Autumn Angel outguns star fillies to triumph in G1 Australian Oaks

A week after celebrating their maiden Group One win as a training partnership, Peter Moody and Katherine Coleman have backed it up, producing Autumn Angel to upset star New Zealander Orchestral in the ATC Australian Oaks at Randwick.

Coleman landed her first major as a trainer when Chain Of Lightning claimed the T J Smith Sakes on the opening day of The Championships and only had to wait seven days for her second.

Moody, who has enjoyed a decorated career highlighted by the feats of unbeaten champion Black Caviar, joked Coleman might start getting used to it.

“She’ll think this is bloody easy, won’t she,” Moody quipped.

Orchestral was sent out an odds-on favourite for Saturday’s 2400m classic as she angled for her six successive win, hitting the front halfway up the straight as Zardozi and Autumn Angel also made their runs.

But it was Autumn Angel ($6) who proved strongest at the finish, pulling clear to score by three-quarters of a length over Zardozi ($6) with Orchestral the betting fav ($1.65) tiring on her run, another head away third.

Winning jockey Mark Zahra said it was an exciting finish to be involved in as the three class fillies of the race cleared out.

“When the three of us paired off it was a good feeling,” Zahra said.

“I thought, ‘righto, here we go’ and I was the strongest.

“Races like the Queensland Oaks and Caulfield Cup would definitely be on the radar for her, I would have thought.”

Autumn Angel won the Ethereal Stakes in the spring, but Moody opted to spell her rather than press on to the VRC Oaks (2500m).

She had been tracking well this campaign before her Sydney Oaks preparation was disrupted two weeks ago when she was a race day scratching from the Vinery Stud Stakes due to abrasions on her leg.

Moody and Coleman rerouted to last Saturday’s Adrian Knox Stakes where the filly was narrowly beaten by Good Banter who was carrying eight kilos less, giving connections the confidence to backup Autumn Angel against glamour pair Orchestral and Zardozi.

The three-year-old is part-owned by Wylie Dalziel and Moody was thrilled to finally train a Group 1 winner for his long-time stable supporter.

“Special thanks to my great mate Wylie Dalziel. We’ve owned a Group One winner together, I’ve bought him a Group One winner, but I’ve never trained him a Group One winner, so that’s very special,” Moody said.

“It’s great to be rewarded because we decided against going to the VRC Oaks when we were probably the logical favourite, but we felt she wasn’t quite ready.

“To be rewarded for that patience, that’s special as well.”

Orchestral’s co-trainer Roger James said her jockeyJames Mcdonald felt the filly had her chance to win.

“It just runs through your mind whether we went one run too many in the prep,” James said.

“It’s hard to know, really. They’re two great fillies in front of us.

“I think he (James McDonald) felt he had given her every opportunity and he said she was beaten by better horses on the day.”

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