David Hayes has labelled Sacred Eye a star while jockey Michael Walker has watched on as his mate Damian Lane guided the Oaks-bound filly to victory in the $500,000 Caulfield Classic.
Walker had to forgo the ride on Sacred Eye on Saturday at Caulfield after because of a careless riding suspension.
By giving up his only ride, Walker finishes his suspension in time to partner Criterion in next Saturday’s Cox Plate.
Walker was still at the track to watch Lane fill in on Sacred Eye and the filly raced to a one-length win over Caulfield Guineas runner-up Lizard Island with Etymology a head away third.
Sacred Eye, the only filly in Saturday’s race, has firmed from $5.50 to $3.50 favourite for the VRC Oaks with Walker set to reunite with her.
“She’s a star and the longer she goes the better she’ll be,” Hayes said.
“It made it a bit easier watching Damian ride the horse so beautifully today. But when he peeled out at the 600 metres, three wide, I knew he thought he had them covered.
“He did a fantastic warm-up ride for Michael.”
Hayes said he was favouring send Sacred Eye straight into the 2500m Oaks although the Wakeful Stakes was still an option.
Walker said he gave Lane advice on Sacred Eye and was happy to see him win but was looking forward to being back on.
Sacred Eye was having her fourth start and registered her first stakes win, becoming the second filly in a row to win the Caulfield Classic after Fontein Ruby last year.