Just as he had done a week earlier, Declan Bates stole a Group 1 race over a mile at Flemington on Pride Of Jenni.
Bates and the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Pride Of Jenni took out the Empire Rose Stakes on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the pair reunited for Champions Mile on Saturday.
As they did last week, Bates and Pride Of Jenni control of the 1600m race early against some of the best weight-for-age performers in Australia.
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Bates allowed Pride Of Jenni to amble to the front, but from the 1000m mark, as he did last week, gradually increased the tempo to hold a four-length lead over Alligator Blood turning form.
Mr Brightside, who had settled fourth, emerged from the pack being six lengths off the leader turning for home, but found the task of running down the winner too great.
Pride Of Jenni ($13) held off Mr Brightside ($3) by one-and-a-quarter lengths with Alligator Blood ($4.20) the same margin off third while the $2.40 favourite Fangirl ran on from last to finish fourth.
Pride Of Jenni won a second Group 1 race in a week. Credit: Getty Images
Pride Of Jenni has become a favourite of Bates and he said the mare showed her one-length victory was no fluke.
“A few people have said to me that I stole it last week and it is a discredit to her to say that I stole it,” Bates said.
“I think I’m happy with how I executed the tactics, but they are tactics that you can’t employ on many horses.
“You need a horse with a serious engine and a will to win and I think we are made for each other.
“I just love this mare so much.
“She’s a champion now, especially in my eyes.”
Recently, Bates has started riding the majority of the ‘Jenni’ horses, named after the daughter of Tony and Lyn Ottobre who died of brain cancer.
“Riding for Tony and Lyn has been life changing for me now,” Bates said.
“I’m very grateful for them. He puts a lot of time and effort into his horses, but also a lot of love and attention. He really loves them deeply.
“To be his jockey is a privileged position and it is fantastic to reward them.”
Maher said Pride Of Jenni needed to be well seasoned to be able to lead and run along in the style that she does.
“She’s come up very well,” Maher said.
“Tony and Lyn Ottobre, they put so much in and to win a Group 1 last Saturday, I thought we’d have a throw at the stumps today, but she’s run as good or better.
“Dec Bates, (got that) just spot on. He really suits her.
“It’s hard to get someone to peel off 11s the whole way in a mile race.
“She was phenomenal.”
– RAS NewsWire
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