Ten-time Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Melody Belle...
Backing up from last weekends thrilling Wakeful Stakes win proved no problem for Miami Bound as the Danny O’Brien-trained three-year-old bolted in to claim the Group 1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on Thursday.
A quality field of three-year-old’s lined up to contest Australia’s premier fillies staying race, and only two days removed from winning the Melbourne Cup with Vow And Declare, O’Brien’s talented galloper was installed as the $4.40 second-elect after beating home Vegas Jewel by no more than a nose last Saturday.
The win capped off an amazing week for O’Brien, who claimed the $600,000 prizemoney. It was also a memorable moment for jockey Damien Oliver, who claimed his 119th Group 1 race and his fifth win in the Oaks.
In an ironic twist of fate, Oliver actually rode O’Brien’s first-ever Group 1 winner aboard Porto Roca in the 2001 Coolmore Stud Stakes. Eighteen years later, O’Brien said he was happy he had the right jockey in the saddle.
“It was perfect. We’ve got a lot of faith in this filly and we’ve obviously been building her all Spring to get to 2500m” O’Brien said.
“We knew once we took the wrapping off at the 2500m she was going to really let go, and he got on the back of the Kavanaugh horse, even though he was three wide she was always going to have plenty to offer when we got into the straight.”
It was also a perfect end to the Spring for Oliver after riding Warning to a win in the $2 million Victoria Derby (2500m) on Saturday. The 47-year-old has won over 22% of his last 50 starts and has amassed over $209 million in prizemoney.
“It was a great effort. It wasn’t one of my prettiest rides. She actually threw me a bit before the race, she stopped and didn’t want to go into the mounting yard and I thought she wanted to go to the toilet, but that wasn’t the case.
Then in her prelim, I got around to the 600m and she stopped again and didn’t want to come back to the gates, so I just wasn’t sure what was going on with her. I was a bit indecisive from the gate and caught a little bit deep, but fortunately, I was able to get a bit of cover off the Kavanaugh horse which took us into the straight as far as it could. She was left there a fair way out, but she was the best stayer in the race and she was too good” Oliver said of his ride.
Sitting four deep on the first turn, Oliver had plenty of work to do in the middle stages of the race. In the end, though, the horses’ outstanding turn of foot did the talking as the pair exploded down the straight to win comfortably by three lengths.
Miami Bound became the 37th horse to complete the Wakeful Stakes-Kennedy Oaks double, following in Aristia’s footsteps.
There was no such luck for race-favourite Gamay however, who got away from the gates quickly before finding no luck on the rails.
Never Listen, who was paying $7.00 for a place, did well to run second. Moonlight Maid, who was well backed from barrier 10, ran on well for third after making up eight lengths down the straight.
The complete 2019 Kennedy Oaks finishing order can be viewed below.
|1||1||MIAMI BOUND||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||–||7||55.5kg|
|2||10||NEVER LISTEN||John Ramsey||Darryl McLellan||3.25L||5||55.5kg|
|3||2||MOONLIGHT MAID||Mitchell Freedman||Ben Melham||5.25L||10||55.5kg|
|4||8||BEAUTY BOLT||Grahame Begg||James McDonald||6.25L||3||55.5kg|
|5||3||GAMAY||Archie Alexander||Ryan Moore||6.75L||1||55.5kg|
|6||4||VEGAS JEWEL||Mark Kavanagh||Jordan Childs||6.85L||14||55.5kg|
|7||7||PRESENTLY||Ken Keys||Dwayne Dunn||7.85L||12||55.5kg|
|8||14||STICK ‘EM UP||John Sargent||Tommy Berry||8.25L||4||55.5kg|
|9||6||SILENT SOVEREIGN||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Jamie Kah||10L||6||55.5kg|
|10||11||SONG BROCADE||John Sadler||Jye McNeil||10.4L||8||55.5kg|
|11||9||AMAZING PEACE||Paul Perry||Nash Rawiller||11.4L||2||55.5kg|
|12||5||FOXBOROUGH||John Sargent||Tim Clark||13.65L||9||55.5kg|
|13||12||OCEAN MISS||David & Coral Feek||Michael Walker||18.65L||11||55.5kg|
|14||15||VICTORY APPROACH||Michelle Payne||Ms Michelle Payne||93.65L||13||55.5kg|
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