Atlantic Jewel proves a new jewel in the crown
Sam Walker for Racing Post
WORLD CLASS: an analysis of the international scene according to Racing Post Ratings
So You Think and Black Caviar made Australian racing their plaything in recent years and Atlantic Jewel looks set to pick up where they left off after crushing her rivals in the Memsie Stakes on Saturday.
Unbeaten in eight starts, the five-year-old was rated one of the leading fillies in the world in 2011/12 before a career threatening tendon injury left her on the sidelines for 16 months.
Coming back from that sort of injury and absence is fraught with pitfalls and a diminished talent might have been expected at Caulfield on the weekend, but if her return to action is anything to go by she could be set for even bigger and better things post-injury.
The boomerang beauty won by an eased down two-and-a-quarter lengths after blasting four lengths clear in the straight to defeat a field chock-full of Group 1 winners.
It was a performance full of class. But also one offering further promise, with trainer Mark Kavanagh admitting she was “not 100 percent fit”, while also keen to remind us that the 7f Memsie wasn’t really her optimum distance.
As a three-year-old she excelled at distances between 6f and 1m2f. Perhaps her most impressive win came in the Wakeful Stakes over 1m2f (RPR 124), where she demolished her rivals by seven lengths, but she also has plenty of speed.
She matched her peak RPR when winning the Sapphire Stakes over 6f and on Saturday she showed a lot of toe to skip clear for a quick shake of the reins, posting an RPR of 123+.
The long term aim has always been the nation’s most important weight-for-age race, the Cox Plate. She’s clear favourite for next month’s valuable prize and at her best she would take some beating there.
The step up in trip to 1m2f44y should hold no concerns given the stamina she showed at three and she has the tactical acceleration to get herself out of trouble around the tight turns and short straight at Moonee Valley, which can scupper slower horses.
Next stop is the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (Sept 14) over 1m at Moonee Valley. From there they will build her towards the Plate.
If she wins the Cox Plate the comparisons bandwagon will start rolling. The next Black Caviar, the next Sunline, the next So You Think, the next Makybe Diva, or perhaps she’ll earn her own spot amongst the stars? She does need to win the big one first, though.
If she wins emphatically talk will also turn to Europe. She’s owned by Coolmore, who have obvious interests up in the middle-distance heartlands, although they may choose to play it safe and keep her at home given her injury problems.
A peak RPR of 124 puts Atlantic Jewel up with the best mares in Europe. Moonlight Cloud currently leads the way this year with an RPR of 125, but that figure is within reach of the Aussie belle.
At her best she would also be a match for the leading colts in Europe over 1m2f, with a 3lb fillies allowance putting her up alongside Al Kazeem (127) and ahead of Coolmore colleague Declaration Of War (126).
Saturday’s win was the start of something, where it stops nobody knows.