Hulking mare Oasis Bloom (Al Maher) became the first Stakes winner for the Peter Morgan and Craig Widdison training partnership with her win in Saturday’s $220,000 Top Cut Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Morgan and his long-time assistant trainer Widdison formed their partnership last season with impressive results before Oasis Bloom showed she could be the stable’s spring flagship with her win.
The mare stands 17 hands high but had little trouble negotiating the tight Moonee Valley circuit, thanks to an aggressive ride from triple Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Glen Boss.
Boss was caught wide aboard Oasis Bloom in the early stages before the jockey capitalised on a slow speed to send the daughter of Al Maher forward to race outside the leader Midnight Martini (Street Cry).
The four-year-old travelled perfectly under Boss before the jockey went for home aboard the four-year-old passing the 400 metres. Oasis Bloom had to fight hard after her early exertions but still had enough in hand to record her first Stakes success.
“I tried my best because she obviously wants cover but they were just going stupid down the back, so slow, so I thought ‘why fight her, she wants the rein’,” Boss said. “She rolled to the front and then she started to relax for me, which is a great sign.
“I always felt like she was going to win the race. She got into a really good rhythm down the back and about the 1000; she really started to relax for me.”
Oasis Bloom defeated Spirit Song (Invincible Spirit) by a short neck while Chateau Margaux (Redoute’s Choice) finished another length away in third. The mares ran the mile in 1:36.90, which was more than two seconds outside the track record. The overall time featured a last 600-metre sectional of 35.13 seconds. Oasis Bloom started at $10 on track but paid $9.90 on the Victorian TAB.
Morgan said he and Widdison had considered Oasis Bloom as a possibility to run in the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups this spring but had shelved that plan with an eye to conserving the mare for an autumn campaign.
“We have always had a big opinion of her. I think I said one day her target was the cups next year but we didn’t accept for the Caulfield Cup this year but we’ll look after her,” Morgan said.
“She’ll probably have one more run in the Matriarch and then save her for next year.”
Oasis Bloom’s $132,000 winner’s cheque took her prizemoney to more than $195,000 from four starts. Dean Hawthorne Bloodstock paid $75,000 for Oasis Bloom at the 2010 Gold Coast Magic Millions Sale on behalf of the four-year-old’s owners - Mr B S Ong Tan, Mrs A M Ong Tan, Mr A Zagami, Mrs M Zagami, Mr M B Christian, Mr R M Herron, and Mr W A Walsh.