Unheralded filly Candelara will head to the 2015 Australian Oaks next Saturday after she produced a very tough staying performance in the 2015 Adrian Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Candelara had not recorded a race since she took out the Significant Prelude (1800m) at Randwick in June of last year, but jockey Hugh Bowman rode the Real Saga filly with plenty of confidence and turned the race into a staying test at the 600 metre mark.
The talented filly stayed on extremely strongly in the final stages of the race and fought off Rustic Melody and Maastricht to record the biggest win of her racing career to date.
Bowman said after the race that he received a good push from trainer Bjorn Baker in the lead-up to the race and he confirmed that gave him the confidence to ride Candelara aggressively in the Adrian Knox Stakes.
“She was a late pick-up because the weights went up and most of the fillies in this race had 54, which is below my weight,” Bowman said.
“Bjorn gave her a very good push before the race and said that she loved these wet conditions and she may well back-up to be my Oaks ride now because Set Square has gone back to Melbourne,
“It is a pleasure to be here riding and I think it was a wonderful call from everybody involved to keep the races until today and the track should come through today not too affected.
“I look forward to Queen Elizabeth Day next Saturday.”
Baker joined his father Murray Baker as a winner of the opening day of The Championships, following the victory of Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m), and the rising trainer was thrilled to see Candelara finally live up to her potential with a win in the Adrian Knox Stakes.
Baker confirmed that Candelara would back-up in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) next Saturday, but he admits that she will face a tough challenge against the best staying fillies in the country.
“It is great to come and win any race at Randwick let alone on Derby Day,” Baker said.
“I did mention to Hugh before the race that she is rock hard fit and she handles the wet track because her only previous win was here at Randwick on a slow track.
“Her work has been very good in the last three weeks, she has done plenty of work with Mongolian Khan in the last three weeks and she has been right there with him.
“It is a different step-up from 2000 to 2400 and invariably we will probably get a better track next Saturday, but it is good to have a runner.”
The 2015 Australian Oaks final field will be released tomorrow and is set to include the likes of Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway and Chris Waller-trained Winx.