Trainer Kris Lees named next month’s Listed $200,000 Grafton Cup (2350m) as a potential next-up winter target for his back-in-form mare Frankely Awesome after her success in Saturday’s Listed $120,000 W J McKell Cup (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens.
It had been 644 days since the beautifully-bred Frankel mare Frankely Awesome’s last win, the two-time Group 1 placegetter looking back to her best after just three runs over the past 12 months.
As a filly last autumn, she twice ran in the money behind the brilliant Verry Elleegant when runner-up in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) and third in the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m).
Lees was forced to give her nearly a year in the paddock after she went amiss in the Oaks however and was thrilled to have her back in winning form on Civic Stakes Day.
“Yeah really pleasing,” Lees told the media after the race.
“To win a stakes race with her after she looked a really handy three-year-old she went amiss in the Oaks.
“I think she’s really appreciating this soft ground over the winter.
“I’m sure that the soft ground’s helped along the way.
“It was disappointing we missed that 12 months with her.”
Frankely Awesome travelled midfield throughout cruising for jockey Jason Collett who rode her for an eye-catching run fresh last start as the W J McKell Cup field was led around by the grey Sully.
Once on the straight the challengers came with the Chris Waller-trained duo Wu Gok and Carzoff both going well.
Carzoff eventually got to the front down the outside, but it was Frankely Awesome finishing best with the mare gunning down her rival in a late charge to the line.
The final result saw Frankely Awesome ($10) finish a quarter-length ahead of her stablemate Sixties Groove ($15) who got up into second in a very tight finish just ahead of Carzoff ($5) who looked the winner on the straight before just failing to finish off for jockey James McDonald.
McDonald was chasing his 100th metropolitan win for the season.
“Huge credit to Kris and his team,” winning hoop Collett said.
“She (Frankely Awesome) did quite a long time off, her last start was outstanding really.
“Gee she travelled well (today), I was very confident at the 600 (metres).
“She was sharper today. Her runs behind Very Elleegant…it just short of shows you she’s classy when she’s going right.”
Lees said they would now keep the mare ticking over during the winter with the Grafton Cup on July 9 a possibility if the track there was suitably soft.
“She wouldn’t be spelling,” he said.
“We’ll consider a Grafton Cup but see how the weather is there and what type of track they present.”