Jessy Belle relishes the step-up to 2000 metres to return to winning form in the 2016 Matriarch Stakes at Flemington this afternoon.
Jessy Belle went into the Matriarch Stakes as an outsider following her plain effort behind Sort After on Melbourne Cup Day, but she was able to turn-the-tables on her rival with a fast-finishing win in the Matriarch Stakes.
Jockey Craig Williams timed his run to perfection on Jessy Belle and he revealed after the race that he always planned to ride the daughter of Rock Of Gibraltar quietly in order to ensure she would run out a strong 2000 metres.
“The instructions were pretty simple – we had to ride her to get the trip,” Williams said.
“It was her first time at it and she gave me a beautiful ride.
“A lot of horses were very keen and responded very really.
“This is my third win on her, she has been a very good mare to me.”
Co-trainer Tom Dabernig said after the race that it was on the instructions of the owners of Jessy Belle that the stable elected to back her up in the Matriarch Stakes this afternoon and he was thrilled to see the six-year-old claim her first win since joining the Lindsay Park team.
Like Williams, Dabernig said that holding Jessy Belle up as long as possible would be crucial to her winning chances and he was pleased that the gamble to run her over 2000 metres had paid off.
“She has actually been racing well,” Dabernig said.
“It was her first time ever at the distance and after she ran during the week I spoke to the owners and they mentioned can we make sure that we back her up on the Saturday.
“She pulled up really well and today we were mindful to ride her really cold.
“She really appreciated that.
“We started her in blinkers then we went to winkers and today we ended up with no gear on.
“William Buick was down to ride her, but he couldn’t ride the weight and it was a pick-up ride for Craig Williams.
“I am really thrilled for all the connections and she has done a great job here.
“It is a huge result and a big win for her future as a broodmare.”
Sort After kicked away and looked like the winner at the 200 metre mark, but she ran out of steam late while Happy Hannah savaged the line in the final stages of the race to finish third.