Powerful New Zealand-bred filly has the $150,000 Gannon’s WA Oaks at Gloucester Park next Friday night at her mercy, according to reinsman Shannon Suvaljko.
Suvaljko issued a chilling warning to the Christian Cullen filly’s rivals when he declared that she was probably the best horse he has driven.
“She has gone to the line charging, with the plugs in,” he said after driving her to a runaway victory in the Slater Gartrell Money Magnet WA Oaks Prelude at Gloucester Park on Friday night. “So, look out next week. A good barrier in the final always helps, but she looks like she’s got the better of them (her rivals) and I think she will just keep getting better.
“She’s all class and I knew that they would hold her out tonight. That wasn’t a worry because we wanted to give her a good (solid) run tonight in preparation for the 2536m final next week.”
Libertybelle Midfrew, trained by Mike Reed, has not been extended in winning at all four of her starts in Western Australia and is certain to be a short-priced favourite in the final of the Oaks.
She was favourite at 5/1 on in Friday night’s 2130m prelude in which she started from the No. 3 barrier on the front line. Polemarker Maddy White led for the first 150m before Colin Brown sent Jungle Jewel, second favourite at 10/1 from barrier two, to the lead.
After a fast lead time of 36.5sec., Jungle Jewel went through the first 400m section of the final mile in a comfortable 31.1sec. Then the tempo increased and the final quarters went by in 29.3sec., 28.1sec. and 28.6sec., with Libertybelle Midfrew rating 1.56.1. This was a track record for the distance by a three-year-old filly, breaking the 1.56.8 rated by Millwood Meg in June 2010 and Korobeit Angel in May 2013.
Libertybelle Midfrew exploded past Jungle Genie at the 600m mark and she quickly opened up a two length lead before coasting to victory by just over five lengths from 14/1 third fancy Dontdoubtme, who was eighth at the bell and impressed with her sparkling late burst of speed. Maddy White (201) trailed the pacemaker and held on to be fourth, with The Parade running home nicely from tenth at the bell to be fourth. Jungle Genie faded to a distant eleventh.