Jockey Michael Rodd is expecting to erase any doubts about Atlantic Jewel’s ability to run out a strong 2000m when she steps out in the Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield tomorrow.
Even though Atlantic Jewel won the 2011 2000m Group 2 $300,000 Wakeful Stakes against the fillies at Flemington by seven lengths, the Fastnet Rock mare hasn’t been tested at that distance in top weight for age company.
“There is going to be a lot of doubters but we’re out there doing our best and hopefully she can run it out strongly,” Rodd told the Sportsman.
“We know she’s got the best turn of foot but we also know that the 2000m might not be her best distance.”
“There’s a lot of question marks still there, so hopefully she has her chance.”
Atlantic Jewel was run down in the last couple of stride by Kiwi star It’s A Dundeel at the end of 1800m in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on September 21, the first time that the she had her colours lowered from ten race starts.
Rodd was forced to lead on her in the Underwood Stakes with no other rider willing to go to the front, but the situation will be different tomorrow with noted front runner Spacecraft to set the pace.
Rodd said that the expectations for Atlantic Jewel to win are high as was the case in the Underwood Stakes.
“Obviously there’s no It’s A Dundeel on Saturday but still there are horses that are getting up to their strong distances and it’s a question mark with her.”
“We want to see her run well because the Cox Plate is two weeks away.”
A dominant win by Atlantic Jewel tomorrow will see her price for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26 tumble even further.
The glamour mare is currently the $2.80 favourite with the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente the next in the betting at $4.60 with It’s A Dundeel at $5.25.
Even though trainer Mark Kavanagh says that Atlantic Jewel is only ninety-five per cent right, he fully expects her to return to the winner’s circle.
“I am heading to the races tomorrow confident the real Atlantic Jewel will stand up for the public and return to the winner’s list,” Kavanagh wrote in his Herald Sun column today.
“AJ is now 95 per cent fit. She will be 100 per cent in two weeks on Cox Plate day, which has been the plan all along.”
With the early scratching of Green Moon from the Caulfield Stakes because of an elevated temperature, Atlantic Jewel has been marked as the $1.28 favourite in the five horse field.
Stablemate Super Cool is next in the betting at $5.50 with the Chris Waller trained Foreteller at $8.
The other two runners are at huge odds, with Spacecraft at $71 and Massiyn at $81.