Coolangatta cannot be caught in the Moir Stakes

Image: Bruno Cannatelli

Coolangatta led to win the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley

Ciaron Maher and David Eustace proved the doubters wrong as Coolangatta held on to win the Group 1 Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley.

Coolangatta was preparing for her sixth start in Friday night’s 1000m, taking on the lights of Moonee Valley for the first time alongside more seasoned, older sprinters.

But Coolangatta took full advantage of his weight advantage, gaining at least 6.5kg from the nearest horse in the weight.

Coolangatta ($6.50) scored by a head from stablemate Bella Nipotina $19) and Zoustyle ($13) was third by a further 1-¼ lengths.

After campaigning in NSW and Queensland as a two-year-old, Coolangatta made her Melbourne debut and finished third in the Group 2 McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on 3 September.

After Coolangatta held off her stablemate Bella Nipotina, Maher said there was some doubt about the wisdom of the stable running the three-year-old filly in Group 1 company.

“I was very confident in the horse and knowing how she stopped yesterday, I knew she had a tough run but she pulled very well,” Maher said.

“She was very suitable to go into it.

“It was a great drive from Jamie. There aren’t too many jockeys who can ride 50 (kg) and ride as well as she does at any weight.

“I thought she was going to sit behind one, but she took the initiative, took the luck out of the race.

Maher said the stablemates were likely to meet again in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on October 21.

He said the 1200m would benefit Belle Nipotina but saw no reason why the winner couldn’t stretch.

“There’s not much she can’t do. I’m sure Jamie would like to ride her again,” said Maher.

“We’ll see how she picks up but she’s a big tick and if she’s done nothing else in this prep she’s a mature filly and it’s been a big effort and a lot of excitement.”

Kah said getting up to 50kg to ride at Coolangatta was well worth the effort while breaking a losing streak at Group 1 level for the jockey.

She said it’s hard to win Group 1 races, but when you ride horses for Maher and Eustace, you know they’re very capable.

“That’s all I wanted to do, that’s what got me,” Kah said.

“I wanted to come back and ride a Group 1 winner. It’s hard to win.

“I’ve been on some nice guys lately and I just (need) luck.

“I’m more than happy.

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