Blinkers lift Lady

Trainer Danny O'Brien attributed blinkers and maturing of the Encosta de Lago stock as reasons for the turnaround of Fifth Avenue Lady from a regulation Saturday performer to Group 3 winner yesterday.

Aided by a textbook ride by Damien Oliver, who weaved a path through the field, Fifth Avenue Lady ($3.90 fav) proved too strong for Divine Rebel ($12) in the $200,000 Patinack Farm Stakes (1600m).

Fifth Avenue Lady has won both starts since being fitted with blinkers, but O'Brien was cool about going on to a Sydney campaign.

"She's had a long campaign. I'll speak to (owner) Gerry (Harvey) about it," he said. "But we'll possibly give her a break for the spring."

"The blinkers have definitely improved her. She ran up to win the Sunline Stakes, but she just stargazed and didn't get to the line."

O'Brien said he wasn't fazed when Fifth Avenue Lady was slow away, as she was before her Caulfield win.

"Being ridden a bit cold with blinkers is suiting her," he said.

"It's probably something we've got a bit to work on. And the Encosta de Lago's seem to get better as they get older. She was a nice, honest three-year-old, as a four year-old, she's got better again."

By Tim Habel - Herald Sun

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Photo by Quentin Lang

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