Real Love dispelled any doubts about her ability to cope with a long campaign with a record-breaking win in the Group III JRA Cup (2000m) at Doomben.
Real Love. Photo: Darryl Sherer
Real Love, the $2.60 favourite, held off the unlucky Sir John Hawkwood ($4.20) to win by three-quarters of a length. Volkhere ($16) was a long head away in third.
In the process, the mare set a course record on Saturday when she clocked 2.00.96, shaving 0.74 seconds off the previous mark set by Streama in the 2014 Doomben Cup.
Real Love has endured a campaign that started in October but Jeremy Rogers, travelling foreman for trainer Darren Weir, was pleasantly surprised when he saw her parading before the Cup.
“She’s done so well since she’s been in Queensland I was actually a touch worried out the back when she was jig-jogging in the pre-race parade,” Rogers said.
“With a stayer you don’t really want them up on their toes but she was just feeling so well.”
Rogers said Real Love would have her next start in the Group III Premier’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben on May 28.
“All going well after the Premier’s Cup she’ll then go on to the Brisbane Cup which is our main goal with her,” he said.
Jockey Brad Rawiller said Real Love coped easily with her first hit-out in the clock-wise racing direction.
“I rode her quiet early on because I just wanted to make sure she got around the turns without any problems,” he said.
“But she relaxed better than I thought she would and she’s such a genuine mare so all credit to her.”
Jockey Blake Spriggs had a hard-luck tale from Sir John Hawkwood’s placing.
“I was able to push Real Love out three and four wide but then he ran up behind a few other horses in the straight and got out too late,” he said.
Blake Shinn said fourth placegetter Junoob will be better suited when he steps up to 2400m in the Group II Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm on June 11.