Champion jockey produces a pearler on gem of a filly

6 min read
A jockey who’s been at the top of his profession for decades showed his class at Morphettville to enable a rising star to display her true worth with Group 1 glory the favoured duo’s reward in the Schweppes Australasian Oaks.

Damien Oliver had to use all his skills and guile to get Princess Jenni (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) into clear air when it mattered most and the David Brideoake-trained 3-year-old had the quality to take her chance when it presented itself.

The Victorian-based jockey crowned a glorious day when he combined with the Garry Frazer-trained Spright (Hinchinbrook) a race later to win the G1 TAB Robert Sangster Classic.

Oliver and Princess Jenni enjoyed a good run to the turn behind the leading pack, but then things threatened to get messy with traffic problems. The wise head of Oliver, however, was to the fore and he was able to find the fast lane home.

“I was a bit hemmed in and I was able to get back to the inside,” Oliver said. “She prevailed and was too strong in the end.

“Things weren’t happening for us and we were walled in and so I looked back to the inside.” – Damien Oliver.

“I went the percentage way and edged into the clear. Things weren’t happening for us and we were walled in and so I looked back to the inside.”

Princess Jenni took full advantage where she got into the open and lengthened stride impressively to complete a hat-trick of wins.

“She’s very good and I had the chance to duck back in. In her last couple of runs when the chips have been down she’s answered the challenge,” Oliver said.

“She’s a smart filly in great form and she showed how good she is.”

“In her last couple of runs when the chips have been down she’s answered the challenge.” - Damien Oliver.

Princess Jenni finished runner-up at her Pakenham debut in the spring and then broke her maiden at Geelong before Brideoake sent her for a break.

She finished seventh when resuming in the G2 Kewney S. at Flemington before winning the G3 Alexandra S. at Moonee Valley and added an open handicap at Caulfield to set up her Oaks bid.

Princess Jenni is raced by Tony Ottobre and his family and is named after his daughter Jenni, who tragically passed away in 2015.

Owners Lynn and Tony Ottobre

Bred by the Sunlight Trust, she was purchased out of Phoenix Park’s Premier draft at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale for NZ$120,000.

“When you put Olly on he produces something special most of the time.” – Alex Woodhams.

She is a daughter of multiple winner Glitzabeel (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and the family of the G3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner Beauty Watch (Belong To Me {USA}), who finished third in the G1 Australasian Oaks of her year.

Brideoake’s foreman Alex Woodhams paid tribute to the performance of Oliver.

“When you put Olly on he produces something special most of the time,” he said.

“He got the job done. Every run this filly has had since her maiden win has been sharp and showed a serious turn of foot.”

“Every run this filly has had since her maiden win has been sharp and showed a serious turn of foot.” – Alex Woodhams.

The Oaks quinella emphasised the extraordinary breeding influence of Zabeel (NZ) with the runner-up Mirette (Unencumbered) also a grand-daughter of Cambridge Stud’s late, great stallion.

Princess Jenni as a yearling

Trained by Archie Alexander, Mirette sat on the quarters of the front-runner Amangiri (All Too Hard) to the turn and when the leader caved in she assumed control and was brave to the post to take second money.

House Of Cartier (NZ) (Alamosa {NZ}) came home strongly from midfield to finish third ahead of Qafila (Not A Single Doubt), who did well to come from last to be next home.

Youth trumps experience

Another 3-year-old in Music Bay (Choisir) played a starring role on the Morphettville undercard when she upstaged her older rivals in the G2 Hughes Limousine Queen of the South S.

Trainer Phillip Stokes’ plan was perfectly executed by his youthful representative, who successfully mastered the 1600 metre trip for the first time. She may have only just done that, but it was a case of mission possible.

She had been tried at the distance twice in the spring in the G1 Thousand Guineas at Caulfield and in the G2 Fillies’ Classic at Moonee Valley and was unplaced on each occasions.

“She travelled over a treat and her work on Monday was great, she was as fit as we could get her.” – Phillip Stokes.

However, a fourth placing in an open handicap at Caulfield convinced Stokes to give Music Bay another chance and she didn’t let him down.

“She’s really strengthened up in every aspect,” he said. “She travelled over a treat and her work on Monday was great, she was as fit as we could get her.”

Music Bay was quickly into stride under Craig Williams and travelled comfortably outside the leader to the turn.

She was then slipped more rein and the filly strode to the front 200 metres from home and had enough in reserve to post the third win of her 11-start career.

“She really deserved that and Craig gave her a lovely ride,” Stokes said. “She’s only just run the mile out, but it doesn’t matter, she got the money. She was down in the weights and was too good.”

“She’s only just run the mile out, but it doesn’t matter, she got the money.” – Phillip Stokes.

Snogging (I Am Invincible) finished powerfully to take the runner-up cheque ahead of Clearly (I Am Invincible) with another 3-year-old Tahitian Dancer (Dawn Approach {Ire}) boxing on for fourth.

Music Bay is a daughter of Illicitly (Kaapstad {NZ}), who won three minor races in New Zealand, and she is a half-sister to the G1 Brisbane Cup winner Piachay (Danasinga), who also finished second in the G1 Metropolitan, and the G3 Eclipse S. winner Utility (Flying Spur).

The second dam Eastern Joy (NZ) (Three Legs {GB}) won the G1 Easter H. with the G1 Bayer Classic winner Russian Pearl (NZ) (Soviet Star {USA}) also a member of this family.