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Exhilarates headlines a strong hand of horses for Godolphin at Moonee Valley

In its short history, the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes at The Valley has already proven a springboard to Group One success for a couple of high profile fillies.

And connections of a number of fillies will be hoping this year’s edition can do likewise.

In four runnings of the Atlantic Jewel, two of the race’s winners, Stay With Me (2015) and Shoals (2017), have gone on to win a Group One race later that spring.

Saturday’s Atlantic Jewel (1200m) for three-year-old fillies has a field of nine headlined by Godolphin-owned Exhilarates, last season’s Magic Millions Classic winner who resumed as a three-year-old with a stunning win in the Group Three Quezette Stakes last month.

She is the $2.25 favourite and is joined in the race by her James Cummings-trained stablemate Pin Sec ($8.50) third to Exhilarates in the Quezette.

The pair galloped together at the course on Tuesday.

“Exhilarates was outstanding first-up at Caulfield and she had a gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday that suggested she’s held her form,” Cummings said.

“Pin Sec worked to the line well behind Exhilarates (Quezettte) and should really appreciate getting to 1200 metres.

“She’s at something of a crossroads. What she does on Saturday could determine what path she takes, but at this stage I’d say it could be the Jim Moloney Stakes in two weeks.”

The Greg Eurell-trained Sassy Salitage is second favourite behind Exhilarates and she will be given her chance to head to the 2019 Thousand Guineas if she can remain unbeaten in her third start on Saturday.

Exhilarates and Pin Sec are part of a strong representation for Cummings on Saturday’s program, with Group One winner Best Of Days on the second line of betting for the Group Two Feehan Stakes (1600m) while progressive gelding Deprive chases his sixth-straight win in the Listed Chandler Macleod Stakes (1200m).

Deprive won the Group Three Show County Quality in Sydney by the barest of margins at his most recent start and another strong performance on Saturday would set him up for a crack at the Group One Sir Rupert Clarke (1400m) at Caulfield two weeks later.

“He keeps on meeting capable sprinters and performing well against them,” Cummings said.

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