Talented mare Madam Gangster returned to racing with a narrow victory in a thrilling edition of the 2015 Cockram Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
There were a number of horses that received betting support in the lead-up to the Cockram Stakes and the race lived up to its even billing, with eight horses legitimate winning chances with 100 metres left to run.
Easing favourite Vezalay looked like the winner with 50 metres left to run, but he raced greenly in the final stages of the race and it was left to Madam Gangster and Hazard to fight out the finish.
Madam Gangster just held on to record her second win at Group level and jockey Blake Shinn was clearly delighted to record a feature race for the training operation of his step-father and step-brother Lee and Shannon Hope.
“It is very special to come down here and get a ride for my family on a big Group 1 day,” Shinn said.
“To pull it off means the world to me, my step-dad, step-brother Shannon and Mum put a lot of work in to a horse like this and it shows that she has come in great order to be able to get the result for them.
“She ran a great fourth in Sydney behind Catkins and Lee was quietly confident today.
“It is a great result to come back and deliver for them.”
Lee Hope revealed after the race that he was concerned that Madam Gangster might struggle to handle the soft Caulfield track that had just been hit by a shower and he believes that it was guts alone that got the daughter of Al Maher over the line in the 2015 Cockram Stakes.
“Coming here the 1200 was always a little bit of a worry and I don’t think that she is as good on a deteriorating track to be truthful,” Hope said.
“She has always had a lot of fight in her and she has a lot of guts, so just the way that she battled it out was right up there because I don’t think that she really handled it.”
Hope confirmed that Madam Gangster will have her next race start in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 12, but he is unsure whether she will progress to a race like the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at the same venue on Victoria Derby Day.
“As long as she pulls up alright she will go to the Let’s Elope,” Hope said.
“That is always in your mind, but you just have to keep progressing.”
Hazard was very gallant in second and Vezalay was not disgraced in third, but the eye-catching run of the race was produced by Darren Weir-trained May’s Dream, who absolutely stormed home in the final stages of the race.