Racing needs superstars and we saw one at Caulfield on Saturday when supremely talented mare Atlantic Jewel (5m Fastnet Rock x Regard, by Zabeel) returned from a 70 week layoff to score a stunning victory in the Group I MRC Memsie Stakes.
“How many horses win first up over 1400 metres after 16 months off? Not many,” said winning rider Michael Rodd when he returned to scale.
The successful return is a credit to Mark Kavanagh and his staff, who turned the mare out in sensational order for this weight-for-age contest that featured a star studded field of heavy hitters.
She begun fast and cruised up to sit third before surging to the lead out wide at the top of the straight.
In a twinkling the race was over as she changed gear and bid the field farewell, eased up on the line to win by more than two lengths with ears pricked over Australian Guineas winner Ferlax with Australian Cup winner Super Cool (4g Fastnet Rock x Queen Mohter, by Kingmambo), another son of Fastnet Rock, an encouraging third.
TVN commentator Jason Richardson was as bedazzled by the win as the rest of us, but struggled to get much response initially from Mark Kavanagh who was lost for words.
He declared her performance ‘unbelievable’, with Kavanagh agreeing.
“I reckon she is,” he said, before later adding. “We have plenty of options and we’ll just enjoy the moment for the time being.
“She’s got so much improvement from today, it’s frightening.”
Michael Rodd has partnered Atlantic Jewel in five of her previous seven wins and was thrilled with her effort.
“We know how good she is and the only way they were going to beat her was bad luck or a bad ride,” he said.
“She lets down so quick and went past them so easy. I sat up on her at the finish, so she turned off the afterburners and cruised over the line.”
A $320,000 purchase for Demi O’Byrne from the Vinery Stud draft at the 2010 Magic Millions Yearling Sale, Atlantic Jewel runs in the Coolmore colours for a syndicate of owners and has won all eight starts to date earning $1.1 million.
The Memsie was her third Group I victory and sits aside her earlier triumphs in the Group I MRC Thousand Guineas and ATC All Aged Stakes.
Bred by Greg Perry and foaled down at Vinery, Atlantic Jewel is the first living foal of the ill-fated Zabeel mare Regard, a grand-daughter of Group I Cheveley Park Stakes winner Pass the Peace.
Her win capped a great day for Fastnet Rock, who feature earlier at Caulfield when Fast ‘n’ Rocking scored an impressive win in the Group III MRC McNeil Stakes.