Trevor Andrews’ classy filly Private Dancer took an important first towards the WA Oaks when she completed a top return to racing at Ascot on Saturday.
Despite racing first-up since the WA Guineas in November and lumping top weight of 59kg, Private Dancer proved too strong in the Owners Only-Supporting WA Racehorse Owners Handicap (1400m).
Giving Jarrad Noske the second leg of a race to race double, Private Dancer charged home from seventh on the turn and defeated Arctic Stream by a long neck. Miracle Man was close up in third place.
Private Dancer, a $100,000 buy from the 2016 Perth Magic Million yearling sale, underlined her class last campaign when she ran a nose second to Art Series in the Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m).
She has now won three races and been placed once from nine starts, boosting her stake earnings to just beyond $100,000.
A delighted Andrews lavished praise on Private Dancer’s first-up win and said the daughter of Oratorio would only improve.
“Full credit to the filly because I hadn’t trained her too much, obviously wanting to peak her at the right time,” Andrews said.
“She hasn’t had a lot of serious gallops, but Jarrad gave her a good ride and tracked into the race nicely.
“I expect her to improve a lot from that.”
Arctic Stream suffered his first loss, but lost no admirers in defeat. The Ross Price-trained galloper hadn’t raced since winning his opening two races at Bunbury last November.
Miracle Man also attacked the line strongly and looks set for a fruitful campaign ahead.
Meanwhile trainer Simon Miller’s hot form continued when his consistent Saxon gelding Oliver’s Travels rebounded to score a determined win in the Amelia Park Handicap.
Oliver’s Travels, who started the $2.70 favourite, won consecutive races in January, but had his colours lowered at Pinjarra last week when he pulled hard in running and finished third to Eleven Seconds over 1600m.
However, relishing a drop back to 1400m and with good speed in front, the four-year-old struck back hard, staving off a strong challenge from Prize Catch to score by a long-head. Max Almighty, who firmed in betting from $8 to $6.50, was close up in third place.
Veuve De Vega compounded to last, failing to beat a runner home, after bursting out of the gates and leading for Aaron Mitchell.
Oliver’s Travels, who is being aimed at Kalgoorlie’s major sprint race, the Listed Hannan’s Handicap (1400m) in September, has now won six races and been placed on five occasions from 13 starts.
“This race suited him with the pace on,” said stable representative, Kelly Kinninmont.
“Simon (Miller) thinks he doesn’t get the mile, but the 1400m seems ideal at this stage.”
Oliver’s Travels, who booted stake earnings to $202, 275, gave returning jockey Jarrad Noske the first leg of a running double
The top rider, resuming from a month’s suspension, had Oliver’s Travels tracking the leader before reaching the lead on straightening.
“It was good to get a drag along behind the leader,” Noske said.
“When he first hit the front he switched off, but he knows how to fight hard.”