By Daniel Franklin
MAP: Eagle Farm 4009
Pat Carey is known as a master trainer of stayers, and his patience was rewarded yet again with Gondokoro winning the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm in Brisbane.
Carey has a great relationship with stable jockey Rhys McLeod and his ride aboard Gondokoro was more than worthy of a Group One victory.
McLeod tracked $2.90 favourite Dear Demi early, before continuing to save ground on the fence and finding clear running in the straight.
With the help of her stout Zabeel bloodlines, Gondokoro ($4.40) proved the superior stayer in the slow conditions to finish 2-3/4 lengths clear of Miss Zenella ($9) and Vaquera ($10) in third.
"She's a very strong staying filly and she can only improve in time as she furnishes out and develops," Carey said.
1 – Gondokoro 56.5kg $4.40
T: Pat Carey
J: Rhys McLeod
2 – Miss Zenella 56.5kg $9
T: Peter Moody
J: Luke Nolen
3 – Vaquera 56.5kg $10
T: Gai Waterhouse
J: Michael Rodd
Margins: 2-3/4 len x 2 len
Time: 2:32.17 Last 600m: 36.40
"We're focused on the autumn with her but we'll see what (owner) Trevor (Delroy) wants to do with her in the spring, but we've still got a lot of time to develop her and we'll try and use that properly.
"I thought it was just a perfect ride."
Gondokoro is not likely to back up against the boys in the Derby next week, and Carey is not rushing to make a decision on whether the filly will be set on a Cups campaign this spring.
"We won't make any sort of plans until we sit down and let the dust settle and that's always been our method of operation," he said.
The great patience of Carey has seen him taste feature-race success with his stayers, including wins by the ill-fated Cedarberg in the BMW, Ethiopia in the Australian Derby, and the Victoria Oaks with Arapaho Miss.
The Oaks was only Gondokoro's second win from 13 starts and improves on her third placing in the Australian Oaks at Randwick in April.
While Gondokoro was on top of her game on the slow track, the same could not be said for her older full brother Zabeelionaire, who finished last behind Quintessential in the Eagle Farm Cup (2,200m) earlier in the program.
It was a fourth Group One for McLeod, who modestly downplayed his role in Gondokoro's win.
"From barrier one we needed a bit of luck, and we got it, but in saying that she made it easy for me," he said.
Miss Zenella proved she had a future as a staying mare with a brave run to finish second, while Vaquera ran to the line boldly from the back of the field.
Dear Demi raced midfield ahead of Gondokoro but raced ungenerously at times with the blinkers back on and she never looked a winning chance in the straight.