Celebrations could be herd all around Warrnambool on Saturday night when Grace Ali claimed the Group 2 Western Australian Oaks.
Born, bred and owned in Warrnambool by Noel Mugavin, Grace Ali continued what has been a constant love affair with WA feature racing for Noel’s line.
Grace Ali’s mother – Born Ali – claimed the 2014 Group 1 Perth Galaxy (715m), WA’s richest race for stayers. And her older brother, Benali won his second Group 3 Perth Cup Consolation in March this year.
“I did have confidence heading into the Oak’s,” Noel admitted.
“Not confidence to beat Circle Of Dreams ($1.80 favourite), but confidence that she would run a strong placing because she had finally drawn a box inside box five.”
Despite missing the start, Grace Ali camped herself on the rail and utilised her strength to run down the leading and red-hot favourite Circle Of Dreams to claimed the $40,000 first prize.
“She is the kind of dog you want to be on when she draws inside box five,” Noel said.
“In her past 13 starts, she had only drawn inside box five on two occasion. Once, in her first start at Cannington where she finished second and then again in the WA Oaks.”
There is no rush to get Grace Ali back to Victoria, having only won three races she is able to work her way up through the grades for some potentially easy wins.
Grace Ali finds herself in a Novice event (for winners of a Maiden or equivalent event) on Wednesday night at Cannington, race nine box seven.
It’s not just this litter that is has Noel excited for the future, Born Ali’s latest litter to Fernando Bale are nine months old and are looking very good.
“I like the look of these guy so much, I am thinking I will go back to Fernando Bale for Born Ali’s next litter.”