Denise’s Joy Stakes Likely For Like Xena

Trainer Anthony Cummings has revealed that promising filly Like Xena is likely to contest the 2015 Denise’s Joy Stakes rather than the Dark Jewel Classic at Scone this weekend.

Christian Reith has been booked to ride Like Xena in the Denise's Joy Stakes at Scone on Saturday. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Christian Reith has been booked to ride Like Xena in the Denise’s Joy Stakes at Scone on Saturday. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Like Xena started her autumn preparation with a second place finish behind Accuse at Rosehill Gardens on April 1 and she recorded her maiden win at Hawkesbury on April 16 before she stamped herself as a filly to follow with a tough front-running effort in the McGrath Estate Agents Handicap (1250m) at Canterbury on April 29.

Cummings told Racing Ahead that he was keen to run Like Xena in a fillies race over 1400 metres, but he said that he could not find a suitable option for the Markane filly and he elected to keep his options open by including the three-year-old in the entries for both the Listed Denise’s Joy Stakes (1100m) and the Group 3 Dark Jewel Classic (1400m).

“What I would like to have is a three-year-old fillies race over 1400, but that doesn’t exist,” Cummings said.

“The way that she won last time spoke very well of her and you would have to think that she would be more comfortable at the slightly longer trip, but you are always better off against your own age and sex I suppose.

“I think that she is a quality filly and I think that she will cope with that.

“She did some work yesterday and she was really bright and well, so I think she would be well-placed in either race, but if we draw a decent gate in the 1100 I would say she would go there.”

Cummings confirmed that he is keen to send Like Xena to Queensland for a 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival campaign and the filly has been included in the nominations for the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) that will be held at Doomben on May 20.

The leading Sydney trainer is confident that Like Xena will get over a staying trip comfortable, but he said that he was forced to cancel plans to run her in the Queensland Oaks after she had a minor issue following her last start win.

“After she ran last time I had a few different thoughts and one of them included the Oaks,” Cummings said.

“Eventually she will get over a trip, but having possessed that turn-of-foot I think that she is well capable at any distance.

“She had a bit of pain in one foot and needed a few easy days, so the thought about stepping up in distance sort of dissolved after that run, but she is 100 percent now.”

The 2015 Denise’s Joy Stakes field will be released tomorrow and it could include the likes of Fine Mist, Onemorezeta, Aerobar, Savoureux, Felines and Donelle.

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Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.