Champion young pacer Sensational Gabby gave notice she is ready to beat Australasia's best three-year-old fillies by brilliantly winning last night's $150,000 Gannon's WA Oaks (2506m) at Gloucester Park.
The $1.04 favourite led nearly all the way to score by 13.5m from Southern Legacy ($59.20), with four metres to third placegetter Talk About Mach ($78.50).
Connections confirmed Sensational Gabby would be headed towards tackling the best fillies from Australia and New Zealand in a $181,000 Breeders' Crown final (2240m) in Melbourne on August 19.
Sensational Gabby has won at 16 of 18 starts and earned stakes of almost $330,000.
She gave champion reinsman Chris Lewis his fourth WA Oaks win.
"She was not fully extended and is a very special filly," Lewis said.
"Last season she was very speedy over 1600m and there were doubts if she would stay 2500m in an Oaks.
"But she's come through with flying colours and big credit goes to her trainer Greg Schofield.
"I must admit Sensational Gabby was not easy to steer as an early two-year-old but Greg got her racing more truly. His education of Sensational Gabby has made her equally good whether she sets the pace, races outside the leader or runs on from back in the field.
"Greg has also developed the filly's stamina."
The Oaks preparation has not been all plain sailing for Schofield since bruising flared in Sensational Gabby's near fore hoof three months ago.
She needed 10 weeks off racing and Schofield regularly waded her in the ocean to clear bruising.
She went in to the Oaks third up after her enforced spell.
Schofield said in his trophy acceptance speech the training of Sensational Gabby was a team effort.
"My wife Teresa takes an important role in the filly's preparation," Schofield said.Sensational Gabby is raced by a syndicate and most of its members bought her dam Lite Jewel for racing eight years ago.
Do the Eagles get away with ducking when tackled?Vote
Do you have a story for us to investigate?
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.