Oaks path possible for promising filly

Elusive Express
Elusive Express will contest the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday. Photo: Scott Barbour (Racing Photos)

Jakkalberry is developing a knack for leaving quality three-year-olds.

The ill-fated Novara Park stallion enjoyed Classic success last season through the deeds of three-time Derby hero Explosive Jack, and he could have a quality filly on his hands this year in the form of Elusive Express.

The Anthony and Sam Freedman-trained filly won on debut as a late two-year-old before running a game second over 1300m first-up at Bendigo earlier this month.

She is now set to have her first tilt at stakes company at Caulfield on Saturday where she will contest the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m).

“We have given her plenty of time since she has come over and she just continues to improve as we get further into the preparation,” Freedman Racing Manager Brad Taylor said.

“She was a good winner on debut as a two-year-old and her run the other day was really good on a testing track. She was just beaten by a tough old gelding (Yeldarb) that got the dream run up the inside.

“She has made good improvement off that and the step-up to 1400m suits. She has just got to overcome a slightly awkward barrier of 10, but she is pretty versatile.”

While hopeful of a bold showing this weekend, Taylor expects her to improve over further ground, with the stable having the Group 1 VRC Oaks (2500m) as a potential target for their filly.

“By Jakkalberry she is going to get over further, we will just see how far we get,” Taylor said.

“She could go to the Manifold (Group 2, 1600m) through to the Ethereal (Group 3, 2000m) and onto the Oaks. But we will be guided by what she does tomorrow.

“It doesn’t look a vintage year of three-year-old fillies. It is pretty wide open so far, so it is probably the right year to have a crack at these races.

“It is a Group Two race, which is all important for these fillies going forward.”

Taylor scouted the filly out of the New Zealand trials, having been impressed with her initial 800m trial at Te Aroha last December for trainer Clinton Isdale, and again in her runner-up effort behind Funny Girl in an 800m heat at Rotorua in March.

“Between myself and Andy Williams we bought her off that Rotorua trial and I sold her amongst stable clients,” Taylor said.

“I liked her first trial but just waited and she ran second to Funny Girl that day and she is in a nice race over 1200m (Group 3 Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings) tomorrow.

“We identified her nice and early for a filly who is going to get over ground.

“The dream with these fillies is a Thousand Guineas or an Oaks, and she is on that path, we can only dream.”

Breeder, Novara Park Principal Luigi Muollo, has retained a share in Elusive Express and Taylor said he could be in for another exciting season courtesy of the filly.

“Luigi is still in the ownership, so it is good to have him part of the stable,” Taylor said.

“He breeds plenty of horses and he has had plenty of success over here with the likes of Explosive Jack, Signora Nera, and Only Words.

“Hopefully we can add another Group One for him and he can enjoy being part of this filly.”

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