Dear Demi upset Commanding Jewel in the 2014 Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight to record her first race win in over year.
Commanding Jewel was well-backed in the lead-up to the Stocks Stakes and jockey Damien Oliver was able to get the Commands filly in a lovely position just behind the leader Solicit in the early stages of the race.
Oliver asked Commanding Jewel for an extra effort coming around the turn, but she was unable to draw level with Solicit and the Contract Racing-owned mare kicked clear at the 250 metre mark.
Jim Cassidy on Dear Demi tracked the two leaders into the race and the Dehere mare worked home strongly to catch Solicit in the shadow of the post, while Commanding Jewel was two lengths back in third.
Cassidy won the 2012 Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) on Dear Demi and the veteran hoop was thrilled to be able to steer the five-year-old to her first race win since she took out the Group 3 The Roses (2000m) at Doomben in May of last year.
“It was a good test for her tonight,” Cassidy said.
“We had to ride her to suit her and not the track and with Ollie going forward that made it a bit easier.
“I knew that Solicit was going to be hard to run down, but my mare hit the line well.”
Dear Demi’s trainer Clarry Connors was unable to make the trip to Melbourne after he was kicked in the face by a horse at Hawkesbury yesterday, but owner John Singleton’s racing manager Duncan Grimley confirmed that the talented mare would have her next race start in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11 before backing up a week later in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Commanding Jewel was touted as a genuine chance for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) in the lead-up to the Stocks Stakes tonight, but her 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign is at a crossroads after her flat performance.
Oliver said that there were no excuses for the lackluster effort, but thinks that the four-year-old may be better when she is given cover in the early stages of the race.
“Commanding Jewel was disappointing, there were no excuses,” Oliver said.
“They crawled early and she might be better suited ridden quieter, but that wasn’t possible with the small field and the slow pace.”
Dear Demi is currently available at 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of $12 with Ladbrokes Australia.