Turaath winning at Flemington (Image: Racing Photos)
Turaath has put herself in line for a $1.6 million pay day after the English-bred mare extended her winning run in Melbourne to four with a gusty victory in the Group 2 Let's Elope Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
The Maddie Raymond-trained mare overcame a wide run and some worthy rivals to score in what is the first leg of a new $1m bonus for mares who win the Let's Elope and follow it with victory in the $1m G1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on October 30.
In quite an extraordinary performance, Turaath managed to race wide for the majority of the 1400-metre race but still kicked clear inside the 200-metre mark to establish a winning break.
On the line, Turaath ($5.50) was a length-and-three-quarters clear of Mystic Journey ($14), who finished on from the rear, with fellow Tasmanian mare Still A Sar ($6) a neck away in third.
The win registered a treble for jockey Damian Lane, after earlier Flemington victories aboard Tooradin (Race 1) and Harbour Views (Race 5).
"I'm still shaking," Raymond said after her first Stakes success as a trainer. "I had to catch my breath coming down here. I'm super excited.
"She's such a tough mare. She didn't do it easy again. She sat out wide with no cover and she was rock-hard fit and super competitive.
"She stepped just half a stride slow. We did think she'd settle wide with cover, which didn't work out either. She was super fit going into it. Such a tough, honest horse.
"We've been looking for a reason not to come (to the races today) and give her a break but she's so tough. If anything, you treat her like a colt. She eats well, she thrives off her work and she's shown that today."
WATCH: Turaath's win
Raymond said that although she is concerned the mare has been up for a while, she will look at stepping her to 1600 metres for the first time in the Empire Rose.
"The way she relaxed today - even in the mounting yard and out the back - she's definitely improving," she said.
Lane explained that he'd never ridden the mare before but did expect her to lead.
"She normally flies the gates and everyone was probably expecting her to lead, but it didn't eventuate and I let her cruise through her gears and she sat third," he said.
"I was always confident in the run that I had plenty in the locker."
$4 favourite Instant Celebrity got a long way back and while she did make some ground late for sixth place, vets later revealed she had mucus on the scope following the race.