2015 Taj Rossi Target for Oaks-Bound Bengal Cat

Melbourne horseman John Sadler will use the performance in Saturday’s 2015 Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington of his young filly Bengal Cat as a guide to whether she will make a Crown Oaks hope in the spring.

Craig Williams

Craig Williams has the ride on Bengal Cat in Saturday’s 2015 Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington. Photo: Adrienne Bicknell.

The rising three-year-old daughter of Bernardini is one of 17 juveniles nominated for the $120,000 Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m) on Finals Day this weekend, the up-and-comer having had three previous career starts.

After a sixth on debut at Ballarat back in January she showed improvement when bought back off a spell this winter to run a first-up third over 1200m at Moonee Valley on June 6.

Last time out when racing at Victoria’s famous Flemington track for the first time she broke her maiden status, enjoying the step up in distance to 1400m to beat home El Greco by a nose in a two-year-olds’ handicap on June 27.

Two weeks between runs should suit the filly this weekend then as she returns to Flemington for her maiden black-type assignment in the Taj Rossi Final where she will again face off against the Peter Moody-trained Artie Schiller gelding El Greco who tops the weights with 59kg.

Bengal Cat gets in on 55kg, a kilo more than the 54kg she carried to victory last time out with Craig Williams in the saddle, Williams retaining the ride this weekend as he continues to battle it out for this year’s Melbourne Jockeys’ Premiership title.

Already showing a liking for longer distances, Sadler is hoping Bengal Cat steps up over the mile on Saturday and earns further talks of a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign targeting the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) back at Flemington in November.

“I thought she was pretty good last start and I’m hopeful of her maybe turning into something,” Sadler told AAP.

“Whether she is going to or not, we might get a good chance to see that on Saturday because it’s going to be a nice little race.”

As for Williams he has two other rides for Sadler at Flemington on the weekend including aboard last start winning Lonhro gelding Lonrockstar in the $150,000 Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m).

It is shaping up as a stellar edition of the All Victorian Sprint Final this winter with other notable nominees for the handicap sprint including the Ciaron Maher-trained Hard Romp and Robbie Griffiths’ talented stakes winning mare Nadeem Lass.

Williams (50 winners) currently sits second in the Melbourne premiership race behind Dwayne Dunn (51 winners).

Dunn chases his first ever title and hit the lead after his win in the Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes last weekend aboard Miss Promiscuity.

Final fields for all the Flemington black-types this weekend are released on Wednesday so stay tuned.

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