Just months after winning her first Group 1 race, Annabel Neasham is celebrating another top-tier victory after Mo’unga took out the Winx Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
The son of Savabeel won the Rosehill Guineas in March, while Zaaki added to the English trainer’s Group 1 tally with a dominant display in the Doomben Cup in May.
After jumping from barrier 12 under Tommy Berry, Mo’unga tracked race favourite Verry Elleegant in the three-wide line everywhere she went and was able to get the head down when it mattered in a blanket finish.
“I think he looked the winner a long, long way out,” Neasham said on Sky Racing.
“When he came up outside Verry Elleegant, I knew he was going to be in for a tough battle because she is such a fighter as well.
“He’s improved a hell of a lot from three to four; I was really confident looking at him in the parade ring today, I just thought he looked quite fit.
“It’s a massive ‘well done’ to the team. Obviously we are doing it a little bit tough out at Warwick Farm.”
While the margin was only small, Mo’unga did it in very tough fashion while fending off challenges from Verry Elleegant, She’s Ideel and the eye-catching Japanese import Keiai Nautique.
Neasham has no plans set in stone for her star four-year-old just yet, but the Epsom Handicap, Golden Eagle and Cox Plate look to be potential targets.
“He’s in for a bright prep,” she said.
“I don’t know where we go now, but I think we are going to have a fun spring.”
There was plenty of drama in the finish of the Winx Stakes, with Brandenburg’s fall inside the final 100m putting jockey Rachel King out of action for the remainder of the meeting.
The fall came just two races after Brenton Avdulla was dislodged from Xtremetime in the Silver Shadow.
Mo’unga is now the $5 favourite for the Epsom, which will be run on October 2 over 1600m.