The length of the Flemington straight was on full display at the 2020 Kennedy Oaks, with Personal coming from the back to gradually wear down Montefilia and Salto Angel in the shadows of the post under a ride from Damien Oliver. Here’s what the top five Kennedy Oaks jockeys had to say about their runs.
1st – Personal (Damien Oliver)
The Run: Personal sat in the back half of the field for much of the race, and rounding the bend was one of the widest on the track. She needed almost the entirety of the straight to catch the leaders but, she managed to sneak past Montefilia and Salto Angel with 100 metres to go and extend out to an impressive one-length win.
Jockey Comments: Damien Oliver was glowing in his praise for Personal, calling it a ‘good tough effort’ and a ‘real slog’. He also mentioned what has been an impressive prep but one in which she hadn’t previously been able to earn a victory, saying that she ‘won the one that mattered’.
2nd – Salto Angel (Ben Melham)
The Run: Salto Angel had a similar run to Personal, sitting one spot ahead of the eventual winner for much of the race. Turning into the straight she swung wide and rapidly made ground, and it appeared a race in two between her and Montefilia nearing the post. Salto Angel would win that battle, but unfortunately for her, Personal swept past them both to take it out.
Jockey Comments: Jockey Ben Melham didn’t have a whole lot to say in the wake of the second-place run but nonetheless made reference to the quality of the run. ‘Ran well,’ he said, before summarising his thoughts by saying that she was ‘unlucky to run into a good one on the day’.
3rd – Montefilia (Hugh Bowman)
The Run: The short-priced favourite had one of the runs of the 2020 Kennedy Oaks, sitting in fourth place, one off the fence throughout the run. She worked her way into first with a few hundred metres to go and certainly looked a winning chance, but like Salto Angel, was outclassed by Personal, and also tired as the post neared.
Jockey Comments: Clearly disappointed to fall short on the odds-on favourite, Hugh Bowman wasn’t overly effusive in his post-race thoughts despite what was a fairly good run from Montefilia. All he had to say was that ‘the trip found her out to be honest’, though, in fairness to him, she did appear to run out of gas in the last 50 metres.
4th – Miravalle (Craig Williams)
The Run: Miravalle was given a good ride by jockey Craig Williams, sitting around midfield throughout the race and swinging into the straight on the back of the favourite, Montefilia. She ran on well and ended up well ahead of fifth place, but she was no match for the top three.
Jockey Comments: Craig Williams said he thought that Miravalle had a good chance of ‘toppling the favourites’ in the lead-up to the race. But despite saying that she gave him a ‘good ride throughout’, he ended his thoughts by saying that ‘she wasn’t good enough against these staying fillies today’.
5th – Cafe Rizu (Craig Newitt)
The Run: Cafe Rizu enjoyed a nice run in transit, nestled in against the fence in the back half of the field. Rounding the bend she followed the back of Miravalle and ran on reasonably well, but was a few lengths from the leaders at the post.
Jockey Comments: Craig Newitt was positive in his review of the run post-race, saying that Cafe Rizu ‘ran really well’. However, as is the case with many horses in the gruelling Kennedy Oaks, according to her jockey ‘she just didn’t stay the trip’.
The 2020 Kennedy Oaks came down to the wire, and all of the top three horses looked the winner at some stage nearing the post. But it was Personal who got there in the end, helping Damien Oliver to his sixth win of his career in the premier race for three-year-old fillies in Australia.