Music Bay, ridden by Craig Williams (Image: Racing Photos/Natasha Morello)

Music Bay, ridden by Craig Williams (Image: Racing Photos/Natasha Morello)

Stokes reaches century

Trainer Phillip Stokes welcomed in his 100th winner for the season when quality mare Music Bay thrashed her rivals in the Leilani Series Final (1400m) for mares at Flemington on Saturday.

The trainer with bases at Pakenham and in Adelaide became the 16th trainer in Australia to register a century of winners with nearly four weeks of the season remaining.

Stokes said he was pleased to reach the milestone with his Group 2-winning mare Music Bay, who only just failed to make it to the big time due to a series of niggling feet issues, but he said he felt sure she would make a big success of her new career that she will embark on this spring.

Stokes added he was toying with the idea of giving her one more run before the sale to make her look even more enticing to potential owners.

"This is a very rewarding win this," Stokes said.

"She’s going better than it looks and she’s going to the broodmare sales on the Gold Coast and I said ‘let’s just roll the dice one more time’ and it’s paid off."

Starting at $11 Music Bay sat second for much of the journey until her rider Craig Williams slipped her clear inside the 400-metre mark to establish a winning break. On the line she held a two and three quarter length margin over La Tigeresa ($2.90 favourite) with a neck to the outsider Soaring Eagle ($41) in third place.

It was the fifth win from 22 starts for the Choisir mare, who has earnings of about $420,000.

The win registered a double for Williams, who won the previous race the Listed All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m) on the comeback horse Lord Von Costa ($9.50). 

Lord Von Costa has overcome two bowed tendons to score a third win at headquarters four years to the day since his first win at Flemington in the Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes (1200m) for three-year-olds.

The double extended Williams' lead over Damien Oliver to 10 wins in the race for the Melbourne jockeys' premiership.