The Tasmanian Oaks is an immediate target for lightly raced filly Wheal Leisure after a hard-fought win at Moonee Valley.
Giving Michael Dee his first city win as a senior rider, Wheal Leisure made a long run around the field in Saturday’s Metcash Handicap (2000m) and fought off the challenge from Presscott.
Wheal Leisure ($5) scored by 1-1/4 lengths over Presscott ($12) with Blue Ocean ($7.50) third.
Trainer Archie Alexander said next month’s Listed Tasmanian Oaks (2100m) had been the target for Wheal Leisure since she won her maiden at Terang early last month before a fifth at Flemington.
“I was a bit worried about her because she had to work so hard from a long way out today and I thought maybe she was going to flatten,” Alexander said.
“I’d say she’s pretty good. She’s pretty tough to stay on like that.
“We’ve always liked her, we just knew we had to give her time and she’s come good.”
He is yet to decide whether to give the filly another start before the Tasmanian Oaks on February 19.
“She’s very clean winded and doesn’t need a lot of racing,” Alexander said.
“I think she’ll get 2400 metres. Look how hard she had to work today and she was only in her third start.”
Dee outrode his claim on December 9 last year with a winning treble at Moonee Valley, which were his most recent city wins.
He came out of his apprenticeship at the end of last month.
“I wasn’t worrying about it too much because I was still riding winners in the bush and that,” he said.
“It was only a matter of time.”