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Brilliant Exhilarates set to impress at Moonee Valley

Mike Hedge

The G1 winner Best Of Days leads a strong Godolphin team into action in the G2 Feehan Stakes at Saturday’s Moonee Valley meeting, but he is competing for attention with his stablemate, the classy filly Exhilarates, at Melbourne’s first race meeting of the spring.

Exhilarates comes to the Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes at the Valley off a stunning first-up victory in the G3 Quezette Stakes at Caulfield two weeks ago that confirmed she had lost none of her brilliance during her winter break.

“She was outstanding first-up at Caulfield and she had a gallop at Moonee Valley on Tuesday that suggested she’s held her form,” trainer James Cummings said.

Exhilarates established a position high on the list of Australia’s best juveniles last summer by winning the ungraded but valuable Magic Millions Classic.

That win against some of the best youngsters in training may well have been surpassed by her recent Caulfield victory, with Saturday’s race presenting a new group of in-form fillies, including stable companion Pin Sec.

Exhilarates had Pin Sec’s measure in the Quezette, relegating her to third place and both fillies showed they were up to the mark when they galloped together at Moonee Valley on Tuesday.

Cummings is keeping Exhilarates immediate options open but is considering the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield on Sunday, 29 September or the G3 Scarborough Stakes at the Valley two days earlier as Exhilarates next target.

Best Of Days, a G1 winner for the stable in the spring, tuned up for Saturday’s Moonee Valley race with an impressive piece of work at the track on Tuesday.

“The report after his gallop on Tuesday was that he felt fantastic,” Cummings said.

“He had a good lung burner there on top of a first-up run that will have brought him on really nicely.”

 “He’s a G1 winner at his ideal distance, but there’s quality opposition to handle here. It’ll be a good test.”

 The Moonee Valley contingent is completed by Deprive who lines up for his sixth straight success in the Listed Chandler McLeod Stakes.

“He keeps on meeting capable sprinters and performing well against them,” Cummings said.

“He’s had a run at Moonee Valley and he went along nicely in a gallop there on Tuesday.”