Lightly raced filly Khanshe (Mongolian Khan) displayed her staying credentials ahead of a potential tilt at the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham next month when she captured the Listed Grangewilliam Stud Oaks Prelude (1800m) at New Plymouth.
The Fraser Auret-prepared filly was having just her fifth start as she lined up for her first start since a six-week break following her eye-catching performance to finish seventh in the Gr.3 Eulogy Stakes (1600m) at Trentham on similarly rain-affected going.
Rider Matthew Cameron settled Khanshe one-off the fence in fifth in the early running and was content to bide his time before moving her into contention with 600m to run.
In a driving finish Khanshe held out a gallant late run from Chantilly Lace who had tracked her three-wide the whole way with maiden galloper Moonlight Magic making good ground against the fence to finish within a length of the pair in third.
Auret was delighted to see his charge show plenty of resilience at the finish after coming off her mid-summer break.
“She really is a lovely filly who hasn’t had a lot of luck to date,” Auret said.
“We think a lot of her and we were keen to give her a short break after she ran midfield at Trentham and then target this race first-up.
“It was a beautiful ride by Matt and when he came back in he said she would only improve as she is still very green with a lot of potential.”
Auret will now press on with the second component of his plan for the daughter of Mongolian Khan with her next run likely to be in the Gr.2 Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on 28 February before tackling the Oaks on 16 March.
“She has plenty of sprinting blood in her pedigree but seems to have thrown to the staying qualities of her sire as she is built in the mould of a classics filly,” he said
“At this stage we have the Oaks earmarked for her with the Lowland at Hastings her final lead-up to that.
“You never know if they will get the 2400m of the Oaks but her racing style and work at home suggests she will, so we are willing to roll the dice with her.”
Bred and raced by Rick Orr, Khanshe is the second individual stakes winner for former Windsor Park Stud-based stallion Mongolian Khan who stood at the Cambridge nursery after completing a stellar career on the track where he won the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and the Gr.1 ATC Derby (2400m) in his three-year-old season followed by the Gr.1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) as a four-year-old.
Her dam is the unraced O’Reilly mare Folies Bergere, a daughter of stakes winning sprinter Dashing Donna who finished runner-up in the 2009 Gr.1 Railway Stakes (1200m).