Pride Of Jenni claims Group 1 VRC Champions Mile

Pride Of Jenni ridden by Declan Bates wins the Champions Mile at Flemington. (Photo by Pat Scala/Racing Photos)

Pride Of Jenni (+1200) took luck out the equation and led at a breakneck tempo in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes seven days ago, and with Declan Bates on board again, the same tactics were adopted in the Group 1 VRC Champions Mile to record the same result.

Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained mare loves to lead and run the race at a quick speed and considering that the Flemington track is playing favourable to leaders, she was always going to be hard to run down, no matter the class of opposition.

From the moment the field came out until the horses left the mounting yard, all of the attention was on the Cox Plate runners, as Fangirl (+140), Mr Brightside (+200) and Alligator Blood (+320) dominated the betting.

However, the Champions Mile was near on a one act affair as Bates took the eventual winner to the front and led the field by three lengths midway through the race, with Alligator Blood sitting in second and tasked with the job to bring the field up to the tearaway leader.

Pride Of Jenni led into the home straight with four lengths on the rest of the field and even though Mr Brightside and Fangirl took a lot of ground of the leader, she held on to claim her second Group 1 victory in the space of a week.

2023 Champions Mile Replay – Pride Of Jenni | T: Ciaron Maher & David Eustace | J: Declan Bates

Ciaron Maher was visibly emotional after the win in the Champions Mile.

“Unbelievable. I think it is the combination of a lot of things,” Maher said.

“She’s an older mare now and they need to be very seasoned to race in that style that she does.

“She’s come up very well. The team have done a great job.

“Tony and Lyn Ottobre, they put so much in and to win one on Saturday, I thought we’d have a throw at the stumps, but she’s run as good or better.

“Dec Bates, just spot on. He really suits her.

“Hard to get someone to peel off 11s the whole way in a mile race. She was phenomenal.

“He said, ‘I suppose we’ll adopt the same tactics’ and I said I suppose you will.

“To do it twice in a week, it takes a lot out of them and mares when they get in form.

“It is so good to watch a horse race like that.”

Declan Bates showed a lot of emotion as the winner crossed the line and he was equally emotional when speaking post-race.

“The love for this horse. She’s proven now that it wasn’t a fluke last week and she’s a champion, I believe,” Bates said of Pride Of Jenni.

“Few people have said to me that I stole it last week and it is a discredit to her to say that I stole it because I think I’m happy with how I executed the tactics but they are tactics that you can’t employ on many horses.

“I think we are made for each other.

“I just love this mare so much. She proved its no fluke.

“She’s a champion now, especially in my eyes.

“She relaxed through the first half which allowed me to wind her up a long way out and she was able to sustain it.

“I had a look at the screen at the top of the straight and I knew I had a nice enough gap. I needed that gap in order to win and she’s so tough.

“She’s got such an engine and I love her.”

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