O'Brien looking for stakes win for the Lady

Despite a sluggish start, Fifth Avenue Lady was able to continue her good form of late in the Redoute's Choice Cup (1600m) for Fillies and Mares at Caulfield yesterday.

Usually settling forward of midfield, Fifth Avenue Lady missed the start by two lengths and was forced to settle at the rear of the field.

Connections attributed her poor manners due to wearing the blinkers for the first time.

"Just threw the blinkers on first time and she hesitated at the start, that's all she did," jockey Damien Oliver said.

Assistant trainer at the Danny O'Brien stable, Gino Mata, said there was always a risk Fifth Avenue Lady would bomb the start with the blinkers first time.

"When horses are wearing blinkers for the first time they either do one of two things, they either dwell at the start or ping out."

With Partiva and Blacken setting a genuine tempo upfront, it ensured the race was run to suit the backmarkers, small consolation for Oliver.

Ibrahim Gundogdu (Partiva) and Craig Newitt (Blacken) both seemed to scout wide on the home turn looking to get away from the fence.

This allowed gaps to appear in the field with Oliver winding up from the rear to pick and choose runs between horses.

Running her last 400m one second quicker than any competitor (22.89), Fifth Avenue Lady hit the lead full of running inside the last 150m to win convincingly.

In the run to the line, Fifth Avenue Lady ($2.90 fav) defeated Divine Rebel ($8) by two-and- a-quarter lengths with Partiva ($5.50) a further three quarters of a length away in third.

Mata was full of praise for Oliver with his perfectly calculated ride when adapting to Plan B.

"Lucky when the pace was on Damien was able to find the gaps and away she went," Mata said.

Oliver was equally relived with the genuine tempo upfront.

"I wasn't real happy at the start because I expected to be in the one-one but the race panned out nicely for her," Oliver said.

Finishing third in the Group 2 Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley, Fifth Avenue Lady is on the brink of gaining some much deserved black-type. Mata isn't sure where the mare will race next however they are plenty of options available.

The $201,000 Schweppervescence Trophy (1400m) at Group 3 level next week at Flemington might entice connections to back up the mare while the South Australian carnival is also on the radar.

"Well she is black-type placed already and if we can get a black-type win it would be even better."

"I don't know what options there are, whether we choose to back her up next week I'm not sure. There is also the Adelaide carnival which could be an easier option for her. Danny and Mr. Harvey will go through the program and see where she is most suited," Mata said.

Fifth Avenue Lady is a half sister to Miss Judgement, another talented mare who was able to win the Group 3 How Now Stakes (1200m) and Listed Century Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

Six attempts at Group 1 and 2 level proved fruitless for Miss Judgement with the mare unable to place on all occasions.

Fifth Avenue Lady has five wins and six placings from 16 starts taking her prizemoney in excess of $160,000.

Story by the Virtual Form Guide

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Photo by Quentin Lang

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