Zoutori (muddle) winning the Gilgai Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
Melbourne's leading rider, Jamie Kah, celebrated the news of her first Cups bookings with a brilliantly timed ride to win the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes down Flemington's famous straight course on the ever-improving Zoutori on Saturday.
Zoutori flew late closest to the inside to add the Gilgai to the Bobbie Lewis Quality he collected over the straight course first-up.
For Kah, the feature-race win came on the heels of her booking for Prince Of Arran for both the Caulfield and Lexus Melbourne Cups, with the two-time Lexus Melbourne Cup stayer arriving safely in Melbourne overnight.
As for Zoutori, Kah can also look forward to a possible G1 this spring, with co-trainer Mat Ellerton suggesting the proven sprinter might rise to 1600m in the Cantala Stakes over the Flemington Carnival.
Zoutori certainly was strong on the line as, at odds of $5.50, he ran down Dollar For Dollar ($7.50) and Kemalpasa ($21) in a tight finish.
Kementari loomed to win with 200m to go, but again faded for fourth, just in front of The Everest-bound pair Tofane and Santa Ana Lane.
Kah said she was delighted with the way the gelding wanted the victory.
"He had to really fight for it today," she said. "There were some nice horses around him, but he was very, very strong.
"Dollars (Dollar For Dollar) is a hard horse to get past - I've never had to chase him down before. He was probably peaking late but he stuck his nose out and did enough."
The 25-year-old said she felt Zoutori could successfully rise in distance.
"The way he travelled today I jumped out quite cold on him just to get him to settle, and he could've switched off even more, so that's a positive for going further," she said.
As for her upcoming Cups rider on the import Prince of Arran, Kah said: "It's a great thrill. I had a couple of options, but he was just the way to go in the end. He's been here before, he's proven and I'm really excited to be riding him.
"(I) had been in discussions for a few weeks but he (trainer Charlie Fellowes) just wanted to wait until he came over before announcing it today. It's really exciting.
"He's going to keep his normal rider on to do the gallops but he said I can pop down and do a few days slow work with him and get used to him and I'm really looking forward to it."