Commanding Jewel will get another invaluable look at Moonee Valley in the Stocks Stakes as her connections dream of Cox Plate glory.
The Group One winner has impressed in her two starts back from almost a year on the sidelines, winning the Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes last Saturday week at Flemington for the second time.
Sunday’s Group One Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield was the original plan with Commanding Jewel but co-trainers Leon Corstens and his son Troy decided to change tack and instead run in Friday night’s Group Two Stock Stakes for mares.
“Joe Agresta rode her in a gallop (on Monday morning) and he was ecstatic with her work. It’s full steam ahead,” Troy Corstens said.
Running in the Stocks Stakes over 1600m at Moonee Valley opens the option to go to the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) 15 days later ahead of a planned Cox Plate start.
Corstens said it was highly likely the mare would run in the Caulfield Stakes instead of the Toorak Handicap (1600m) on the same day.
“That way we’ll get to see how she handles the 2000 metres in the Caulfield Stakes, rather than finding out for the first time in a Cox Plate,” Corstens said.
“If she didn’t get the 2000, or wasn’t happy in that, we could rethink and go back to the Myer Classic if we need.”
Commanding Jewel won at Moonee Valley in her second start in August 2012, while her only other start at the track was a sixth in the Carlyon Stakes over 1000m in August last year in her first start for 44 weeks.
The five-year-old daughter of Commands sat three wide in the Let’s Elope Stakes last start but showed her class in beating a good field of mares.
The Stocks Stakes nominations include Group One winner Dear Demi, Launceston and Hobart Cup winner Epingle, Group Two winner Solicit and Sunline Stakes winner Text’n Hurley.
Damien Oliver retains the ride on Commanding Jewel and he will also partner stablemate Awesome Rock in Sunday’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield.
Awesome Rock finished third first-up in the McNeil Stakes before his fourth in the Group Two Danehill Stakes at Flemington.
“He’s a lot fitter than he was second-up,” Corstens said.
“He probably needed those first two runs and he’ll go into the Guineas Prelude spot on.”