Trainer Leon Corstens will test the waters early in the Spring with Commanding Jewel with a start in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 a real possibility.
Corstens will stick to a weight for age program in the Spring with the half-sister to brilliant mare Atlantic Jewel and will step her up in distance as the Spring progresses.
Commanding Jewel is yet to race beyond 1610m from her seven starts to date but Atlantic Jewel, the winner of ten of her eleven starts, won over 2000m at Group 1 level when she romped in by four lengths in the $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield last Spring.
“All things going really good she’ll head towards the major Spring weight-for-age races. If it turns out she can run a mile-and-a-quarter (2000m) we’d be silly not to have a crack at it (Cox Plate),” Corstens told Racing Victoria.
“We’ll be guided by how the tracks are because she really wants a firm track more than anything.”
Commanding Jewel hasn’t race since winning the Group 2 $220,000 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington last September and had to abandon the remainder of her Spring campaign after suffering a cut to one of her hooves.
As a three year old Commanding Jewel showed her class with a two and three quarter lengths win in the 2012 Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield.
Corstens was hopeful of running the Commands mare during the Brisbane Winter Carnival but decided not to travel north from his Victorian base after he wasn’t convinced of her fitness after having to trial on wet tracks at Cranbourne and Wangaratta.
“Unfortunately each of her trials this campaign has been on a heavy track and she just doesn’t have the same acceleration at the finish as she does on a dry track,” Corstens said.
“I would have loved to have trialled her on a firmer track which would have given me a good guide as to how she was really going heading into Brisbane.”
Commanding Jewel is marked as a $41 chance in early Cox Plate betting with Ladbrokes.com.au with Carlton House from the Gai Waterhouse stable heading the market order at $9.
Dual Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls and Roger James’ Group 1 winning mare Silent Achiever share the second line of betting at $11 in front of Royal Descent at $13 and Almalad and Happy Trails at $15.