Marabi meets Group 1 challenge at Caulfield

Vinery has clinched its second Group 1 in a week with star mare Marabi a superb winner of the MRC Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield.

Marabi (I Am Invincible) stretched her unbeaten record to seven for Vinery partner Greg Perry and Ciaron Maher Racing on Saturday.  She carries the ‘Big V’ brand and follows Wellington who won his second Group 1 for Vinery sire All Too Hard in the Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup (1400m) at Sha Tin last Sunday.

“She’s so special,” Maher said after watching Marabi dash away at the top of the straight.  “Congratulations to Greg Perry and our jockey Ben Allen.  It was a huge team effort and to get the quinella with Away Game was just icing on the cake.

“Greg puts a lot into breeding and he’s got a lot of mares and just loves his racing,” Maher added.  “He’s very patient and very easy to train for so it’s great to get rewarded with a horse like this.

“We will let the dust settle before making firm plans.  The pressure is beginning to build but that’s a good problem to have.”

Allen admitted he might have gone a bit early but was confident the mare could sustain that gallop.  “I used it to my advantage.  I knew she had the class and quality to win an Oakleigh Plate.”

Marabi meets every challenge and now ranks as Australia’s leading short-course female ahead of a possible Group 1 challenge in the VRC Newmarket Hcp (1200m) in a fortnight.  Home Affairs ($2.70) is the pre-post favourite for the ultimate straight-course test at Flemington ahead of Marabi and Artorius on the second line at $9.

Perry also bred Artorius (Flying Artie) and kept a share after selling him to a syndicate managed by Newgate Farm’s Henry Field.  Trained by Anthony & Sam Freedman, he won the 2021 Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr.1, 1200m) and will strip fitter for a first-up sixth in the Rubiton Stakes (Gr.2, 1100m) at Caulfield on February 12.

In Sydney, Vinery sire Star Turn was denied his first Group 1 win by a nose when Startantes just failed to catch Hinged in the ATC Surround Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.  The Brisbane filly was bumped by Espiona out of the gates and was giving the leaders 10 lengths on a Heavy 10 at the half-mile.

All Too Hard sired last year’s Surround winner Forbidden Love and she made it a very happy return in the ATC Guy Walter Stakes (Gr.2, 1400m) on Saturday.  Hugh Bowman sat her slightly off the pace before bounding clear by more than three lengths on the line.

Forbidden Love (4m All Too Hard – Juliet’s Princess by More Than Ready) was a class above the field leading co-trainer Michael Freedman to tick off a list of Group 1 autumn options.  “She loves this day and loves a wet track,” he said. “I’m really keen to give her another crack at the Coolmore Classic.  Nothing panned out for her in last year’s race.”

The Coolmore Classic at Rosehill (March 12) leads into other targets like the Doncaster (April 2) and Queen Of The Turf (April 9) at Randwick.

Forbidden Love was bred by Kerry O’Brien and he sold her through Bhima Thoroughbreds at the 2019 Gold Coast Magic Millions.  “I didn’t want to spend any more than $200,000 and we got her for $150,000,” Freedman recalled.  “She’s a gem and just wants to be a racehorse.”

O’Brien initially sent Juliet’s Princess (USA) to Vinery following four wins up to 1600m in Adelaide.  Her yearling colt by Epaulette was purchased for $100,000 by Avesta Bloodstock at the Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale on Sunday.