Dulverton’s Queensland Oaks mission didn’t pan out how trainer Robert Smerdon hoped but the filly has returned to Melbourne with a stylish win at Sandown.
Freshened since finishing 26 lengths from the winner when 13th in the Group One Queensland Oaks (2400m) earlier this month, Dulverton dropped in class and distance in Wednesday’s Polytrack Handicap (1600m) and also got rain-affected conditions which are to her liking.
The result was emphatic.
After settling at the tail of the field, Craig Williams steered Dulverton ($7) between runners in the first half of the straight before the filly surged clear over the last 200m to win by 4-3/4 lengths.
“You’re always concerned coming back that much in distance and after the first 200 metres my concerns were very well confirmed when she was back last, but she’s got a good base of fitness under her and Craig was able to sustain a run from a fair way out,” Smerdon said.
“Obviously she loves the (soft) ground.”
Smerdon said he’s always considered Dulverton, who finished fifth in the VRC Oaks in the spring on a heavy track, as a filly with quality about her.
“I thought every lead-up to the Queensland Oaks was terrific and we were on track. I thought we were going well,” Smerdon said.
“The track played no good on the day and he (jockey Dwayne Dunn) stayed in to make ground, but we still thought she was disappointing.
“She came straight home and just kept ticking over. I thought if today was 2000 metres she would win but 1600 was a bit more of a query.”
Smerdon hopes Dulverton, who is raced by Qatar Bloodstock, can gain some black type and he is looking to step her back up slightly in distance.
“She could be in for a good winter,” he said.
The victory was Dulverton’s second from 10 starts and her first city success.
She defeated Miss Cooper with a half-head to Alamonteel third.