Oakleigh Plate among Group 1 options for Mileva

When the Victoria Racing Club moved the Listed Kensington Stakes (1000m) from mid-January to mid-December, it suited Phillip Stokes in setting four-year-old mare Mileva on a path to Group 1 aims in 2022.

Mileva ($4.80) won the Kensington at Flemington by a length with Parsifal ($15) second and Halvorsen ($6) a short-half-head away in third.

Ridden by Ben Allen, Stokes praised the ride over Flemington’s short course.

“Full credit to Ben,” Stokes said.

“He gave her a lovely ride, summed it up beautifully and got her across to the middle and outside where we wanted to be and very happy for Michael Birchall (owner) – he’s getting a big thrill out of this.

“She’s a mad fresh horse and spends most of her time up at our farm and just ticks over up there on the hill track and in the pool.

“We don’t jump her out between runs, she doesn’t need it, she’s very clean winded and that’s the key to her.”

Stokes’ plans for Mileva include the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield – a handicap – in late February and then towards the Group 1 Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) – at weight-for-age – in Adelaide in May.

“It worked out,” Allen said.

“We stepped away well and there was nice speed.

“I was happy to come across and sit inside them and I was able to get cover and able to get onto the back of Sartorial Splendor.

“It couldn’t have turned out any better.”

The Kensington Stakes was the first of four rich summer sprint series races in Melbourne with the next on 26 December at Caulfield and the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m).

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