Megamea scores strong first-up win

Trainer Luke Oliver has his eyes on ‘Finals Day’ at Flemington next month after Megamea returned with a first-up win at Sandown.

Victory in the Ladbrokes Bet Ticker Handicap (1200m) on Wednesday was also the perfect birthday present for Oliver who has now prepared Megamea to win twice in five starts since joining his stable.

Oliver has his eye on the $150,000 Leilani Series Final (1400m) at Flemington on July 2 with Megamea who was having her first outing since running fourth at Sandown in February.

Ridden by Daniel Stackhouse, Megamea ($6.50) scored by a head from La Vina ($15) with Verbano ($15) a further 1-¼ lengths off third.

“She always goes well first-up and loves it wet and she’s very good when they go quick in front,” Oliver said.

“She’s always tough, whether it’s first-up in the prep or towards the end of it, so when it was a two-horse war, I was confident we would come out on top.”

Oliver said the barrier draw was against the mare on Wednesday and he advised Stackhouse to ride Megamea quietly.

“We had the plan that being drawn wide we would ride her quiet and if the pace was on, we were then a winning chance,” Oliver said.

“If it wasn’t on, then we would be running home and it would be a good first-up run for her.

“The pace was red hot and it panned out.”

Megamea is owned by the mare’s former trainer Udyta Clarke who was on course to celebrate the win.

Clarke suffered bleeding on the brain in November 2020 and was forced into training retirement.

“We want to be a part of that Leilani Series Final at Flemington,” Oliver said.

“That was the goal this prep, but it’s good to get another city win, especially for Mrs Clarke.

“It’s great for her and great for the stable as well.”

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