Al Nakhla could head north
Chris Waller will consider a Queensland Oaks start for Al Nakhla provided the filly can sneak her way into the field.
The daughter of Redoute’s Choice was nominated for the Doomben Roses (2020m) last weekend but didn’t gain a start, forcing Waller to “Plan B” which was to run on Randwick’s Kensington track over 1800m on Tuesday.
Al Nakhla came through with flying colours, taking out the Surry Hills Maiden Plate (1800m) by 1-1/4 lengths over Spanish Halo with Bucket List 1-1/2 lengths away third.
The filly’s victory formed part of a winning treble for the in-form Waller, with imported gallopers Stand To Gain and Calm claiming their first wins on Australian soil.
Waller said he would look at the order of entry for the Group One Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 5 before deciding whether to send the filly to Brisbane.
“She’s a nice filly who can definitely stay, and it was a great ride by Jim Cassidy,” Waller said.
“I’ll see where she is in the order of entry, she’s very well bred and it’s always been our aim but the fields in Queensland are very big.
“She was entered for Doomben last weekend and didn’t get a start.”
Cassidy settled Al Nakhla near the tail of the field from an outside barrier and was happy to sit back on the inside for the first half of the race.
He saved ground along the fence before getting the grey filly out to the better going halfway down the straight and she reeled in the leaders over the final 100m.
“She’s a nice filly who has improved as she has gone up in distance,” Cassidy said.
“I think that’s the key to her, and I think she’ll run a mile and a half (2400m).”
Earlier, Stand To Gain ploughed through the heavy conditions to win the Centennial Park Handicap (2500m) by 4-1/4 lengths.
It was just the four-year-old gelding’s fourth start in Australia.
“He’s a promising horse but still not there mentally,” Waller said.
“To get a win like that helps his confidence.”
Waller also believes there are better races in store for Calm, a four-year-old Montjeu mare who won the Waterloo Handicap (1800m) by a long neck from Skyerush.
Calm was ridden by premiership leader Nash Rawiller who said the mare relished the heavy conditions and was better suited ridden with a sit.
“With a bunny to chase today she was a lot more impressive,” Rawiller said.
The win brought up a double for Rawiller who took his season’s tally to 69.
By Mathew Toogood