Five-year-old mare Shalwa has led in a stable quinella for Brisbane’s premier trainer Tony Gollan with her first stakes victory in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes at Doomben.
The 1350m race for fillies and mares offered a ballot exemption to the winner into next Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap but Shalwa is not among the nominations for the Group One race.
Gollan had pinpointed the Helen Coughlan Stakes as a winnable stake race option for the mare whose previous best result at black-type level was a second in the Listed Just Now Quality over the same course and distance in December.
“Definitely never had any real thoughts about the Stradbroke with her. It probably wouldn’t be ideal anyway, she’s probably not that grade,” Gollan said.
“But this was always her sort of race to really set her for in the carnival. She loves Doomben and loves 1350 metres.
“It panned out that she was going to probably be able to control the speed outside the lead and she’s just been racing so well.
“I think she had her first start this prep in September so she’s done a great job to continue on til now.”
Ready To Prophet led Saturday’s race with $5 favourite Shalwa sitting just off her to her outside before taking over in the straight approaching the 200m under Baylee Nothdurft.
Krone ($26) was charging late but Shalwa held on to score by a neck with Sydney mare Jen Rules also closing strongly to finish another three quarters of a length away third.
Shalwa had been freshened after a close third over 1600m at Doomben four weeks earlier and Gollan said the mare, who has now won seven of her 22 starts, had been a model of consistency since he removed the blinkers from her four starts ago.
“I’m just so proud of her. She never really runs a bad race,” he said.
“She always turns up. There’s not a lot of her but she just puts herself in a winning position and really gives a good kick.”