Filly takes Express path to Oaks
Elusive Express could bypass the $1 million Thousand Guineas so as to better prepare for a shot at the Kennedy Oaks following her strong finish to win the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Co-trainer Sam Freedman said the Jakkalberry filly could instead run next in the G3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 16 or join her well-fancied stablemate Zouzarella in the G1 Guineas three days earlier.
"She's a filly that should keep getting better as we step her out in trip so we'll give the Thousand Guineas a thought but a race like the Ethereal might suit her a bit better," said Freedman, who trains in partnership with his father Anthony.
"I think she's got the constitution to cop a prep to head towards an Oaks (2500m) so we'll give that thought.
"Andy Williams and Brad Taylor sourced this filly from New Zealand. I was querying her attitude behind the gates and she has given us a bit of grief, but we've always thought she would get out to a bit of a trip.
"We did a DNA test on her which said that she'd probably be suited out to 2000 metres. We may look to head that way, but it is her first preparation and we're mindful of looking after for the autumn."
Ridden by Jye McNeil, Elusive Express ($3.80 fav) made the most of her inside barrier to take a more prominent role, which allowed her to run down Snitzel filly Yearning ($7) late.
On the line, she held a three-quarters-of-a-length advantage, with Glint Of Hope ($9) a further two-and-a-quarter lengths away in third.
McNeil said: "I think a big factor was the nice, spacious track here at Flemington. I had to unbalance her a bit at the top of the straight just to obtain that run. She had to pick herself up and really finish well.
"I thought initially that Yearning on the inside was going to take a little bit of running down and be competitive, but she was very strong late."
If she does take the Oaks path, Elusive Express may end up meeting Race 2 winner El Patroness in the November G1 at Flemington after that filly beat the boys in the Listed Super Impose Stakes earlier in the day.
Elusive Express (outside) defeating Yearning in the Edward Manifold (Image: Racing Photos)