Mark Kavanagh has been overwhelmed by the response to Atlantic Jewel’s stunning comeback win in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The five-year-old mare remains unbeaten after her eight starts, and her dominant victory has caught the attention of the racing world. ”I’ve received hundreds of text messages and many of those were from overseas, so it’s staggering to realise the interest she has created in many parts of the world,” Kavanagh said. ”It was a very exhausting day but when I walked into the stables the next morning, she was as good as gold.”
The good news continued on Sunday night when her jockey, Michael Rodd, won the Scobie Breasley medal.
The stunning performance of Atlantic Jewel after a 17-month injury-enforced layoff reshaped betting on the Cox Plate, for which she is now a $3 favourite, and the spring plans of her rivals.
Kavanagh plans for Atlantic Jewel to make her next appearance at Moonee Valley in a fortnight. There is a choice of races, both over 1600 metres: the weight-for-age Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes or the Stocks Stakes, a group 2 affair limited to mares.
Atlantic Jewel was outstanding in the Memsie but several of the beaten brigade put up performances that suggest they will play a big role later in the spring as the distances get longer.
None might ever have enough ability to trouble Kavanagh’s super mare – at least over sprint trips or distances up to 2000m – but connections of the beaten brigade such as Green Moon, Fiorente, Super Cool and It’s A Dundeel can all take plenty of heart from their first-up performances.
Most are keen to know where Kavanagh plans to take Atlantic Jewel next, as that will, to some extent, determine their plans.
Jim Conlan, trainer of runner-up Ferlax, expressed the post-Memsie dilemma many trainers face. He had said the Caulfield race was a fork in the road for his four-year-old, which won the Australian Guineas in something of a surprise last year. He showed it was no fluke on Saturday, but Conlan is none the wiser as to what to do next.
”The fork is, we avoid her, we don’t go where she goes,” he joked.
”The Dato is what I have got planned. We know she goes to the Cox Plate. I was just rapt in his performance. He got a bad bump, but he kept going on and he’s only new really. He’s only had a handful of starts. He just ran into a champion.”
That was a view shared by Darren Weir. He prepares Puissance De Lune, which will line up in Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington this weekend. But asked what he thought of the comeback mare’s effort, he shrugged, and said: ”She’s a champion.”
Meanwhile, Melbourne Racing Club chairman Mike Symons has assured owners and trainers of spring candidates that his club’s policy of staging group 1 races as the final event on the program is not set in stone. Symons told trainers and owners before the Memsie Stakes that the MRC was prepared to be ”flexible” on its idea of feature races being held last.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.