Eleonora appropriate winner of Ethereal Stakes

Eleonora (Damien Oliver) sealing her VRC Crown Oaks tilt with a comprehensive win at Caulfield.

Eleonora (Damien Oliver) sealing her VRC Crown Oaks tilt with a comprehensive win at Caulfield. (Photo: Bruno Cannatelli).

Cambridge filly Eleonora lived up to the script when she put herself right back in leading contention for the Gr. 1 A$1million VRC Crown Oaks at Flemington next month.

She experienced a well-deserved change of luck when successful today at Caulfield in the Gr. 3 A$150,000 NZ Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes, the race named in honour of her grandam, Ethereal, who completed the Caulfield – Melbourne Cup double 15 years ago.

The win also came at the same meeting 12 months after her trainers, Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman, produced Mongolian Khan to win the Caulfield Cup.

The 2500-metre Crown Oaks on November 3 has always been the main target for Eleonora, but after winning her Australian debut at Geelong she suffered a hiccup in her build-up when a very unlucky 11th in the Gr. 2 Edward Manifold Stakes at Flemington a fortnight ago.

The Makfi filly was held up for much of the run home and punters were quick to pick up on how unlucky she was in the 1600-metre event when sending her out of the favourites in the NZ Bloodstock Ethereal Stakes (2000m).

“For all the bad luck she had last time she made up for it today,” said co-trainer Andrew Forsman, who was on track for the win. “It panned out a treat. She got a dream run through.

“To win the Ethereal Stakes, with her grandam being Ethereal, is pretty special.”

Whereas Eleonora never saw daylight last time when ridden by Damien Oliver, the combination had everything go right for them today.

After beginning well, Eleonora settled fourth or fifth and Oliver soon had her one-off the rail and travelling nicely. She was then improved approaching the home turn and challenged halfway down the straight and soon drew ahead.

Though Tiamo Grace, from the Darren Weir stable, flashed home late, Eleonora was comfortably in control and won by a length and three-quarters.

While Oliver had all the luck aboard Eleonora today, it was a complete contrast on stablemate Highlad in the Gr.3 Best Bets 3YO Classic.

Highlad was trapped wide at the back of the field and never got close to the inside rail. Midway through the contest he was four and five-wide and improved wide nearing the home turn.

Naturally such a tough run had to tell on the lightly tried three-year-old and when beaten he wasn’t knocked about by Oliver and at the finish he was ninth, almost eight lengths from the winner, Good Standing.