Commanding Jewel returned to winning form with a convincing performance to take out the Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Having taken benefit out of her first-up run from an injury-enforced spell, Commanding Jewel ($9) settled midfield in the 1400m Group Two event for mares before sprinting to the front in the straight.
She defeated the Chris Waller-trained Catkins ($10) by a half length with the same margin to A Time For Julia, the $8 favourite.
Trainer Leon Corstens was relieved to get the three-quarter sister to Atlantic Jewel back in the winner’s circle.
“I’ve been in racing for quite some time and she’s a very good horse,” Corstens said.
“I think it’s a relief more than anything. People expect a lot of the horse and myself and it’s great that we got there.”
Commanding Jewel won last year’s Group One Thousand Guineas (1600m) but missed the autumn.
She finished sixth in her comeback race in the Carlyon Stakes over 1000m but was better suited up in distance on Saturday.
Corstens said he would wait and see where he heads next with the four-year-old but he has a Group One target in sight next month.
“I’d like to head towards the Toorak and we’ll see how we go from there,” Corstens said.
Ben Melham was having his first ride on Commanding Jewel and was impressed by the way the daughter of Commands sprinted when he asked her for an effort.
“She travelled up really well and produced a good turn of foot like the class horse that she is,” Melham said.