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By Graham Potter | Thursday, June 30, 2022

Just as David Vandyke had kicked off June with a winner on the opening day of the month, so too did the stable round off the month with a winner on the last day of June when Jewel Flight saluted in a Maiden Plate over 2500m at Ipswich on June 30.

It has taken a lot of patience to get Jewel Flight to the winners’ enclosure.

The four-year-old daughter of Zacinto had no less than five trials from January 2021 to September 2021 before making her debut on September 22, 2021, where she claimed third place. A runner-up finish was to follow, after which she was given a brief freshen up before again filling third place in her third start on November 17, 2021.

The stable then elected to take Jewel Flight away from race action again. It was four-and-a-half months before she reappeared, finishing unplaced (for the first time) first up over 1400m.

But that was just a stepping-stone.

Vandyke increased the distance test to 1600 for Jewel Flight second-up. That, and the fitness benefit taken out of her first-up run, produced the expected progressive improvement, with the mare finished in fourth place. Both of these runs since resuming were on heavy going.

Another step up in distance …. another improvement. This time the race was 1800m on soft going and Jewel Flight’s close-up second place, just a length behind the winner, seemed to suggest that Jewel Flight’s form was starting to build momentum … and that impression was confirmed in the June 30 start at Ipswich.

This time it was a big jump in distance … from 1800m to 2500m … but that held no fears for punters who sent the Vandyke trained runner out as the $1.80 favourite.

Jewel Flight was held a little wide in the run to the first turn, but she was right up with the speed, now one back and one off, when the field turned into the home straight for the first time. By the time the field left the straight, Jewel Flight sat in second place, just a length off the leader Royal George ($21) with Mr Reddington ($26) and Port Mourant (the $3.50 second favourite) both just in behind that.

These four runners held station all the way down the back straight and then into the start of the sweep to the home turn where Port Mourant was the first to make a move, striding up three wide to try and challenge the two leaders.

The race for the honours really went on in earnest early in the home straight with Jim Byrne pushing Jewel Flight past Royal George and into a narrow lead, but Royal George wasn’t going away.

The long-time leader was still kicking on well along the inside running rail and, with Port Mourant continuing her run to Jewel Flight’s outside, the Vandyke trained runner had to stay very committed to his task to maintain her advantage … which she did under hard riding from Byrne to score by a diminishing 0.20 lengths from Port Mourant.

That all important first win was now in the bank.

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Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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