Commanding Jewel will have her next race start in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 26 instead of the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 28.
Commanding Jewel returned to winning form with a narrow victory over Dear Demi in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) and co-trainer Troy Corstens revealed after the race that the Commands mare would likely have her next race start in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, but Team Corstens have elected to take a different route as they plot a path to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Leading jockey Damien Oliver has ridden Commanding Jewel in both of her race starts this preparation, but he is booked to ride Cox Plate contender Dan Excel in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Corstens told TVN that the stable did not want to run the five-year-old without Oliver or Ben Melham on her back.
“If we went to the Rupert Clarke, Damien wasn’t available and there was a chance Dissident could run there too so we would be without Ben Melham,” Corstens said.
“We had a chat about it today and just thought the mares race is an easier target.
“It isn’t a Group 1 race, but it is a Group 2, it is still a good prize money race and it gives us an opportunity to run at Moonee Valley and have a look at the track again before the Cox Plate.
“The Rupert Clarke could potentially be a very strong race and this could be a softer option.”
Commanding Jewel has not raced at Group 1 level since she took out the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) in dominant fashion, but is set to run in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 11 before making her weight-for-age debut in the Cox Plate.
Her three-quarters sister Atlantic Jewel won the Group 2 Stocks Stakes in effortless fashion during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival, but she suffered a tendon injury in the lead-up to the Cox Plate and was retired from racing.
Commanding Jewel is currently on the fourth line of Cox Plate betting markets, along with Dan Excel, Royal Descent and Sacred Falls, and she is available at a quote of $17 with Ladbrokes Australia.