Bengal Cat Scratches at 2015 Crown Oaks Target

A breakthrough win at Flemington Racecourse over the weekend has trainer John Sadler looking at a possible Crown Oaks 2015 campaign for his improving young filly Bengal Cat this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

Craig Williams

Jockey Craig Williams guided 2015 Crown Oaks hope Bengal Cat to victory in her maiden win at Flemington over the weekend. Photo: Adrienne Bicknell.

The rising three-year-old daughter of Miaow had her third career start on Saturday in the Murray Cox 2YO Handicap (1400m), her first look at further than 1200m.

Coming off a Moonee Valley third as a 60/1 shot from earlier in the month, she relished the extra distance with one of the country’s best jockeys Craig Williams guiding her to a narrow victory over El Greco with Irada in third.

Williams put her into a lovely position throughout the run before pushing her out into the clear for a run down the outside over the closing stages to get the job done as a $10 shot over the odds-on favourite.

“I was hoping for that, I really was – the horses have been running well but we haven’t been winning races,” Sadler told Racing Victoria after her weekend win.

“I really thought she’d run well, she’s very green and got a lot to learn.

“It wasn’t until she got out into the clear that she really let go.

“You just look at her and she’s got a lovely disposition.

“I’m really excited about her.”

She may have had only a nose to spare on the line but with the maiden status broken and the filly showing a liking for extra metres, Sadler is confident Bengal Cat has a big race win in her this campaign.

Early plans are to target the $1 million Group 1 VRC Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on the first Thursday of November during the coveted four-meeting Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Sadler has had three previous VRC Oaks runners but is yet to run top three in the spring’s premier race for three-year-old staying fillies, something he hopes to change in 2015 with Bengal Cat.

Her next test is tentatively scheduled in for a fortnight back at Flemington in the Listed Gibson Carmichael Stakes before she’s sent for a short spell to mature and freshen-up ahead of the spring.

“I’m hopeful of bringing her back here in a fortnight and getting black-type with her and then putting her away,” Sadler said.

“Just maybe she could be an Oaks filly.”

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