Renaissance Woman (Reliable Man - Mrs Kennedy) rocketed to the top of the market for the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) with a gutsy win in Saturday's Gr.3 Ethereal Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
The Bjorn Baker-trained filly came from near-last and over-came a bumping duel with the Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained runner-up Foxy Cleopatra at the top of the straight, before registering the second win of her six-start career.
Renaissance Woman, who started $5 second favourite, had three-quarters-of-a-length to spare over $4.80 favourite Foxy Cleopatra on the line with Pavitra ($6), who ran the field along at a solid tempo, boxing on well for third, 1-3/4 lengths further back.
A New Zealand bred daughter of Reliable Man, Renaissance Woman had raced in strong company in Sydney, having chased home Zougotcha when sixth in the Gr.2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and again when seventh in the Gr.1 Flight Stakes (1600m) and relished the step out to a staying trip.
“She is a really promising filly and I think she is only going to get better,” Baker said.
“She is staying with Trent (Busuttin) and Natalie (Young) who had the runner-up. Trent phoned me up and had a few expletives. We are great mates and have known each other since we were two years old and he said ‘I saw it coming on the corner and was hoping it wasn’t you’.
“Over 2500m in the Oaks she will only get better. I was very confident during the week. She had form around Madame Pommery (who won the Gr.1 Thousand Guineas, 1600m during the week) and she went super.”
Winning rider Josh Parr was delighted with the filly, who is now $4.50 Oaks favourite and provided her Westbury Stud sire Reliable Man with his 20th stakes winner.
"The physical development she has made has been great," Parr said.
"I trialled her at Rosehill (last preparation) and then rode her in a race at Canterbury, and I was quite upbeat about the feel that she gave me.
"But she was just screaming out for time at that particular moment and she's got that now, got down here in the spring and she's really furnished into a lovely filly.
"I was confident in my pursuit of catching the lead group, I had a lot of horse, but I had to take my time.
"She needed my help around Caulfield the first time, so I had to assure her around the bend. Foxy Cleopatra had been a total nuisance but we took care of them and we were victorious, which is great."
Renaissance Woman was offered by Westbury Stud at New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale and was knocked down at Karaka for $250,000 with the ticket signed by Brian Nutt’s Attunga Stud and she is raced by his brother-in-law Geoff Walsh.
The filly is out of the Fastnet Rock mare Mrs Kennedy, who is a half-sister to the Gr.1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) winner Mrs Onassis and the Gr.3 How Now Stakes (1200m) winner Miss Judgment, dam of multiple Group One placegetter Missrock.
– NZ Racing Desk