Next stop Royal Ascot
SUPERSTAR Victorian filly Shoals is ready to take on the world after her breathtaking win in the $1 million Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.
At just her 10th start and in one of the most emphatic Sangster displays in recent years, three-year-old Shoals smashed some of Australia's best race mares with a devastating show of acceleration that is likely to earn her a trip to the upcoming Royal Ascot meeting in the UK.
"She was dominant today and it was a very good race. She's gone up a couple of levels," trainer Anthony Freedman said.
"We'll give Royal Ascot a lot of thought."
The Group 1 Sangster also delivered a great result for Sydney jockey Tim Clark, who picked up the ride on Shoals on Friday morning when Mark Zahra advised Freedman he would be unable to make the filly's 55kg weight.
"It's a funny game," Freedman said.
"Credit to Mark. He put his hand up early in the week and said he was in a lot of trouble. A lot of jockeys wouldn't do that. I'm grateful to him for doing that."
Shoals ($12) certainly gave Clark an armchair ride, settling back in the field from barrier 15 then unleashing a withering final burst down the middle of the home straight to win by 1¾ lengths.
Secret Agenda ($9.50), chased hard into second, and local mare Mica Lil ($91) ran the race of her life for trainer Mark Minervini and jockey Shayne Cahill to claim third, another length away.
A normally conservative Freedman labelled Shoals an "outstanding filly" and said her trackwork in the lead-up to the Sangster had given him plenty of confidence.
"Her work on Tuesday was as good as before she won the Myer, so I was pretty happy coming here," he said.
"The gate (15) didn't worry me too much. She likes a bit of clear air that she got today.
"Three Group 1s out of 10 runs ... not many do it."
Freedman, whose brother Lee won three straight Sangsters with Alinghi (2005), Ellicorsam (2006) and Universal Queen (2007), said Shoals was unlikely to return for a crack at Adelaide's other $1 million race, the Goodwood, in a fortnight.
"If the decision was made (to go to Royal Ascot) - and we'd have to talk to (owners) John Messara and Jonathon Munz - she'd fly out around the end of May," he said.
"She wouldn't run again. She'd just go to England and prepare for that."
Star local mare Viddora, the pre-post favourite for the Sangster, was a shock scratching on Saturday morning after injuring a hind leg in a stable incident.