Shalwa wins Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes

Shalwa on her way to winning the Listed Helen Coughlan Fillies and Mares Plate at Doomben. Photo: Grant Peters

Five-year-old mare Shalwa (NZ) (O’Reilly) has led in a stable quinella for Brisbane’s premier trainer Tony Gollan with her first stakes victory in the Listed Helen Coughlan Stakes (1350m) at Doomben.

The 1350m race for fillies and mares offered a ballot exemption to the winner into next Saturday’s Stradbroke Handicap but Shalwa is not among the nominations for the Group One race.

Gollan had pinpointed the Helen Coughlan Stakes as a winnable stake race option for the mare whose previous best result at black-type level was a second in the Listed Just Now Quality over the same course and distance in December.

“Definitely never had any real thoughts about the Stradbroke with her. It probably wouldn’t be ideal anyway, she’s probably not that grade,” Gollan said.

“But this was always her sort of race to really set her for in the carnival. She loves Doomben and loves 1350 metres.

“It panned out that she was going to probably be able to control the speed outside the lead and she’s just been racing so well.

“I think she had her first start this prep in September so she’s done a great job to continue on till now.”

Ready To Prophet (Smart Missile) led Saturday’s race with $5 favourite Shalwa sitting just off her to her outside before taking over in the straight approaching the 200m under Baylee Nothdurft.

Krone (Eurozone) was charging late but Shalwa held on to score by a neck with Sydney mare Jen Rules (Redoute’s Choice) also closing strongly to finish another three quarters of a length away third.

Shalwa had been freshened after a close third over 1600m at Doomben four weeks earlier and Gollan said the mare, who has now won seven of her 22 starts, had been a model of consistency since he removed the blinkers from her four starts ago.

“I’m just so proud of her. She never really runs a bad race,” he said.

“She always turns up. There’s not a lot of her but she just puts herself in a winning position and really gives a good kick.”

Shalwa is now likely to be aimed at the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1350m) at Ipswich on July 18.

She initially raced for her breeder Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum and was placed in a trial for Stephen McKee before transferring to Mick Price, for whom she was a winner.

Shalwa was later purchased by bloodstock agent Sheamus Mills, who previously worked for Price.

The mare is the 96th stakes winner for her late sire O’Reilly, with Shalwa out of the placed Elusive Quality mare Futoon, a daughter dual Group One winner Flitter. 

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