Nakeeta Jane lands the Light Fingers on her way to the Oaks

The Mark Newnham-trained Nakeeta Jane (by So You Think) announced herself as a genuine Group 1 winning 3-year-old prospect with an impressive late surge victory in the $200,000, Group 2, TAB Light Fingers Stakes on the Apollo Stakes program at Royal Randwick in Sydney.

Left to right, Madam Rouge and Jay Ford, Pohutukawa and Brett Prebble and Nakeeta Jane and Josh Parr, picture

The minor placegetter of last September’s Flight Stakes (G1) at just her third race start, Nakeeta Jane resumed in the 1200m Set Weights event to register her maiden Pattern Race success by virtue of a brilliant closing furlong.

Ridden off the pace next to the fence during in a briskly run affair, Nakeeta Jane appeared likely to be responsible for another pleasing black-type placing with 200 metres to race. However, the closing stages of the contest saw the imposing daughter of So You Think rapidly overhaul Madam Rouge (by Zoustar) and Terminology before going on to win by a neck.

After appearing the likely to salute entering the final furlong, Madam Rouge managed to hold on to second place, with the very fast finishing Pohutukawa (by Medaglia d’Oro) running on strongly from the tail of the field to claim third place.

Despite a handful of more than satisfactory first-up efforts by a selection of quality 3-year-old fillies, all honours went to the winner who has trainer Mark Newnham very much looking forward to the weeks ahead.

“That was pretty special,” declared Newnham after the victory.

“I had an inkling that could have happened today, just because of the amount of improvement she showed last preparation.

“You know, we weren’t game to run her in anything under 1400m last preparation because I didn’t think she’d keep up, but she has shown in her work and trials this time in that she can jump and travel. It’s just a matter of her maturing.”

Newnham added: “She’s top-class, there’s no doubt about that. To be able to do what she has in four starts… look, we have a good road ahead of us I would say.”

In terms of the filly’s impending campaign, Newnham remarked: “It’ll end at the [ATC] Oaks, but there’s the Surround Stakes in a fortnight; the third run we’ll make-up our mind — it could be the Coolmore or the Phar Lap. And then we’ll go to the Vinery and the Oaks.

Nakeeta Jane was returned at an SP of $10.00, the runner-up Madam Rouge at $16.00, and the minor placegetter Pohutukawa at $21.00.

Race favourite Sylvia’s Mother started at $3.00, but could do no better than fifth.

Time of the race was 1m09.12s, bettering that recorded by the 5-year-old mare Eckstein over the same course and distance earlier in the day. Similarly, the final 600m of 34.18s was only a tick inferior.

Nakeeta Jane races in the colours of Jananth Pty Ltd (Mgr: M S Towell). The filly is now the winner of two races from four starts, having returned $191,800 in prizemoney.

Josh Parr and Nakeeta Jane, picture

Light Fingers Stakes, photo finish picture ATC