Three-year-old Jabali has broken through for a maiden victory in the best way possible at Doomben this afternoon; mustering a huge turn of foot in the final straight to take out the $400,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1600m).
Group 1 placed having finished a close second to Earthquake in the 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), Jabali has steadily faded out of focus over the last 12 months and remained unable to break through for a maiden race win despite being entered as a short favourite in several minor sprints over the last few months.
Allocated the ideal barrier 4, Jabali jumped from the gates well in the 2015 Queensland Guineas and was immediately settled in ideal running position by in-form hoop Jim Byrne on the heels of fast-paced leaders Traveston Girl, Lucky Tom and Deiheros.
Remaining on the rails over the back straight and approaching the turn, Byrne pressed the son of Exceed And Excel back into the main pack at the turn and prepared the three-year-old for a final straight assault.
Quickly spooling up, Jabali pushed forward with 400m left to run, and while appearing to be blocked for a run, found a clear racing line before jetting to the lead and finding the line ahead of a fast-finishing Bachman; consistent performer Merion completing the first three.
Jim Byrne delivered a gem of a ride on Jabali in the 2015 Queensland Guineas and was thrilled with the three-year-old’s performance for maiden success.
“The horse ran really well today, he ran the mile strong,” Byrne said.
“I think with that hot speed and being able to hold him together as long as possible … sure enough he worked home and was too strong.”
In taking out the 2015 Queensland Guineas, Jabali has how posted one win and a further five minors from 14 career starts, and is sure to have lifted a huge weight off the shoulders of trainer Mick Price.
Having failed to break his maiden when second in his first two starts this time, Jabali steadily built to this afternoon’s success in running sixth in the Listed Mick Dittman Plate (1200m) and fifth in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) over the last month.
Second-placed Bachman failed to get the distance when 13th in the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2000m) at Doomben a fortnight ago and proved he is at his best over a mile with this afternoon’s effort.
Posting several commendable results for Michael Moroney over autumn, including a credible sixth in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), Merion received the greatest market share of attention from punters in the lead-up to jump this afternoon and managed a solid effort from the awkward barrier 12.