Star of Giselle and Kerrin McEvoy (lime) prevail, picture Quentin Lang, quentinjlang.com
First up since a successful spring preparation, Star Of Giselle ground out a slender victory over Family Crest (NZ) (Fastnet Rock) and Ryan Maloney and Hi Belle (Clangalang) anda Vlad Duric.
The margins were a short head and a short half-head with the time 1.25.30 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.62.
“This mare was a bit rusty today,” co-trainer Mathew Ellerton said.
“I thought she was just going to plug away in third for a minute but to her credit she dug deep and hit the front.”
Star Of Giselle maximised her broodmare value last preparation with a pair of black type victories each over a mile.
Now a multiple stakes winner, Ellerton and Zahra will step the Reset mare back up to 1600m.
“There are two mile mares races coming up so she will go to them,” Ellerton said.
“One in a fortnight at Flemington [Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy] and the next in two or three weeks after that at Moonee Valley.”
The four-year-old rounded out a winning double for Ellerton and Zahra after Secret Liaison earlier continued her winning ways in the $100,000 Polytrack Handicap (1400m).
Winning rider Kerrin McEvoy also enjoyed a race to race double after guiding Mrs Onassis to victory in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
McEvoy tucked Star Of Giselle in behind the early leader Family Crest and it took the entire length of the straight for the pair to reel the Robbie Griffiths-trained mare in.
“This is a filly Matty and Simon had targeted at this race first up over seven [furlongs],” McEvoy said.
“I had a bit of luck on her during the spring so it was nice to get back on her here.
“She didn’t step away brilliant and Matty said she isn’t 100% wound up so don’t do work both ends so I parked behind and then had to get out and catch them again.
“She did a good job.”
Star Of Giselle is a five-year-old mare by Reset out of the Danehill mare Princesa and this was her eighth win from 20 starts. With five placings she has earned stakes of $517,575 for Contract Racing Pty Ltd, N S Psaltis and Mrs G C Psaltis.