Jockey Linda Meech and staying mare Averau have continued a successful recent combination with a dominant victory in the $150,000 Bagot Handicap at Flemington.
And Averau’s summer campaign is not over yet, with her trainers now eyeing a feature Tasmanian staying double in February.
Meech has ridden Averau in her past seven starts for four wins, but Thursday’s convincing victory in the Listed 2800-metre feature was the Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison-trained mare’s biggest win.
After settling second behind bold front-runner Mujadale, Averau, who firmed from $11 to $8, made her move entering the home straight to take the lead and from there she was never headed.
The daughter of Stratum had 3-1/2 lengths to spare over Tanby ($26) with two lengths to $2.50 favourite De Little Engine in third.
De Little Engine was trying to give trainer Danny O’Brien a New Year’s Day feature double at Flemington after stablemate Decircles took out the Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m).
After consecutive wins over 2500m at Moonee Valley, Averau was narrowly beaten in Listed company last start at Werribee but Meech was confident she was on the right horse to win the Bagot.
“She has really come of age,” Meech said.
“I really wanted to ride her today. I got suspended at Bairnsdale (in December) and I think she was the only thing I was concerned about, missing the ride on her today.”
Meech’s 12-meeting ban ended a few days ago, leaving her free to partner the stayer on Thursday and she is convinced the mare will also be a force should she head to Tasmania.
Morgan confirmed the Hobart and Launceston Cups were on the radar depending on how Averau pulls up from the Bagot.
Both Cups are over 2400m and the Mick Kent-trained Victorian mare Epingle claimed the double last year.
“She’ll be a great chance down there,” Meech said.
“She makes her own luck. Even though she’s an on-pace horse she doesn’t pull. You can ride her anywhere.”
Morgan said it was an important win for Averau to claim a stakes victory for her future as a broodmare.
“She just keeps on keeping on,” Morgan said.
“She’s a very good stayer.
“We’ve always had these sort of races in mind for her. She’s definitely not a wet tracker, she likes a dry track.”