Willowy cracks it for a G1 in the VRC Oaks at Flemington
Willowy stamped herself as the best staying three-year-old filly in Australasia and franked her future broodmare status when she won the G1 VRC Oaks at Flemington on Thursday, 4 November.
Considered the ultimate test for her age and sex over 2,500m, the VRC Oaks has a time-honoured history dating back 160 years.
It was Godolphin's first VRC Oaks success, with Willowy rising from a Newcastle maiden victory just last month to the elite level when wearing down Douceur, with Biscayne Bay in third place.
Willowy gave champion jockey Damien Oliver his third successive win in the race and a record-equalling seventh of his career.
The filly, by rising Darley stallion Kermadec out of Dextrous, shot into Oaks contention with a brilliant win in the G2 Wakeful Stakes at Flemington last Saturday over 2,000m and handled the extra distance with ease.
Trainer James Cummings never doubted her ability to stay and was bullish about her prospects before the race and was glowing in praise after it.
“It’s a privilege to be associated with fillies like Willowy,” he said.
“I look forward to her training on in the autumn and coming back a bit bigger.
“A wonderful grand final performance from her and well done to the entire team that were involved.
“And well done to Kermadec. He has the ability to sire a Classic winner and it certainly won’t be his last.”
Godolphin Australia managing director Vin Cox was thrilled with the victory and also paid tribute to everyone involved.
“To James Cummings and the training team, what a wonderful performance to produce the filly here today,” he said.
“From two starts ago in a Newcastle maiden, through the G2 Wakeful Stakes and then winning the Oaks is a wonderful effort.
Oliver, who also notched the 126th G1 win of his illustrious career to equal the great George Moore, had to work overtime in the final 200m after positioning Willowy in fifth place until nearing the home turn.
“I didn’t know if I was going to get there until the last bit,” he said.
“The second horse looked like it had us but I asked her for a big effort at the end.”