A rousing gallop at Moonee Valley on Saturday has convinced top jockey Damien Oliver that Commanding Jewel is in for a very bright Spring campaign.
Even though trainer Leon Corstens hasn’t set out a definite Spring program for last year’s Thousand Guineas winner, Oliver expects the mare to shine in whatever she competes in.
A trouble free preparation to date has given Corstens plenty of confidence going into the Spring which could lead to a start in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
“I’d like to head for the Cox Plate. We will tread along that path and see how see goes,” Corstens told Racing Ahead.
“We don’t quite know if she will get the mile and a quarter yet, we’ll see how we go.”
Commanding Jewel galloped with stablemate Fantome Gris in between races at Moonee Valley and even though she was not fully extended, Oliver was very impressed with the way she felt.
“She’s come back even better than I had hoped,” Oliver told TVN.
“I did have a sit on her my first day back at the track a couple of weeks ago (at Romsey) but that was only even time on a very heavy track.
“To get her here on raceday was great because she was really up on her toes and she felt brilliant.”
In only her first preparation, Commanding Jewel went from a Swan Hill maiden winner to a convincing winner in the Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on October 17 with Oliver in the saddle.
Corstens had to abort an Autumn Carnival campaign when the commands filly developed a fetlock problem but seems to have fully recovered.
“She’s pulled up terrific, she’s done well in the feed bin and she looks bright and chirpy,” Corstens said.
“She wrenched her joint mucking around in the yard, we had that cleaned out, and at the moment she is going great guns.”
Corstens had originally set her comeback for the Group 3 $150,000 W W Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 17, but then thought that might be a bit quick.
But after Saturday’s hit out, it is now looking like racegoers will see her step out on that day.
“After she worked on Saturday at the Valley, I was a bit surprised on how well she pulled up. So I will give her another couple of searching gallops before the seventeenth and we’ll see how she fair between now and then,” Corstens said.
Oliver and Corsten both agree that Commanding Jewel has continued to mature and has developed into a big, strong mare.
“She looks enormous,” he added.