Jockey Michael Rodd was delighted with the performance of Atlantic Jewel in a jump-out at Flemington this morning, as the wonder mare continues to work towards a return to the races after a lengthy lay-off due to injury.
Atlantic Jewel has not been seen at the races since her victory in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in April last year but is closer than ever to a return after being given a real test this morning.
Rodd told Racing Ahead that he gave the daughter of Fastnet Rock a squeeze this morning and couldn’t be happier with how she responded.
“Kav (trainer Mark Kavanagh) has just done a wonderful job bringing her along; she has been back in work for quite a while now,” Rodd said on RSN.
“This morning was her real test, I gave her a good squeeze just to get her to extend and break her wind a bit and she felt fantastic.
“I’m really happy with her and fingers crossed she stays sound and we are going to be in for a massive spring with her.”
Atlantic Jewel has been almost flawless in her seven victories from seven career starts but did generally jump poorly from the gates and struggled to muster early tactical speed.
After riding the five-year-old since her return, Rodd believes that this problem is now a thing of the past and the exciting mare is getting out of the barriers well.
“She is a lot more forward than what she use to be, she doesn’t just flop out of the gate anymore she is beginning a lot sharper,” Rodd said.
“Now she is the first horse out of the barriers trying to take charge and looking to put herself into the race.
“It is going to make it a lot easier for me on raceday, hopefully I won’t have as much traffic to negotiate.”
Rodd said that he didn’t know what races Kavanagh had in mind for Atlantic Jewel during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but believes she can win whatever races she is set for.
“Kav will have to sit down and think about where he takes her, I’ve got no idea what he is going to do with her but I don’t think she could be any better,” the leading jockey said.
“She feels like she could win a thousand metre race first up and she could stay at that distance but because she is so good and so versatile she can get up to 2000 metres without a problem.”
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) is expected to be the major spring target for Atlantic Jewel – a race that Rodd won on Mark Kavanagh-trained Maldivian in 2008.