In a special moment for the pedigree the Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman-trained filly Eleonora put in the ideal Crown Oaks tune-up winning the Ethereal Stakes 2016 named in honour of her grand-dam.
The granddaughter of the champion Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup double winning mare in 2001 Ethereal, Makfi filly made up for her horror run at Flemington last start with a Caulfield Cup Day win in the $150,000 Group 3 New Zealand Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes (2000m).
Twelve months ago the stable enjoyed the Caulfield Cup win with Mongolian Khan (2015) and were back in the winners’ stall in a support race this season, Eleonora getting the dream ride from jockey Damien Oliver.
Oliver was aboard for the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) on the three-year-old a fortnight back when she never got a clear shot at her rivals and could only manage to finish 11th behind Serenely Discreet.
Things worked in her favour in the Ethereal Stakes and it is onwards and upwards to a run in the $1 million Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) back at Flemington on Thursday November 3.
“She’s a granddaughter of Ethereal so it’s very ironic that she wins the Ethereal,” Oliver said post-race.
Oliver has ridden four Crown Oaks winners to victory including Jameka last year and will be fighting to stay on this year’s Ethereal Stakes winner who he rates to stay the trip.
“Not at all [will the Crown Oaks distance worry her],” he said.
“They’ve done a great job with her.
“She looks great going towards the Oaks.”
Eleonora certainly looks one of the hardest to beat in the 2016 Crown Oaks and is set to firm in futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.
It was a genuine temp set in the Ethereal Stakes this season with Red Velvet Swing out in front showing the way from So Distinct in the early stages of the set weights plus penalties clash.
Savvan was caught wide from her awkward draw, but jockey Craig Williams had her going up into second on the hill.
Two of the best in betting Sebring Dream and Bella Sorellastra meanwhile were being restrained racing second and dead last heading to the railway side of the course.
Settled sixth on the rails was the Darren Weir-trained Tiamo Grace in her Black-Type debut.
The Lindsay Park-trained Sebring Dream was still second last 10 lengths off the leader with 600m to go and all the ground to make-up.
Red Velvet Swing led the field around the swing for home with Savvan on her outside.
Tiamo Grace was badly held up when she and jockey Dean Yendall, who only last weekend enjoyed his first Group 1 winning ride aboard Yankee Rose in Sydney, came with their run and she got shut out on the straight.
Last start Kembla Grange winner Savvan hit the lead briefly before Eleonora came with her late run.
She tackled the leader and hit the front with 100m to go.
Eleonora ($6.50) held for the win with the eye-catching performance of the race coming from Weir’s daughter of Monaco Consul Tiamo Grace ($9.50) who, after getting hampered, got through for second just ahead of Savvan ($8.50) who held for third.
Oliver began well on the eventual winner, got the cover and weaved through with the filly doing the rest for him.
“It’s a big advantage if you can get some cover going down that side,” Oliver added.
Co-trainer Forsman was thrilled with the Ethereal Stakes result and confirmed the VRC Oaks had always been the plan this Melbourne Cup Carnival with Eleonora.
“It just panned out a treat today,” he said.
“She got a dream run through and for all the bad luck she got last time she made up for it today.
“That’s why we bought her here [for the Crown Oaks].”
There’s an argument to be made that Tiamo Grace should have won, but she got caught-up and did a tremendous job to finish second and will also be a Crown Oaks market mover.
To check out the updated Crown Oaks 2016 odds head to Ladbrokes.com.au now.
2016 Ethereal Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 4 – 15/10/2016
|1||5||ELEONORA (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Damien Oliver||–||5||55kg||$7|
|2||7||TIAMO GRACE||Darren Weir||Dean Yendall||1.25L||3||55kg||$9|
|3||4||SAVVAN (NZ)||James Cummings||Craig Williams||2L||11||55kg||$8.50|
|4||1||MOQUEEN||Anthony Cummings||Blake Shinn||2.1L||2||56.5kg||$5.50|
|5||2||SEBRING DREAM||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Michael Walker||2.2L||12||55kg||$3.60F|
|6||3||BELLA SORELLASTRA||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Stephen Baster||2.5L||14||55kg||$6.50|
|7||6||WHYOUASK||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||3.25L||7||55kg||$19|
|8||15||KAMILI||Nick Ryan||Rhys McLeod||5.25L||10||55kg||$31|
|9||8||BETTYRAE RUBY||Tim Hughes||Zac Purton||5.75L||1||55kg||$91|
|10||12||RED VELVET SWING||Danny O’Brien||Ms Katelyn Mallyon||5.85L||9||55kg||$201|
|11||13||AROHATA||Ciaron Maher||Dwayne Dunn||6.25L||8||55kg||$41|
|12||10||SO DISTINCT||Robbie Griffiths||Luke Nolen||6.65L||6||55kg||$51|
|13||14||VON RICHTER||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||6.85L||13||55kg||$61|
|14||9||MADAM STRYKER||Mick Sell||Michael Dee (a)||9.35L||4||55kg||$151|
|–||11||NINA PEAK||Robbie Laing||Craig Newitt||–||0||–||–|