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G3 second for Exhilarates in Fred Best Classic

Mike Hedge

A place in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap field is in the balance for Exhilarates after the filly finished a solid second in the G3 Fred Best Classic at Doomben on Saturday, 30 May.

Exhilarates ran a strong trial for next Saturday’s race, a traditional highlight on the Queensland calendar, chasing home Dawn Passage who is now rated among the top Stradbroke chances.

With the winner guaranteed a start, Exhilarates may need another runner to pull out at acceptance time if she is to be certain of a run.

While the winner proved too strong, jockey Larry Cassidy said Exhilarates’ performance would have her in perfect order for next week.

“I expected it to be run at a much quicker pace and when the pace slackened she wasn't suited but she ran on very well," Cassidy said.

Trainer James Cummings said he would have no hesitation backing up in seven days should Exhilarates gain a start.

“She thrives on a quick back-up as she proved when she won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic.”

While a feature race eluded the stable, the Street Boss colt Valaquenta added a late-season juvenile race to his record in the non-graded Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap at Caulfield in Melbourne.

A winner on debut at Moonee Valley in February, Valaquenta, a half-brother to the G1 winner Kementari showed great determination to score narrowly from Nantucket and Crystal Chief.