Shoals has right royal look about her

Royal Ascot is calling Australia's best filly Shoals after she won her third group 1 for the season in the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.

The Fastnet Rock filly has now beaten the older mares twice, having won the Myer Classic in the spring.

Ascot calling: Tim Clark guides Shoals to victory in the Robert Sangster Stakes.

She returned to win the first running of the Surround Stakes at group 1 level against the fillies at Randwick in the autumn.

But a neck injury suffered when she was a given a needle by a vet as part of her recovery from that win threatened to finish her career.

Trainer Michael Freedman was able to nurse her back to health, and Shoals ($11) was simply too good for the older mares again on Saturday, despite jumping from the outside barrier.

Shoals is now likely  to follow the same path as Black Caviar did five years ago to the group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the Royal Ascot carnival in June.

"She is an outstanding filly. She has won three group 1s from 10 starts and was dominant today in a very good race,”  Freedman said. "She has gone up a couple of levels, and we will give Royal Ascot a lot of thought.

"I will have to speak to the two Johns – Munz and Messara.

"If the decision is made to go, that would be her last run in Australia and she will probably fly out at the end of May.”

Happy as Harry

Jockey Harry Coffey claimed an emotional win on Sopressa ($6) in the group 1 Australasian Oaks at Morphettville on Saturday.

The 22-year-old has overcome adversity to follow his dream to be a jockey, undergoing regular treatment throughout his life for cystic fibrosis.

Saturday's win was also an emotional one for leading trainer Darren Weir, who began his stellar career in racing with Harry's father, trainer Austy Coffey, who is based at Swan Hill in country Victoria.

"For Harry to even be riding, and for me to give him his first group 1 winner, is great," Weir said. "The Coffey family has been unbelievable to me all through my career.

“It's been told before, but that's how I got into racing – with Austy Coffey.

"Obviously I've known Harry ever since he was born and followed his illness as well.

"I'm so happy for Harry."

Never give up

Kris Lees might need to have more faith in his talented two-year-olds after admitting he had “given up” on Gem Song on turning for home in the TAB Rewards Handicap at Rosehill on Saturday.

Like Graff, which won the Clarendon Stakes at Hawkesbury, Gem Song ($4.20) was back in the field and came off the bit before the turn before finishing strongly to run down Miss Invincible.

“It is the second week in a row I gave one away on the turn and it has won,” Lees said. “He is very nice horse, and how he pulls up will decide if to goes to Brisbane or for a spell.

“I think he is going to be even better with a bit of time.”

Punters were lamenting the favourite Roosevelt, which was backed from $4 on Wedneday to start $1.90 but only beat one home. He was found to be lame after the race.

Jason Collett pleaded guilty to careless riding on Gem Song when he came out on acute angle in the straight and crashed into Knockout Girl. He was suspended for five meetings.

J-Mac's live hope

James McDonald returns later this month and he might have his first group 1 ride pencilled in after Live And Free was an impressive winner over 1500m at Rosehill on Saturday.

McDonald has been riding barrier trials and the John O’Shea-trained Live And Free was one of many he has been pushing around for practice.

Under Rachel King at Rosehill, Live And Free ($6.50) raced to a 3-1/4 length win from Primitivo. O'Shea is aiming him at the Queensland Derby, where his price was slashed from $51 to $15 after the win.

“There is still a lot of improvement in him and the further they go the better for him,” O’Shea said. “He will run in three weeks in Sydney over 2000m and then on to the derby. He can take up a position and has a turn of foot, so the 2200m at Doomben should suit him.” with AAP

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