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Exhilarates a gem in the Atlantic Jewel

Mike Hedge

Exhilarates improved her already high ranking among Godolphin’s Australian three-year-olds with a victory in Saturday’s Listed Atlantic Jewel Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The winner of one of the country’s best juvenile events, the Magic Millions Two-Year-old Classic, last summer, Exhilarates resumed with a resounding last-to-first win in the G3 Quezette Stakes two weeks ago.

In a performance that revealed another aspect of what is promising to be extraordinary ability, Exhilarates raced on the pace over the 1200m of the Atlantic Jewel and won in equally decisive fashion.

While her trainer James Cummings is still to finalise her spring campaign, it is possible he will stretch her to 1400m in the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude at Caulfield on September 29.

The Atlantic Jewel win drew a glowing endorsement from her rider, Melbourne's premier jockey Craig Williams.

"I thought her win today was even better than it may have looked," Williams said.

"She controlled the race early and then she switched off and I was back on top of them.

"I had to trust her that she was that good, and she was today.

"If I didn't think she was that good I definitely wouldn't have been asking her to control the race that far out.

"She's very, very professional and they've got options whether they keep her over shorter distances or even go out in distance with her.

"But she's a true professional."

Also at Moonee Valley, Best Of Days continued his return to racing with a third placing in the G2 Feehan Stakes.

The G1 winner from last spring indicated he had plenty to offer racing well to finish 2-1/2 lengths from the winner Homesman.

At Randwick, Avilius endured a torrid run from his wide gate before claiming second place in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes, 3-1/4 lengths behind Samadoubt.