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By Graham Potter | Saturday, April 9, 2022

The $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks was contested on an extremely heavy racing surface at Randwick on April 9.

The David Vandyke trained Gypsy Goddess was solid in the betting as the $4 second favourite behind the Chris Waller trained Hinged ($3.80), who had beaten Gypsy Goddess home by over four lengths when the two horses last clashed in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes over 1850m at Newcastle on two weeks earlier.

On that occasion, in a race won by the well performed Fangirl, who was winning for the fifth time in ten starts, Gypsy Goddess was ridden well back in the second half of the field while Hinged raced up with the speed and, although Gypsy Goddess halved the margin between herself and Hinged at the line, the overall task from where Gypsy Goddess had been positioned was a bridge too far on the day.

In the Australian Oaks, Gypsy Goddess would bring a different game-plan to the table.

Punched out of the gates from barrier 10 by Willie Pike, Gypsy Goddess was quickly up racing two out, almost alongside the early leader Gin Martini (a $91 outsider).

When Commando Drift pushed forward on Gypsy Goddess’s outside to join Gin Martini going down the back stretch, Pike let that one go, and settled into a comfortable third spot … and then fourth … as El Patroness ($26) railed up along her inside, with Pike still ensuring that Gypsy Goddess remained no more than a couple of lengths off the leader.

The four leaders held their positions until approaching the 600m mark where the race went on in earnest.

Commando Drift had enough and quickly dropped back through the field … but Gin Martini was kicking on well and El Patroness now accelerated into the clear air left by Commando Drift’s departure, while Gypsy Goddess was still right there … three wide … and looking very much a lively winning prospect as the field turned into the home straight.

Gun Martini was quickly under the whip. By contrast El Patroness was full of running and the Danny O’Brien trained filly eased to the head of affairs, still under a hand and heels ride by Damian Lane.

As El Patroness made what would turn out to be a winning move, Gypsy Goddess couldn’t quite match El Patroness’s forward momentum in that moment, which meant she would be left chasing hard to make up what was now a two length margin between herself and the new leader.

But chase she did.

At a time when it was easier to go backwards than forward in the strength sapping ground … remember, Gypsy Goddess had done plenty of work early on … Gypsy Goddess kept coming and, while it became apparent halfway up the straight that El Patroness was going too well to be denied victory, Gypsy Goddess was holding her ground well enough to make certain of a highly creditable second placing.

It should also be remembered that, because of the huge amount of rainfall in Sydney during the week, every runner in the race would have suffered an interrupted work routine of some sort leading into Australian Oaks, which made the sterling efforts of the first three runners to cross the line (Gin Martini stayed on for third) even more impressive in the testing conditions.

The second place prize-money of $170 000 means that Gypsy Goddess has taken her prize-money earning to $525 300 from only seven starts.

She remains unbeaten except in Group 1 company and her two starts at the elite level have yielded a pleasing third place (in the Vinery) and a second place (in the Australian Oaks.

There is not much more you can ask for than that from a runner who, in essence, is still learning her trade.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Gypsy Goddess

Photos: Graham Potter
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