Group 1 winning mare Platelet returned to the winners circle with an impressive victory in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington this afternoon.
Jockey Michelle Payne gave the Strategic mare a gem of a ride and the five-year-old kicked clear of the rest of the field with 250 metres left to run to record a comfortable win from a fast-finishing Spirit Of Boom and brave leader Steps In Time.
Trainer Darren Weir missed out on a win with Puissance De Lune in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) but was delighted with Platelet’s performance and said that the classy mare will return to Group 1 level in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25 and the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 9.
“She had a plan to sit behind that horse (Steps In Time) and produce her late and it worked out beautifully,” Weir said.
“She was great out again and once she got them in behind she travelled beautifully and got home really well.
“She has been a ripper; she always gives 110% and I guess we will head towards the Manikato now.
“They have always been the two goals for her if she was going good enough and were happy with how she went first-up and she gets better the more that she races.
“I think she is worthy of a spot there now.”
Payne only received the opportunity to reunite with Platelet after Ben Melham was suspended but the Group 1 winning jockey well and truly took advantage of her chance with a brilliantly timed ride.
“I rang Ben Melham this morning and he said just get her cover, she has a great turn-of-foot.
“Luckily enough Steps In Time drew beside us, she looked the main speed in the race, and we got cover beautifully behind her and saved for one last crack at them.
“It was a beautiful feeling but it is just nice to get the job done.”
Payne said that she would love to keep the ride on Platelet in the Manikato Stakes but admitted Melham will be itching to get back on board.
“I think Benny might be trying to get his position back on the horse,” Payne said.
“It was just nice to be the fill-in jockey today and she is a lovely mare.”