DAVID Brideoake’s Group One winning mare Princess Jenni spoiled the internationals Melbourne Cup party to win the $400,000 Group Three Bendigo Cup last Wednesday.
Despite having been winless for over a year, Princess Jenni took control of the race at the top of the straight before fending off the challenge of the Lloyd Williams-owned import, Pondus, who was having his final crack at gaining a Melbourne Cup start, to win by a head-margin. The Archie Alexander-trained Haky finished a further two lengths away in third.
Stepping up to the 2400m trip for the first time in her career, Brideoake’s High Chaparral mare went into the Cup looking to turn around her run of four unplaced finishes this preparation.
Despite this, Brideoake was still adamant that she had been progressing nicely for the staying contest.
“She’s just such a good horse and I knew she was in good shape, to lift like that. But the ride, the ride was outstanding,” Brideoake said post-race.
“This preparation she hasn’t done anything wrong, she’s just had a series of gates, and bits and pieces that didn’t allow us to get a result. But, today it is a good result.”
The re-application of ear-muffs clearly paid dividends for Princess Jenni, having raced at her past couple of starts without them.
Inform jockey Jye McNeil, who had also won the Geelong Cup the week prior on Steel Prince, said she felt like the winner a fair way out.
“Her form probably wasn’t going the best into it but a small little gear change and everything going well during the racing, she put her best foot forward and put in quite a nice performance,” McNeil said post-race.
“I was travelling so well before the turn that I nearly fell into the trap of improving too early, but she was starting to peak a little bit on her run late. The race was over by then and the way things went during the race it was just perfect.”
Princess Jenni had been nominated in early September for the Melbourne Cup but was not among the first acceptances late last month.
Brideoake said the mare will likely head to the Group Two Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on the final day of the VRC Spring Carnival instead.
“We just didn’t get enough mile-and-a-half work into her. There’s always next year.”