Caulfield.
She too returns to racing on Saturday and runs in the Rubiton over the Kevin Hayes to kick off her Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival campaign.
As a two-year-old Oakleigh Girl showed bucket loads of potential winning her opening two starts in black type company including the Group 3 7News Stakes (1000m) down the Flemington straight on Melbourne Cup Day on debut in November of 2013.
She also went on to run second to Unencumbered in last year’s $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) on the Gold Coast before wet tracks in Sydney got the better of her during her two-run autumn preparation.
“That just really gutted her a bit that run. Obviously she hadn’t had a lead-up run prior to that and it just really knocked her around, but we planned to give her a long lay-off Sydney anyhow,” Bougoure told Racing Victoria this week.
“She was back getting geared up towards the Magic Millions Sprint then she bruised a near-hind hoof, so we just pulled the pin on that and just concentrated on Melbourne.”
Now Bougoure is hoping she can return to her best form as a three-year-old starting in the Rubiton.
While the filly goes into the race without an official trial, her trainer is thrilled with her new level of maturity and said she had been working plenty to get her race fit.
“She’s had quite a bit of time away from racing…it’d have to be (at least) nine months now,” Bougoure said.
“She’s matured and furnished into a lovely filly, so hopefully we see a forward showing from her on Saturday.
“She had a jumpout the Tuesday before last, so it’ll be about 12 days before she gets to the races, and she had a jumpout prior to getting the stone bruise.
“So it’s not as if she‘s just coming in straight off a nine-month break, she’s been in work and had another couple of weeks off and come back in.
“So she’s done a fair bit of work and she’s ready to go for Saturday.”
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