'Puppet' Chris Alford and Miss Graceland come away for an impressive Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks win at Melton.
Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin completed the Victorian three-year-old classic double last night at Tabcorp Park Melton with Miss Graceland powering home in the Nevele R Stud Victoria Oaks Final.
Having won the Victoria Derby in February with Our Little General, the Smythes Creek power partnership’s stake winnings for the season surpassed the million-dollar mark courtesy of last night’s success with their star filly. It is the sixth season in a row – and seventh time overall – Stewart has hit seven figures in stakes.
Miss Graceland, the headline act among a Stewart winning treble last night, is by Rocknroll Hanover out of Amarillen. She cleared out for a 10.5-metre win over race favourite Petacular, with Sheza Sharpie 18m behind the winner in third place.
“The filly really deserved to get a good win and we’re rapt,” Tonkin said.
“She’s on the way up. She had a couple of easy kills in the country and then last week she put the score on the board and this week she’s really come on.”
From barrier seven, driver Chris Alford steered Miss Graceland into the running line back in the field early and was soon trailing Petacular.
With about a mile to run Alford made his move three-wide, Petacular’s Michael Stanley tagging the second-favourite to move into the action. Petacular got to the breeze for the last lap, with Miss Graceland again trailing the race favourite one-one.
At the home bend Stanley and Petacular had put the leaders away and raced to the front. Shezallapples was the first horse beaten after going too hard early.
Miss Graceland got to the outside and the race became almost a carbon copy of the heat a week prior but with one fairly important difference: The placings were reversed.
This time Miss Graceland got the better of a typically gutsy Petacular, careering clear over the concluding stages.
RE-LIVE MISS GRACELAND'S NEVELE R STUD VICTORIA OAKS TRIUMPH
“The Vicbred is about six weeks away. She’ll have a quiet week then she’ll tick along going towards that,” Tonkin said when asked about plans for Miss Graceland.
Stewart is now on 98 winners for the season from 280 starts.
Miss Graceland's owner, Akram Younan, dedicated the win to his filly's breeders, Tasmanian stalwarts the late Rick Hinds and his wife, Naomi.
“Rick passed away and this win was in honour of him and his wife, Naomi,” Younan said.
Younan, who also races thoroughbreds, said he was “proud” of Miss Graceland and very thankful for the training performance of the Stewart camp and Alford’s drive.
OAKS FINISHING ORDER
1st - Miss Graceland: Brilliant drive and was strong at the line. She's on the up.
2nd - Petacular: Typically brave. She's destined to draw a good barrier in a G1 soon!
3rd - Sheza Sharpie: Almost last at the furlong, went widest & charged late. Nice run!
4th - Flying Moth: Ripper filly. Very consistent & was another big run here.
5th - Angel In White: Was right in the race for 3rd at any old odds. Finished off well enough.
6th - Keyang Secret: Had to burn early & lost momentum before turn behind tiring leader. Good run.
7th - Sanna Cruza: Hit line hard and ran into some dead ends. Forgive.
8th - Our Lady Madonna: Came from last. She'll improve.
9th - Beach Garden: Didn't hit the line as hard as some thought she would.
10th - Shezallapples: Used up petrol early. Powering along in front didn't seem her go.
11th - Nomi Malone: Probably just a bit outclassed against some of these.
12th - Anybeach Anywhere: Pulled hard in the run, which didn't help.
Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)
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