Next month’s Schweppes Oaks 2016 in Adelaide is on the cards for the John Sadler-trained filly Bengal Cat after her impressive win at Sandown-Hillside over the weekend.
The three-year-old daughter of Bernardini lined up for her 12th career start in Melbourne on Saturday dropping back in class for the $80,000 Ladbrokes Cash In Handicap (1600m).
Ridden a treat by apprentice Thomas Sadler, Bengal Cat thrived in the three-years-old fillies handicap over the mile, running away to beat home Bendigo Guineas winner Silent Sedition by a tidy three lengths.
Bengal Cat is now a dual winner and a Group 2 placegetter having run second to My Poppette in the Moonee Valley Fillies Classic last Cox Plate Day.
Her three earlier runs this time in were also all in Group company, but her best result was an eighth to Thames Court in the Group 3 Alexandra Stakes (1600m) from March 24.
Having shown nice improvement on Saturday, Sadler is looking at a trip to Morphettville on May 7 for the $400,000 Group 1 Schweppes Australasian Oaks (2000m) during the Adelaide Autumn Racing Carnival.
It will be Bengal Cat’s second look at the distance following her mid-field sixth to Ambience in Flemington’s Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) last Victoria Derby Day, Sadler hopeful she’ll get the metres now he’s getting her to produce on race day.
“This filly has always shown us good ability and maybe I haven’t placed her as well as I should have but her last start at the Valley we thought she’d run really well and she got locked away on the fence,” Sadler told the media post-win on Saturday.
“I was bringing her home from the pool a couple of days later and she was up on her hind legs and I thought ‘maybe you haven’t tried too hard’ so she did a little bit of schooling and went off to the bullring and sometimes it does the trick and sometimes it doesn’t but it’s obviously done the trick with her.
“Tom (Sadler) has really ridden her well today, I don’t like rapping him but I have to today.
“I’d love to run her over 2000m at Morphettville and although I’m not certain she’ll get the mile-and-a-quarter, I think she’ll get a strong 1800.
“There was quite a bit of depth in that race today, it wasn’t just a weak off-season race and I don’t think it would be foolish to take her over there and give her a try in a Group 1.”
Bengal Cat’s conqueror last time out, the David Brideoake-trained Commands filly Thames Court could also be Schweppes Oaks bound this season.
Third in the MV Fillies Classic in the spring, she won back-to-back Moonee Valley races in March before her disappointing effort at Adelaide on Saturday.
She raced in the Listed Laeila Stakes (1600m), but was last home crossing over 16 lengths away 15th as the beaten $2 favourite behind upset $21 winner C’est Beau La Vie.
A decision by connections whether to press on and give her another chance in the Oaks is set to be made this week.
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