Okahu Bay fought home bravely to record a narrow victory over Bahamas in the 2015 South Australian Fillies Classic at Morphettville this afternoon.
Okahu Bay went into the race as an outsider at the lengthy quote of $71 and jockey Matthew Neilson elected to roll forward on the Flying Spur filly in the early stages of the race, while Bahamas was settled in the middle of the pack.
Craig Williams elected to push forward on Ungrateful Ellen rather than settle her at the tail of the field, but the talented hoop had absolutely no luck whatsoever and the second favourite was caught three wide for the entire South Australian Fillies Classic.
Okahu Bay looked like a sitting duck at the top of the straight when a number of challengers lined up on her outside and Bahamas appeared to be finishing the better in the final stages, but Okahu Bay was able to hold off the favourite to take out the South Australian Fillies Classic, while Ungrateful Ellen finished an extremely gallant third.
Okahu Bay was having just her second start at Group level following her eighth place finish behind Fitocracy in the Group 3 Auraria Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville on April 18 and she went into the race on the back on a second place behind Monopole in the Real Estate Agents Handicap (2122m) at Gawler on May 7.
Bahamas started the South Australian Fillies Classic as favourite and she had every chance to record a maiden win at stakes level, but she was unable to get her nose in front of Okahu Bay in the final stages of the race.
The Teofilo filly has had a strong rookie campaign and she could head to Queensland after finishing second in the Listed Alexandra Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 27, third in the Denis Walter Afternoons Trophy (1600m) at Flemington on April 11 and a strong third in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville a fortnight ago.
Ungrateful Ellen produced the fastest closing sectionals in the Australasian Oaks, but she was ridden in a different fashion by Williams in the South Australian Fillies Classic.
It was clear that Williams did not want to give his rivals too great of a start in the South Australian Fillies Classic, but his indecision not to continue to press forward after the Grey Swallow filly was caught wide in the early stages may have cost the three-year-old the race.