Coolmore’s luck changes after Melbourne Cup disaster and Oliver lands sixth VRC Oaks

Melbourne Cup day ended in frustration and tragedy for Coolmore but Oaks Day showed how quickly fortunes can turn in racing.

Unleashed by Damien Oliver at the clocktower, the Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes-trained Personal outstayed her rivals to deliver the champion rider his sixth VRC Oaks and his second in succession after taking out the 2019 edition on Miami Bound.

But more significantly it was a first Group 1 for the co-training duo of young Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig since David Hayes departed recently to take up residency in Hong Kong.

“They delivered the goods. Probably gave me as big a thrill as any of my Group 1 wins. It was a great achievement from them and the whole team,” a visibly proud David Hayes said from Hong Kong.

Coolmore lost its 2019 Epsom Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in a tragic accident in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup while the stable’s other runner Tiger Moth finished a long neck from giving Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien his maiden win in the great race.

However, the Australian arm of Coolmore’s worldwide operation provided a boost for the team two days later with Personal simply outstaying her rivals in the VRC Oaks.

Personal found the Adelaide filly Victoria Quay too strong in last Saturday’s Wakeful Stakes. However, Victoria Quay’s absence and a change of riding tactics contributed to Personal’s improvement in the $1 million Oaks.

Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes after winning the Kennedy Oaks with Personal. Scott Barbour/Racing Photos via Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Damien Oliver let Personal ($6) settle in the second half of the field before his cool timing gave Personal the last crack at the fading leaders Salto Angel ($21) and the $1.80 favourite Montefilia to win his sixth VRC Oaks.

“It was a good tough effort. It was a real slog, the last four or five hundred metres with the second and third horses,” Oliver said.

“The second and third horses seemed to have my measure early in the straight, but she outstayed them in the end. She was really tough.”

The first Group 1 win for Lindsay Park since the departure of David Hayes delivered much excitement for Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, the two now in charge of the Euroa operation.

“It’s so good to do it with Tom and I know that Dad back in Hong Kong would be super excited,” Ben Hayes said.

Montefilia’s jockey Hugh Bowman gave her every chance to see out the 2500m of the VRC Oaks. The David Payne-trained filly travelled behind the leaders before Bowman took her wider to avoid a tiring runner at the 500m.

Montefilia saw out 2400m of the gruelling journey but the last 100m was beyond her.

“I think the trip found her out to be honest,” Bowman said.

Danny O’Brien went within 1¼ lengths of back-to-back wins in the VRC Oaks with Salto Angel’s game second.

“She’s been beaten by the better filly on the day,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve had this race in mind for 12 months and she’s got here on the day and performed, but unfortunately we’ve run second.”

Originally published asIt’s about Oliver and Coolmore in VRC Oaks

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