A Cox Plate start is on the cards for unbeaten filly Atlantic Jewel if she can return to her electrifying best in a belated short Autumn campaign.
Trainer Mark Kavanagh was forced to send the Fastnet Rock filly to the spelling paddock after her dominant seven lengths win in the Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes at Flemington last Spring but now has her ready to appear at the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Kavanagh has selected the Group 2 $175,000 Yellowglen Sapphire Stakes (1200m) for fillies and mares at Randwick on Saturday as a starting point for a tilt at some of the major races in the Spring.
Atlantic Jewel created a huge impression when she beat Mosheen in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12 before her Wakeful Stakes win but Kavanagh was forced to withdraw her from the Group 1 $1m Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 3 when she developed back problems.
“We’ve waited till her injury was totally healed up and we’ve brought her along slowly on a normal preparation,” Kavanagh said.
“These horses don’t come along very often so you keep cuddling them and make sure they’re pretty right with plenty of improvement in them.”
“She’s going okay. She’s worked along good and we’ve nursed her. She’s ready to come back to the races now.”
Kavanagh had also nominated Atlantic Jewel for the Group 1 $1m Darley T J Smith (1200m) but had decided to line her up against the fillies and mares at her first run back from injury.
“I don’t really want her to have a gut buster first-up so I think she’s better off against her own sex,” he said.
“The whole autumn is just to try and get a few runs into her to set her up and see what she can do in the spring.”
“We’re just thankful to get her back to the track so we’ll see how she does after Saturday and be guided by her as to what happens after this weekend.”
Many experienced racegoers had labelled Atlantic Jewel the next super star after her outstanding form in the Spring and Kavanagh will give her a fairly easy Autumn with possibly only two starts.
If the filly gets through Saturday okay, Kavanagh will then choose between the Group 1 $400,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on April 28 or the Group 2 $175,000 Emancipation Stakes (1600m) on the same day.
Top Melbourne jockey Michael Rodd will continue his association with Atlantic Jewel on Saturday after having ridden her to three of her five wins to date.