It was two wins from two runners for Phoenix Thoroughbreds as the Dubai-based team celebrated a remarkable cross hemisphere double on Sunday, August 1.
Separated by just shy of 18 hours both Invincible Jet and Forest Caraway impressed to give the owners the perfect start to the new month.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Invincible Jet got the ball rolling as the son of I Am Invincible completed his own double, registering back to back victories thanks to his win at Sandown. Jockey Damien Oliver donned the white and Orange silks of Phoenix on board the horse they race in partnership and he made no mistake on the well-backed favourite.
Arriving at the starting gate off the back of an impressive trial the gelding broke well, but Oliver wasn’t keen to go along with some fast early factions and settled his mount in fourth place in the early stages. It proved to be a shrewd move as it allowed the eventual winner to get a nice tow into the race. Despite noticeably travelling strongly in the home straight, victory was far from insured with Invincible Jet and Oliver trapped against the rail. Using all of his vast experience, the veteran jockey was able to exact himself from a seemingly dire position. Once his partner saw daylight, he willingly stretched away to repel a late challenge and record an excellent looking win.
“He’s a nice horse,” assessed Oliver post-race. “I’ve been trialling him and he’s been trialling well, so we expected a forward showing from him today. There looked as though there would be some pace of paper and there was and I was happy to sit behind a lead or take them along. He’s not really been in behind them before so it was good to see he could do that as well.
“He’s been leading up in his trials but there was a bit more speed in the race today so he could take a trail. Once he got in the clear he quickened up nicely and took some ctaching. He did have one come at him late but her fought that off well.”
The Californian coast was the stunning setting for the second act for the perfect Sunday for Phoenix. Grade One placed filly Forest Caraway made her long-awaited return and she was determined to be in the spotlight. Despite some decent breezes in preparation for her reappearance at Del Mar, Peter Miller’s runner wasn’t top billing in the betting. That looked to be the right call early as she was a little rusty from the gates and found herself briefly in last place. Jockey JJ Hernandez was quick to correct their predicament and soon, the daughter of Winstar’s Bodemeister was behind the leaders. Rounding the turn, Hernandez just asked her to close the gap on the front runner and she cruised into contention. From there, the rider encouraged her ever so gently to draw up alongside the leader and in the blink of an eye, she was past and powering clear for a stunning win.
Previously placed in a Grade One Forest Caraway put in a first-up performance which will have raised the heart rates of her connections in anticipation of what might lie ahead.