Lightly-raced filly Express Power will be given the chance to race herself into Australian Oaks contention following her last-to-first win at Canterbury on Wednesday.
While the leap from midweek company to a Group One is a big jump it is not without precedent, especially when it comes to three-year-old fillies.
Trainer Guy Walter has twice taken fillies from midweek wins at Canterbury to Australian Oaks victories in just a few starts, something he achieved with both Republic Lass (2002) and Wild Iris (2004).
This time it is trainer Kris Lees who hopes to orchestrate the feat.
The Lees-trained Express Power came from the rear to claim Wednesday’s Australian Turf Club Handicap (1550m), defeating Excited Prince who had handy form behind Saturday’s Rosehill Guineas contender Twisted Emotions.
While Excited Prince didn’t get clear until halfway up the straight, Express Power had an unimpeded run down the outside but the result was no fluke.
“I think she’ll get further the way she relaxes and gets to the line,” Lees said.
“Small fish are sweet but at this time of year with a three-year-old filly, whether we test her in something a little bit better we’ll wait and see.”
Lees nominated the Group Three Adrian Knox Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 13 as the likely target for Express Power.
If she measures up in that she will back up in the Oaks (2400m) seven days later.
“The Adrian Knox is two weeks from Saturday so timing-wise it works out well,” he said.
“She’s in the noms for the Oaks so if she runs well next start then why not?”
Just four days after claiming the Group One Canterbury Stakes with Pierro, the trainer-jockey combination of Gai Waterhouse and Jim Cassidy were again celebrating a win, this time with two-year-old Divine Calling.
The youngster scored a tough 1100m victory on Wednesday, a win made all the more special because he is part-owned by Waterhouse’s daughter Kate and daughter-in-law Hoda who is married to the leading trainer’s bookmaking son Tom.
Waterhouse landed a double when Tommy Berry guided Hippopus to victory in the TAB.com.au Handicap (1900m) to earn himself a shot at the Tulloch Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on April 6.