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Commanding Jewel set for Valley return
Mathew Toogood
07:17 AEST Tue Aug 20 2013

Star jockey Craig Williams will get acquainted with Commanding Jewel in a Moonee Valley gallop on Tuesday ahead of the mare's comeback to racing at the same track this weekend.

Last year's Thousand Guineas winner, Commanding Jewel is the headline nomination for Saturday's Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m).

Williams has been called up to partner Commanding Jewel on Saturday with her regular jockey Damien Oliver unable to reunite with the mare until his ban for a betting offence ends next month.

"Craig Williams is going to have a ride on her (on Tuesday morning) and he's riding her on Saturday," trainer Leon Corstens said.

Michael Rodd - the jockey of Commanding Jewel's three-quarter sister Altantic Jewel - was pencilled in for the Carlyon but ruled out after copping a careless riding suspension at Geelong last Friday.

Corstens will assess Commanding Jewel after Tuesday's gallop but expects her to start her spring campaign on Saturday.

Commanding Jewel hasn't raced since the Thousand Guineas last October with injury ruling her out of the autumn.

"It's great to have her back," Corstens said.

"You would expect her to run a very, very reasonable race (on Saturday)."

Commanding Jewel is nominated for the Cox Plate (2040m) and Corstens is hoping she can be his first starter in the nation's premier weight-for-age race.

But he's not getting ahead of himself.

"You take each step as it comes," he said.

"She's never been over a mile-and-a-quarter before and you keep hoping all the time she's going to achieve that."

Corstens is confident the winner of three of her five starts has developed into a better horse than last year.

"She looks very well in herself and she's a lot stronger than she was last year," he said.

"She's furnished into a lovely mare."

Corstens had considered last Saturday's Cockram Stakes (1200m) for Commanding Jewel's return but opted to wait after a jump-out at Flemington in heavy going last Friday week "flattened her for a couple of days".

The Carlyon Stakes, which has attracted 20 nominations, is one of two stakes races on the Moonee Valley program.

New Zealand colt Cauthen, second favourite in Caulfield Guineas betting, is among 12 nominations for the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) and is also scheduled to gallop at the Valley on Tuesday morning.


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