The biggest boom on any horse in Victoria was raised even higher with the outstanding victory of Commanding Jewel at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The three-quarter sister to the glamour mare Atlantic Jewel came to town with high expectations after winning her only previous start in a Swan Hill three-year-old maiden and lived up to them all.
Commanding Jewel winning the Mitchelton Wines Plate at Moonee Valley – photo by Race Horse Photos Australia
Given a comfortable run behind the leaders, Commanding Jewel, who dominated betting as the $1.85 favourite, pushed clear entering the home straight in the Mitchelton Wines Plate (1200m) and cruised to the line a length clear of Flying Hostess ($12) with Mama’s Choice ($10) in third place.
Winning jockey Damien Oliver needed only three words to sum up the performance of a filly who appears capable of filling the big shoes left empty by Atlantic Jewel, sidelined for the spring because of injury.
“She’s got class,” Oliver said.
Trainer Leon Corstens was less emphatic but equally impressed.
“She’s done a fabulous job,” he said.
“I knew she could win but I was still worried. I’m glad to get that one out of the way.
“Now we’ll start looking for another nice race for her.”
Commanding Jewel cost $205,000 at last year’s Magic Millions sale on the Gold Coast, her purchase price turning out to be a bargain following the arrival on the racetrack six months later of Atlantic Jewel, the winner of her only seven starts.
Part-owner Brad Spicer, who chose the filly at the sale, said she had shown enough promise to be regarded as a Golden Slipper prospect last year.
“But she went shinsore and we decided to take it easy with her,” Spicer said.
To Corstens, the early setback was a blessing.
“I’m glad she went sore, it wasn’t a problem, but it meant we weren’t pushing her,” he said.
The trainer will now scan the racing programs for a suitable 1400m race to ready Commanding Jewel for her major spring goal, the Group One Thousand Guineas at Caulfield on October 17.