Co-trainer Lee Hope was quietly confident heading into the Cockram Stakes 2015 on Memsie Stakes Day with his progressive mare Madam Gangster and that confidence was rewarded as she earned a Let’s Elope Stakes start with a first-up win.
Run this year as the William Hill Sprint Series Heat 1 Stakes, the $150,000 Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) featured a capacity field of 16 mares including the Lee & Shannon Hope-trained Al Maher five-year-old Madam Gangster.
A winner of five of her previous 17 starts, the stable’s banner horse took out he Group 3 Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington during the autumn before her last start fourth to Catkins in the Group 2 Emancipation Stakes (1500m) in late March.
She returned at Caulfield Racecourse in the Cockram Stakes in excellent order, overcoming a wide barrier to take out the set weights plus penalties clash with Blake Shinn in the saddle.
Race favourite Vezalay absolutely flew out to the gates and she and Michael Rodd were quick to move away from the rail on the rain-affected track and take up the lead out wide.
Racing up front she was followed going around by Vibrant Rouge and More Radiant while David Brideoake’s Group 1 placed Griante settled into fourth.
Hazard meanwhile was wide throughout and racing towards the back of the bunch as they turned for home.
A host of mares joined in on the straight and it looked to be anyone’s race as the likes of Mick Price’s More Than Ready four-year-old More Radiant and the Tressady Stakes runner-up Girl Guide made their charges, Griante also joining in out wide.
Also charging home down the outside were the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes winning daughter of Flying Spur Hazard and the eventual winner Madam Gangster who would put in a genuine fighting finish to take it out.
In a really busy finish and photo Cockram Stakes result it was Madam Gangster ($12) up the middle who had a nose to spare over Hazard ($9).
After racing three wide on speed, but swallowed up late before coming again and just missing the top two was then Leon & Troy Corstens’ Shamardal four-year-old Vezalay ($3.20) who looked green over the final 50m when her more experienced rivals got her beat.
Shinn was thrilled with the win for his family and was also pleased with the way Madam Gangster had come through her spell.
“It’s very special to win for my family on a big Group 1 day,” he said.
“Especially with a horse like this…it shows she’s come back in good order.
“I was confident in her ability and Lee was quietly confident.
“It’s a great result that she’s come back and delivered for them.”
Shinn also said the most impressive part of the win was the way she finished it off, a positive sign as she heads into longer races this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“She really dug in and that was the thing I was most impressed about,” he said.
“I think she’ll be even better when she gets up the 1400m.”
Hope confirmed the mare would get up to that distance next start in the $200,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington Racecourse on Makybe Diva Stakes Day, September 12.
“Coming to the 1200m (first-up) was always a little bit of a worry,” he admitted.
“And I don’t think she’s as good on the deteriorating track.
“She’s always had a lot of fight and she’s got a lot of guts.
“She battled it out…she didn’t really handle the track.
“As long as she pulls up alright she’ll go to the 1400m Let’s Elope.”
From there her next assignments could include the $200,000 Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on October 2 with an eye on a Grand Final finish during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) on October 31.
“That’s always in the back of your mind,” Hope said of the fillies-and-mares’ Group 1.
“She’s developing and keeps progressing.”
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2015 Cockram Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 7 – 29/08/2015
|1||8||MADAM GANGSTER||Lee & Shannon Hope||Blake Shinn||–||14||57kg||$11|
|2||3||HAZARD||Lee & Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||0.1L||16||58kg||$9|
|3||17e||VEZALAY||Leon & Troy Corstens||Michael Rodd||0.5L||10||55kg||$3F|
|4||2||MAY’S DREAM||Darren Weir||John Allen||0.7L||12||59kg||$71|
|5||10||JESSY BELLE||Luke Oliver||Vlad Duric||1.2L||5||55kg||$12|
|6||16||PETITE DIABLESSE||Greg Eurell||Michael Walker||1.3L||6||55kg||$61|
|7||1||COSMIC ENDEAVOUR||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||1.5L||8||59kg||$5.50|
|8||6||GIRL GUIDE||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Dwayne Dunn||1.8L||7||57kg||$15|
|9||4||GRIANTE||David Brideoake||Steven Arnold||2.8L||13||57kg||$7.50|
|10||13||MORE RADIANT||Mick Price||Michael Dee (a)||3.8L||4||55kg||$17|
|11||14||DOUBLE DEE||Jason Warren||Craig Newitt||4L||11||55kg||$61|
|12||12||SCARLET BILLOWS||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||4.3L||15||55kg||$31|
|13||15||SOOSA RAMA||Colin Little||Patrick Moloney (a)||4.5L||1||55kg||$51|
|14||7||VIBRANT ROUGE||Anthony Sexton||Luke Currie||4.6L||3||57kg||$91|
|15||9||LOVED UP||Brett Cavanough||Richard Bensley||4.7L||9||55kg||$16|
|16||5||ESTONIAN PRINCESS||Mark Young||Dean Yendall||9.7L||2||57kg||$91|
|–||11||NADEEM LASS||Robbie Griffiths||Craig Newitt||–||0||–||–|