Mark Newnham may have lost Group One winner Maid Of Heaven for the autumn but he still has plenty of ammunition in the fillies’ ranks including Nakeeta Jane, who has stamped her Oaks claims with victory in the Light Fingers Stakes.
While Spring Champion Stakes winner Maid Of Heaven is sidelined as she recovers from injury, Newnham saddled up Group One placegetters Nakeeta Jane and Greysful Glamour in yesterday’s Gr. 2 Light Fingers Stakes at Randwick.
Miss Fabulass started the $3.70 favourite but barely raised a shout, while Nakeeta Jane ($10), having her first start since finishing third in the Flight Stakes last spring, getting the better of Madam Rouge by a neck. Pohutukawa was another three-quarters of a length away third.
“She has only had four starts and to beat these horses over 1200 metres tells me she’s top-class,” Newnham said. “There is no doubt she has class and has a good road ahead.”
Newnham said the Surround Stakes, Vinery and Coolmore Classic were Group One options on the way to the Australian Oaks in April. The So You Think filly’s jockey Josh Parr was just as enthusiastic.
“She’s very exciting,” he said. “She’s a horse that we believe is on a trip to the Vinery and the Oaks, so to settle fourth the fence first-up over 1200 metres and run down a couple of tearaways, it’s very nice.”
Flight Stakes winner Oohood finished second-last of the 11 runners, one place behind Miss Fabulass who was in turn, one position behind VRC Oaks runner-up Greysful Glamour.
The TAB immediately tightened Nakeeta Jane to $5 favouritism for the ATC Oaks ahead of Verry Elleegent ($6), who finished second to Amphitrite in yesterday’s Vanity at Flemington, her first start for Chris Waller.