Hiyaam mighty: Price filly fires Oaks warning
HIYAAM ran her rivals ragged, Unforgotten was an outstanding second and Aloisia is regaining her best form.
These fillies ran the trifecta in the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday - and they might do something similar in the ATC Australian Oaks in two weeks.
All three came out of the Vinery Stud Stakes with their reputations enhanced and their Oaks campaigns right on track.
The Mick Price-trained Hiyaam ($13) led throughout and was never seriously challenged to score by nearly two lengths from Unforgotten ($3.60 favourite), with Aloisia ($5) just over two lengths away third.
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors reshaped betting on the Group 1 $1 million ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) with Hiyaam firming from $15 to $8 but she is on the third line of betting.
Unforgotten vaulted from $8 to $3.50 favouritism while Aloisia firmed from $11 to $6.
Luke Wilkinson, racing manager for the Price stable, said Hiyaam has been set to peak for the Oaks.
"She ran well in the (Victoria) Oaks last year and it's always been the goal to get to the ATC (Australian) Oaks. This is a little cherry on top,'' he said.
"It was a fantastic ride by Michael (Dee). They left her alone. He said he was going to roll forward and if something attacked her he would take a sit but they just left him alone and she just travelled so well. It's fantastic for the filly's residual value and great for the Sheikh (Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum) that owns her.
"She's not a big filly but she has got a great heart and lungs so it's a good spot to be in because we know she is going to be strong to the line in the Oaks."
Dee rode his third Group 1 winner of his emerging career on Hiyaam but said Saturday's triumph was the most rewarding.
"That's my favourite one, winning for my old boss and master Mick Price,'' Dee said. "He's given me a lot of support since I came over here so big thanks to him.
"There was no speed in the race so from the one pole we just elected to roll forward and dictate terms. She was way too good in the end.
"Even after the line, I was still humming down the side. Bring on the Oaks that is for sure.''
Unforgotten's connections said they were looking forward to a rematch in the Oaks although trainer Chris Waller admitted he wasn't sure if his filly would run the 2400m.
"But at level weights against the fillies, it is worth a try,'' Waller said. "She has run a very good race today.''
Kerrin McEvoy, rider of Unforgotten, said his filly "got shuffled back about the 1000m and had to make a wide run.
"She made a made a good attempt to try to run down the leader but it had too much break on me. You'd think she's going to be hard to beat in the Oaks,'' McEvoy said.
Aloisia's jockey Mark Zahra also believes his filly is a big winning chance in the Oaks.
"I didn't want to go back to last, she's been doing that too much, so we took up a spot,'' Zahra said. "She was wide all the way and ran super.''
Alizee looked the filly likely to challenge Hiyaam about 300m out but laboured late to run fourth.
"She tried hard but didn't get the trip,'' Alizee's rider Brenton Avdulla said.