Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Shoals has continued her unbeaten career start with an impressive first-up performance and win in the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m) at The Valley this afternoon.
Shoals had not been seen at the races since winning the Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes (1200m) in early April, but jumped from the gates well and took a position on pace, alongside Blondie, who held a position on the rails.
Shoals appeared to be over-racing slightly in transit, but she travelled well into the final straight and was offered a clear racing line upon arriving at the final straight.
Immediately responding when asked for an extra effort, Shoals kicked clear of her rivals and found the line a comfortable half-length in the clear of Blondie; She’s So High running on well for third.
Jockey Mark Zahra completed a perfectly-timed ride aboard Shoals to win the Atlantic Jewel Stakes and believes that she will only improve with racing.
“I wanted to ride her a big conservatively, but she just flew out and when she hits the front, she just pricks her ears,” Zahra said.
“She doesn’t put them away and she’s doing it pretty easily. I reckon if something challenged her, she would have found a lot more today.
“She’s got a bit to go and she’s a bit burly as well, but we were able to get a soft run on speed and when we got to the bend I thought that there was no way we’d be getting beaten from here.”
Trainer Anthony Freedman was pleased with Shoals’ first-up run in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes and confirmed that the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield in a fortnight will be her next campaign target.
“She’s obviously a high-quality filly and if you get her right and get her fit, she seems to do the rest,” Freedman said.
“I think there’s improvement. She’d had two jump-outs, but hadn’t done that much on the track, so I came here under the belief that she would improve, whatever she did. She’s won, so all is well.
“We talked about being one or two lengths off the leaders, but she flew the gates and it would have been silly to go with ‘Plan A’.
“She had the fitness to see it out and probably felt it a bit late and she’ll go to the Prelude in two weeks and will probably improve off today.”
The Thousand Guineas Prelude is an ideal next point of call for Shoals, however the filly is yet to be tested in a race above 1200m.
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