Gonnadancealot booked her place in next season’s VRC Oaks as Denis Pagan again prepared a minor placegetter in Saturday’s $150,000 Byerley Handicap (1800m) at Flemington, reports Australia’s racing.com.
The late-season two-year-old stamina test carries ballot exemption for the VRC Derby or VRC Oaks and was won by the Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock-trained filly Gonnadancealot ($6.50) under Melbourne’s leading rider Jamie Kah.
Gonnadancealot settled outside a slow tempo, with the first 1200 metres on the Soft 5 surface covered in 1:16.12, before dashing clear upon straightening and holding off the swooping Aktolgali ($3.80 equal favourite) by 2.75 lengths.
The result also saw Gonnadancealot turn the tables on Aktolgali from when they clashed over 1600m four weeks earlier at Bendigo.
“Myself and Robbie have had this race mapped out from a couple of months ago and programmed her towards it,” de Kock said.
“Each and every run she’s taken, she’s just improved. Each and every week the rider just keeps coming back and saying she’s never felt any better.
“We were definitely comfortable she would enjoy it (the 1800-metre distance).”
Gonnadancealot is part-owned by Australian-born, UK-based trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam, a longtime friend and neighbor at Newmarket of de Kock’s father Mike.
Chapple-Hyam purchased Gonnadancealot at the Magic Millions sales in Perth for $30,000 and immediately offered it to Griffiths and de Kock.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to spend some time with Jane (Chapple-Hyam) in Newmarket, she runs out of the stable owned by South African clients of ours and all of our passing with quarantine horses through the stables, she looks after them,” de Kock said.
“Horses that hopefully have some Group 1 international potential will definitely be utilising her skills and that facility.”
Gonnadancealot will now be given her chance to return to Flemington for the G1 Kennedy Oaks (2500m) on November 4.
“We had that (the Oaks) in the back of our mind leading into today but we wanted to see a good performance from her today, I think we’ve seen a performance that’s worthy of making those sorts of considerations,” de Kock said.