Victory in a winter two-year-old race at Flemington will allow trainers Robbie Griffiths & Mathew De Kock to be single-minded in their approach to a feature staying race.
Griffiths and de Kock have Gonnadancealot aimed at the Group 1 Victoria Oaks (2500m) at Flemington on November 4 and know the filly only has to reach her peak on that day. The daughter of Sir Prancealot (Ire) won a ballot exemption into the Oaks in the Byerley Handicap (1800m) in July.
Knowing Gonnadancealot is safely into the Oaks, Griffiths and de Kock have taken their time with the filly who will resume in the Kennedy Oaks Preview (1800m) at Flemington on Wednesday. That race and the Group 3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 16 will be the two runs she has leading into the Oaks.
It is a similar program to the one adopted by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott in 2017 when Pinot won all three races, although Pinot had the advantage of race fitness leading into the Oaks Trial.
Gonnadancealot trialled at Cranbourne last week under Damien Oliver who has the ride on Wednesday, with the trainers hoping the champion jockey sticks with the filly through the campaign. Oliver won last year’s Victoria Oaks on Personal.
“She had a blow-out at the trials but Olly was happy with her,” Griffiths said.
“She didn’t like the ground that soft but we gave her a little bit of a firmer trial on purpose, just to clean her out a bit. He [Oliver] went forward on the corner to give her some work and they ran quicker time than the other trial at the same distance.
“She’s behind in her fitness, but that doesn’t worry us. It’s all about being at her peak on that Thursday in November.
“She’s just got to please us on Wednesday, give us a happy run at the 2000 metres, and then hopefully she’s cherry-ripe on the Thursday for the Oaks. That’s all that matters to us.”
This year's Victoria Oaks (2500m) is to be run at Flemington on November 4