Trainer Mark Kavanagh unearthed another top spring filly when Miss Stellabelle stormed home from last to land the Group Three Champagne Stakes at Moonee Valley.
Kavanagh already has leading Thousand Guineas hopes Atlantic Jewel, who is unbeaten, and Celebrity Girl who will line up in Sunday’s Group Two Edward Manifold Stakes, but can now confidently plan with his new rising star.
Damien Oliver won on Miss Stellabelle last start when she was heavily backed at Bendigo and had to convince Kavanagh to let him ride her for luck from back in the field in Friday night’s 1200m feature.
“I said to him I don’t think they can make any ground tonight and that you better go forward but he said he didn’t want to,” Kavanagh said.
“It was a waste of time telling him anything but he obviously knows more than me and he rode her a treat.”
Oliver stuck to the rails most of the way on Miss Stellabelle to get a good run through the field to score by 1-1/2 lengths from Platelet with Miss Zoom four lengths away third.
Favoured runners Emerald Downs and Satin Shoes were among the first horses beaten and finished fourth and seventh respectively.
Miss Stellabelle has won two of four starts and has always shown promise.
She finished fourth in the Listed Dequetteville Stakes in May and was third at Caulfield at her race debut.
Miss Stellabelle impressed Kavanagh with the way she handled the steep class rise.
“She’s jumped from a maiden to a Group Three and only good horses do that,” Kavanagh said.
But he said he wasn’t planning an ambitious spring campaign for her.
“We won’t overdo her,” Kavanagh said.
“We will make sure there is certainly plenty left in the tank for the autumn.”
Oliver said Miss Stellabelle had the potential to be a good class filly up to 1600 metres.