Cox Plate bound Commanding Jewel showed her class to win back to back Group 2 $200,000 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington today.
Winning rider Damien Oliver had trouble slotting in the field in the early stages from barrier seven and let the mare roll forward to sit outside the leaders Solicit and Gregers.
Coming to the home turn Commanding Jewel ($2.60 favourite) was stuck out three wide but Oliver had her travelling well and when he moved up outside of Gregers at the 300m, it was plain to see she would be the one to beat.
At the 200m Commanding Jewel held a clear lead but Oliver, as always, had something in reserve and the Commands mare had enough to hold out the fast finishing Dear Demi ($10).
The Clarry Connors trained Dear Demi showed that she has a good Spring Carnival ahead after another eye catching run while Nautical ($71) ran a mighty first up race to fill third spot at big odds.
Commanding Jewel has spent a long time on the sidelines because of injury and today’s win was only her second start since winning this race last year.
Co-trainer Troy Corstens is hoping that Commanding Jewel stays injury free this Spring Carnival and will now aim her towards the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
“The staff has done such a wonderful job with her,” Corstens said.
“It’s amazing that she has come out and done it like that.”
“It was touch and go there for a little while. She had a nasty cut on her hoof, a split on her hoof that was really bad.”
“A stack of work went into her but when you get one as good as this it is worthwhile.”
“When she was three wide the entire I thought if she kicks on and runs nicely here, it’s a really good run, but to do what she did was really game.
“She needed to run like that to sort of warrant to push onto a Cox Plate so its’ good to get that out of the way.”