TRAINER Archie Alexander confirmed his star mare Wheal Leisure will be spelled with a tilt at The Championships in mind after a break-through third placing in the Group Three Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Flemington.
In a tough race that boasted the class of Bendigo Cup-winner Qewy and boom Darren Weir gelding Kiwia, Wheal Leisure was patiently ridden by Dean Yendall, who gave the four-year-old every opportunity to win the race.
The daughter of Artie Schiller finished off smartly to round out the placings, and the trainer said he could not have asked for much more from the promising galloper.
“That was very good, we’re really happy with that,” Alexander told HorseBetting.com.au trackside after the race.
The trainer gave a glowing appraisal of jockey Dean Yendall’s ride aboard his four-year-old, which placed for the first time after three attempts at Flemington.
“I don’t think Dean could have done anymore, he gave her the perfect ride.
“She’s now finished third in a group race and that was good, solid Geelong Cup form.”
It was the fourth race this preparation for Wheal Leisure, which has delivered two wins and a fifth placing to go alongside Saturday’s third placing.
Alexander said the horse will now hit the paddock ahead of a tilt at another group title, this time across the 3200m distance.
“She’ll probably be put away now,” the trainer said.
“She feels the track a little bit. Today was a Good 3, which was pretty firm. We’ll now look to the Sydney Cup in the autumn, which should be a softer track and a little bit further.
“Today though she was very good and very honest in what was a tough race.”
The group placing for Wheal Leisure further solidifies the Alexander stable’s reputation as a team on the rise.
The Ballarat-based trainer had a great period of success with Lord Fandango, which won the Benalla Cup, before taking out the Hebert Power Stakes and rounding out the first four in the Caulfield Cup.
Alexander described the feeling in the stable as “really good”.
“We’re a growing stable, and we’re starting to do really well at this level.
“It’s all a testament to a lot of hard work from a good team back at home, and it’s been a really good period.”