Trainer Ciaron Maher said there was no temptation running his flying filly Jameka in the Wakeful Stakes Saturday week and will instead take the Moonee Valley Vase winner straight to the Crown Oaks 2015 at Flemington on Thursday November 5.
A traditional lead-up to both the $1.5 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) and the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m), this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) saw Maher’s in-form daughter of Myboycharlie earn an Oaks call-up beating home the boys in the Cox Plate Day run.
Winning for the first time as a three-year-old, her last turf triumph being the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington back in mid-March, Jameka came off a trio of top three runs in Melbourne.
The latest was a brave second behind Stay With Me in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) on October 10 and the two weeks between runs and step up in distance for the Vase had her peaking.
Damien Oliver, aboard for her thirds in the Atlantic Jewel and Thousand Guineas Prelude earlier this campaign, was back in the saddle for the MV Vase and gave his filly the gun ride.
The John O’Shea-trained Shards with in-form hoop James McDonald pounced on the lead early and took up front running to lead the Vase field around this year while the clear Victoria Derby favourite Tarzino dropped right back to last and switched off.
Shards led from Last Bullet who was racing keenly in second, while the eventual winner Jameka dropped in for a beautiful trail fourth on the inside of Red Alto.
Sitting just off the pace were the other fillies in the mix Sagaronne and the Peter Moody-trained Group 1 winner Pasadena Girl with Hugh Bowman aboard.
With 800m left to travel Tarzino was still tracking last while Jameka was being hard ridden by Oliver on the rails.
Turning the Vase into a genuine staying test, McDonald went for home on Shards a long way out and Jameka railed into second with eventual fourth past the post Pasadena Girl also on the move into fourth starting to wind up.
On the home straight Jameka ($4.40) put the pace on and went up to join Shards ($10) 50m out, who was given a massive ride with McDonald giving the entire field something to chase a long way out, before taking over and charging across the line for the well-deserved win.
In the ideal 2015 Victoria Derby trial the Mick Price-trained Tarzino ($4.40) rocketed home late in the piece to run third ahead of his short back-up into the Group 1 on October 31 where he will jump clear favourite.
“She’s been running really well this filly and we always thought she’d like the trip,” Oliver said of Jameka post-win.
“She has a beautiful big action and the first time out over the 2000 (metres) really suited her.
“She gave me a lovely run and just switched off beautifully for me.
“It was a bit of a staying test so I thought the leader might be suspect late and she was strong.”
Oliver has ridden three previous Crown Oaks winners, most recently Special Harmony (2003), and will be hoping to stay on Jameka for the 2015 edition where trainer Maher will shoot for back-to-back wins after Bowman rode Set Square to victory in the VRC classic 12 months ago.
“She’ll hopefully be peaking in a week’s time,” Maher said after the Vase victory.
“She’s got that lovely long striding action. She’s very clean winded and everything in that regard says she’ll stay.
“She’s a very similar horse (to Set Square) but is probably more exposed racing in higher grade races.
“We’ve really targeted the Oaks for her.
“She’s just starting to peak at the right time.”
In futures Crown Oaks betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, who have Best Tote or SP + 20% markets on offer for the full Cox Plate Day line-up, Jameka has firmed into $4.20 second favouritism behind Sacred Eye ($3.40).
To back Jameka next start and check out the full range of all-in Crown Oaks odds visit Ladbrokes.com.au now!
2015 Moonee Valley Vase Results & Finishing Order
Moonee Valley Race 7 – 24/10/2015
|1||11||JAMEKA||Ciaron Maher||Damien Oliver||–||5||55kg||$4.40EF|
|2||1||SHARDS||John O’Shea||James McDonald||1L||3||57kg||$10|
|3||4||TARZINO (NZ)||Mick Price||Craig Newitt||1.75L||9||57kg||$4.60|
|4||10||PASADENA GIRL (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Hugh Bowman||1.85L||1||55kg||$4.40EF|
|5||8||TALLY||John O’Shea||James Doyle||3.6L||11||57kg||$10|
|6||3||LAST BULLET||John Hyam||Paul Gatt||3.7L||10||57kg||$51|
|7||7||RED ALTO||Brent Stanley||Opie Bosson||4.45L||6||57kg||$71|
|8||2||SOVEREIGN NATION||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||6.2L||7||57kg||$8|
|9||12||SAGARONNE||Toby Edmonds||Craig Williams||6.4L||4||55kg||$31|
|10||6||HIERARCHAL||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||10.15L||8||57kg||$18|
|11||5||KENTUCKY FLYER||Robbie Laing||Vlad Duric||22.15L||2||57kg||$101|
|–||9||ASSERTIVE STAR||Byron Cozamanis||Stephen Baster||–||0||–||–|