Miami Bound (NZ) (Reliable Man) gave her connections the thrill of a lifetime when winning the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) at Flemington last year, but the New Zealand-bred mare now has the opportunity to usurp that moment at the Melbourne track on Tuesday-week.
The daughter of Westbury Stud stallion Reliable Man cemented her place in the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with an impressive display when taking out the Gr.2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) on Saturday.
The four-year-old mare settled off the pace from barrier four and had all 11 of her rivals ahead of her with 650m to run, however, she soon got on the back of an improving Shared Ambition and drew level with the Chris Waller-trained runner with 200m to go.
Miami Bound then answered the urgings of jockey Jamie Kah and surged away to a 2-1/2 length victory.
Trainer Danny O’Brien was thrilled with the win and said the rain-affected track and distance suited his mare.
“She’s a much better horse when she gets out in distance, a mile and a half at least, and she grows another leg on the Soft (tracks),” he said.
“There were a few things in our favour, but we are thrilled to see her win today.
“She gave us a great thrill last spring in the Oaks and it’s still a big effort to come back here and beat the boys in the Moonee Valley Cup.”
Miami Bound had been unplaced in all four of her previous starts this spring and O’Brien said the track conditions and distances were not ideal.
“We have been very happy with her all spring but she has been running on firm tracks and probably unsuitable distances. She was okay the other day in the Herbert Power (Gr.3, 2400m), but that was on a Good3.
“It was a Soft7 today and she grew another leg. She was never going to get beaten.”
Miami Bound will now head to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 3 where she will carry 51kg.
“She will definitely be an acceptor (for the Melbourne Cup) now,” O’Brien said. “She has won that impressively and when you are that close to her it is pretty hard not to run.
“It has been difficult for those fillies who have won an Oaks to come back and win a Melbourne Cup, I don’t think it has happened for 30 or 40 years, but we will be there on the first Tuesday (of November) and giving it a crack.” Miami Bound was purchased by O’Brien out of Westbury Stud’s 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft for $120,000.