Mick Kent’s decision to bypass Flemington in favour of the Patinack Farm AJC Australian Oaks (2400m) with Absolutely on Saturday was justified when she taught her rivals a lesson in the fillies’ Classic.
The daughter of Redoute’s Choice broke her maiden status in the best possible fashion, careering away with the $550,000 Group 1 at her seventh trip to the races.
Cranbourne-based Kent also accepted with her for the 2000m Riding For The Disabled Plate at Flemington and it wasn’t until the day before he committed to heading north with the filly who chased home Lights Of Heaven in the Group 1 Australasian Oaks at her previous start.
“Everything went to plan and I’m glad we came,” Kent said. “It looked a tough Oaks, but she drew well and you don’t get many chances to run in Group 1s.
“She’d done terrific since Adelaide – it seemed to make her, the trip away – and she worked really good, so we were happy to come.”
Absolutely made the most of a canny Brad Rawiller to cruise home. Rawiller settled her three horses back along the inside and while most steered away from the inside on the Heavy 10 surface, he courageously stuck hard against the inside fence.
Absolutely ($31) proved it was no disadvantage, racing to the lead around 350m out before cruising home by 3-1/2 lengths from last week’s AJC Derby winner Shamrocker ($3.50 fav) with Pinker Pinker ($8.50) completing an all-Victorian trifecta a further half-length back.
Kent said that while Absolutely hadn’t won before the Oaks, she had proven herself up with the best with four Black Type placings at her first six starts.
“I had run her in a lot of Stakes races,” Kent said when asked why she hadn’t been able to win a race previously. “But we thought she’d win her maiden nice and easy and she got beat there.
“She’s a really nice filly and it was only a question of the trip today and the ground but that was no worries in the end.”
For Rawiller, it was a great result at what has been a quiet Sydney Carnival and he was pleased to see the plan come off.
“Everyone knows Mick’s a very avid trackwalker, as far as my experience goes he’s probably the best, and I walked the track and I said to Mick, ‘I’m really happy with the inside, I don’t think that we need to get out that far’,” he recounted.
“Mick walked it and he said, ‘100 percent, you’re right, it’s just the half mile to the top of the straight you don’t want to be on the fence, but if you can just keep her on the bridle until you straighten she’ll get her chance’.
“It come off trumps and it’s just great to get the reward.”
The Oaks trifecta was the highlight for Victoria, which failed to claim another race on the nine-race card.
Victoria’s lone hope in the $2 million Emirates Doncaster Mile, the Mick Price-trained Aloha, led the field but failed to come on in the heavy conditions in the straight, finishing sixth behind the Joe Pride-trained Sacred Choice. Love Conquers All and Bold Glance filled the minor placings.
That was the first leg of a Group 1 double for Sydney hoop Tim Clark, who won the $350,000 The James Boag Galaxy (1100m) aboard the Darren Smith-trained Atomic Force.
Peter Moody’s Avenue was the best of the Victorians, finishing fifth, two spots ahead of Ortensia.