Classy mare Commanding Jewel showed that she is back to her best with an impressive win in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m).
Commanding Jewel returned from injury with a sixth place finish in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) – a result that had many racing experts questioning if she would ever return to the form she showed winning the 2012 Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) last spring – but she proved her doubters wrong and showed an explosive turn-of-foot to score a comfortable win over Catkins and A Time For Julia.
Trainer Leon Corstens was happy with Commanding Jewel’s first-up effort but was clearly relived to see her returning to her winning ways ahead of her major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival targets at Group 1 level.
“I was a little bit worried early on in the race, I thought she was just on the bit a little bit too early, but she peeled out in the straight and put paid to them nicely,” Corstens said after the race.
“I think that after this we might head to a race like the Toorak.
“She is going really good at the moment and if she settles nicely there is no telling where she could end up.”
Group 1 winning jockey Ben Melham picked up the ride on Commanding Jewel and was full of praise for the three quarters sister to glamour mare Atlantic Jewel.
“I was drawn to get the right sort of ride today and I was happy just to ride her out of trouble.
“She travelled well into the straight and when I came out she picked up the bridled strong.
“She produced the strong turn-of-foot like the class horse that she is.
“Leon has done a great job with her and there is obviously good improvement in front of her.”
The Cox Plate is the ultimate goal for Commanding Jewel and the Let’s Elope Stakes has proven a key lead-up race to the Australasian Weight For Age Championship in recent years, with Pinker Pinker winning the double in 2011.