May 21, 2012Invest sworn in as top Oaks contender

Invest sworn in  as top Oaks contender

Tony White – SMH Online

May 20, 2012

Close-run thing ... jockey Peter Mertens gets Invest home in The Roses at Doomben yesterday to avoid a spray from trainer Clarry Conners. The filly returned $7 to punters in the process.Close-run thing … jockey Peter Mertens gets Invest home in The Roses at  Doomben yesterday to avoid a spray from trainer Clarry Conners. The filly  returned $7 to punters in the process. Photo: Tertius Pickard

SYDNEY trainer Clarry Conners admitted to nearly swearing in the grandstand  at jockey Peter Mertens during yesterday’s $175,000 The Roses at Doomben.

Conners was peeved when Mertens took  his filly Invest on a wide course  heading into the straight.

”He lost his compass,” the trainer  said bluntly of Mertens’s navigation in  the group 3 race.  ”I nearly swore at him on the home turn.”

Fortunately for Mertens, Invest fought  on for a dogged short neck win,  saving him from a blast by the  usually affable Conners.

Invest ($7), a last-start winner of the Schweppes Oaks in Adelaide, did best  in a tight finish, edging out Kiwi filly Miss Artistic ($6)  with Gold Coast  Bracelet winner Scorpio Queen, trained by Chris Waller, a half-length away in  third.

All three fillies will  progress to the $400,000 Queensland Oaks (2400  metres) at Eagle Farm on June 2. Conners has won the Oaks twice, with Zagalia in  2003 and Allow in 2006.

”I think she’s a better filly than the other two,” the Warwick Farm-based  trainer enthused said of the  $450,000 Easter Yearling Sales purchase. ”She’s  probably not in the class of  Research but Invest is a filly on the way up.

”That was a pretty courageous win today. It was a very pleasing win.

”The filly has bloomed since arriving in Queensland. She had a stop-over  twice on the way back from South Australia but we got her up pretty quickly to  settle in.

”She needed that today. This run should top her right off for the Oaks. As I  said, she’s done very well up here. So far everything has gone to plan.”

Conners said Invest’s development had meant several changes of gear and  training routines.

”We’ve just fiddled  around with a few different things,”  he  said. ”She  used to pull a lot [in her races] but she’s settled down. Having the same jockey  on has also helped.”

Conners has patiently nursed Invest, giving the Newhaven Park Stud-owned  daughter of  the US shuttle stallion Dehere time to develop and mature.

”I always thought she would stay,” Conners said.

”We’ve just taken our time. Her run before the [Schweppes] Oaks [in  Adelaide], she should have won, too. She pulled hard and was wide all the  way.

”Probably the only thing holding her back a little is her size, she’s only  small in stature and that doesn’t normally help staying fillies. But one thing  she has got is a big heart.”

Sydney premier trainer Waller was happy enough with Scorpio Queen’s run from  an Oaks point of view, jockey Nash Rawiller suggesting she did not have the best  of luck when it was needed.

The disappointment of yesterday’s race was the well-backed $4.60 favourite  Angel Of Mercy, which finished sixth with Melbourne Cup-winning hoop Corey Brown  on board.


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