Ethereal Stakes Winner Chica Fuerte Targets Wakeful Over VRC Oaks

October 17, 2020

Ethereal Stakes Winner Chica Fuerte Targets Wakeful Over VRC Oaks

Co-trainer Sam Freedman has all but ruled out a Group 1 VRC Oaks target with the stable’s all-the-way Ethereal Stakes winner Chica Fuerte naming the Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) on Derby Day as the filly’s likely grand final.  

Ben Melham Jockey Form (Photo: Adrienne Bicknell) | Races.com.au

Jockey Ben Melham (pictured at Flemington) gave Chica Fuerte a gun ride to win the Ethereal Stakes on Caulfield Cup Day. Photo: Adrienne Bicknell.

The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained daughter of Hinchinbrook led from barrier to box in the Group 3 $200,000 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day handing jockey Ben Melham an early double at the meeting.

While the Ethereal is a traditional lead-up into the Group 1 $1 million VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 5, Chica Fuerte is unlikely to be stretched out over further.

She was excellent in her on-speed run leading all the way to defeat the Danny O’Brien-trained Salto Angel by nearly two lengths in her first look at the 2000m, but Freedman said that her performance was aided by the nice ride from Melham.

“She’s a very straightforward filly, she’s very easy to do anything with,” Freedman said.

“We talked about it pre-race with Ben (Melham), the 2000 metres was a slight query but he really thought that if he could find the front and just give her an easy time she would have a really good turn of foot.

“He’s riding brilliantly at the moment and gave her a great steer.

“It’s very important for fillies to get Black-Type and she’s got that today.

“She’s shown she can run out 2000 metres, but it was aided by a really good ride.

“She’s pretty bombproof and she handles all going the Wakeful is a really nice race for her if she comes through this well.

“The Oaks is probably not on the agenda for her at this stage, it’s a very testing obviously 2500 and we think she’s probably a preparation away still and the Wakeful might be a nice grand final.”

Progressing well from her last start third behind Thermosphere in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m), Chica Fuerte ($5.50) had the winkers come off for the Ethereal and once she found the front got into a good rhythm.

There were no moves during the run and the eventual winner travelled beautifully throughout to defeat the runner-up, Salto Angel ($19) brave in defeat having had to change paths half-way down the straight, with Star Of Eden ($31) third having travelled fourth the outside the entire way.

“I think she’s better when she can find the front,” Melham said.

“She was good enough to win today but she’s by Hinchinbrook and that’s probably a little concern (looking towards an Oaks).

“I have a little question mark about her getting any further.”

Despite the unlikelihood of her heading towards the Group 1, all-in VRC Oaks 2020 odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have firmed on Chica Fuerte in from $21 to $11.

Salto Angel has undergone the same move in futures betting, while Star Of Eden has firmed in from $34 to $17.

Click here for the full pre-field 2020 VRC Oaks betting markets courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au.

2020 Ethereal Stakes Results

Colour Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 2 CHICA FUERTESuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Anthony & Sam Freedman Ben Melham 6 56kg $5.50
2 10 SALTO ANGEL (NZ) Danny O’Brien Damian Lane 1.75L 3 56kg $19
3 12 STAR OF EDEN Michael Moroney Billy Egan 1.95L 5 56kg $31
4 6 PENSATOSuper Vobis Bonus Scheme James Cummings William Pike 2.7L 1 56kg $11
5 5 SILHOUETTE James Cummings John Allen 3.45L 4 56kg $4F
6 4 SUCCEED INDEED Leon & Troy Corstens Mark Zahra 3.75L 8 56kg $4.40
7 1 CAFE RIZU Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) Craig Newitt 4.75L 16 56kg $71
8 3 STARELLESuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Danny O’Brien Damien Oliver 4.85L 9 56kg $5
9 16 MRS MURPHY (NZ) Paul Rocke Jake Noonan 4.95L 15 56kg $201
10 14 YATTON (NZ) Michael Moroney Jye McNeil 6.7L 12 56kg $21
11 7 ART GLASS Grahame Begg Craig Williams 8.2L 11 56kg $61
12 15 SWINDON LASS Matthew Brown Brian Higgins 9.45L 7 56kg $151
13 11 SELFLESS Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) Michael Walker 13.2L 13 56kg $31
14 9 BLAZING LACESuper Vobis Bonus Scheme Dan O’Sullivan Luke Currie 14.95L 14 56kg $101
15 13 NORTHERN BLISS Nigel Blackiston Jamie Kah 15.45L 2 56kg $101
16 8 SHILAJIT (NZ) Dan O’Sullivan Michael Rodd 16.45L 10 56kg $301

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

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