Trainer Mark Kavanagh has strengthened his hold on the Thousand Guineas with Atlantic Jewel now equal favourite for next month’s fillies feature.
Before Atlantic Jewel’s win at Moonee Valley on Saturday, Kavanagh already had a leading contender in Celebrity Girl, a $10 chance behind Atlantic Jewel and Mosheen ($8) and Hallowell Belle ($9).
Kavanagh said there was always the chance of serious challengers emerging as the spring carnival heated up but he could not be more pleased with his two three-year-olds.
“I have got two pretty good three-year-old fillies, and I don’t know where any other ones are going to be coming from, but I am pretty happy with mine,” Kavanagh said.
While Starcraft filly Celebrity Girl is set to run in Saturday’s Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield, Kavanagh is uncertain about backing up Atlantic Jewel.
“They are two impressive fillies and they will both head towards the Thousand Guineas but we will just wait see how we get there with Atlantic Jewel,” Kavanagh said.
“I don’t know whether I would be real keen to back her up in seven days for a Guineas Prelude.
“This is her first preparation whereas it is Celebrity Girl’s second so she will probably hang on a little more,” Kavanagh said referring to possibility of a campaign extension to the VRC Oaks.
Atlantic Jewel became a genuine big race contender when she followed her debut win on the synthetic track at Geelong on August 23 with an arrogant three-quarter length victory in Saturday’s Italian Sports Club Plate ((1200m).
While the race didn’t carry stakes status, Atlantic Jewel showed she had the class to go all the way as jockey Michael Rodd stood up in the irons the last 50 metres to ease her down to win by three-quarters of a length from Sharnee Rose and Florets.
Celebrity Girl is also unbeaten in two starts.
She was spelled after a debut win at Sandown in April and last week resumed at Flemington with an impressive 2-1/2 length win over Star Salute in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m).
Star Salute backed up at the Valley but was a well beaten seventh behind Atlantic Jewel who is by Fastnet Rock and is the first horse Kavanagh has trained for international racing concern Coolmore.
“Atlantic Jewel had a massive class rise (on Saturday) but has a fair bit of ability and has certainly done a good job,” Kavanagh said.
“She is a really nice style of horse with a good turn of foot off a slow pace and that is what you need at this time of the year.”
Michael Rodd was clearly impressed with Atlantic Jewel and the way she was able to come from last to win as she liked.
“All I had to was give her a little squeeze,” Rodd said.
“She has got a good turn of foot and I am sure that is going to go for while.”
The Thousand Guineas (1600m) is at Caulfield on October 12.