Champion jockey Damien Oliver was taken by the Moonee Valley win of Commanding Jewel
Commanding Jewel made a massive first impression on Damien Oliver today at Moonee Valley with the Hall of Fame hoop offering a favourable comparison with her superstar older three-quarter sister Atlantic Jewel.
Oliver had his first ride aboard the Leon Corstens-trained three-year-old in the $80,000 Mitchelton Wines Plate (1200m), which the daughter of Commands won comfortably.
Oliver is well-placed to compare the two females, having ridden Atlantic Jewel to victory at Caulfield at her third start in a race, and he said Commanding Jewel was more advanced mentally at the same age.
“She’s probably a little bit more switched on at the same time because, Atlantic Jewel, she looked around and did a bit wrong,” Oliver said.
“The thing about Atlantic Jewel was, she kept improving, whereas this filly pretty much does it right now.”
Commanding Jewel followed in her famous sister’s footsteps when she progressed off a country maiden win on debut to score a Moonee Valley success at her second start.
After jumping with them, Oliver settled behind the leader before edging around heels at the 400m and quickly opened a race-winning buffer.
The $1.85 favourite, who won at Swan Hill on debut, was eased down over the concluding stages to score by a length from the fast-finishing Flying Hostess ($12) with Mama’s Choice ($10) 1-3/4 lengths away third.
“She settled nicely in behind them and she showed a great turn of foot,” Oliver said. “She was going well enough to ease her way out (on the turn), she quickened up nicely and had control of the race on the turn and she won without being tested too much.”
The win didn’t escape the attention of the TAB, which promoted Commanding Jewel from joint second favouritism in the Thousand Guineas to outright favouritism at $6. She eased out to $7 after Nechita won the Silver Shadow Stakes with the Sydneysider the new $4 favourite.
Corstens confirmed after the race that the $500,000 Group 1 event, to be run at Caulfield on 17 October, was Commanding Jewel’s spring target.
“I’d like to think that she will be a Thousand Guineas chance because that would really enhance her pedigree,” he said.
“I’m hoping she’ll get the mile and she looks like she should because she’s a very athletic type of filly.”
By Brad Bishop