Pregnant mare a ‘street’ ahead of her rivals

Julia Presits guided the Sarah Murray-Leslie trained Denim Street to victory in the 1200m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Cooma on Saturday. Photo: Bradley Photos.

Impending motherhood is no barrier to success with mares!

At least that’s the case with nine-year-old mare Denim Street, who won her ninth race when a comprehensive winner at a non-TAB meeting at Cooma last Saturday.

Her runaway margin of nearly six lengths was the biggest of her 69-start career, and her trainer Sarah Murray-Leslie is adamant the old mare’s pregnancy has a lot to do with such domination of her four rivals.

“Denim Street is pregnant to the stallion Super One, and it has made such a difference to her barrier manners,” Murray-Leslie said this morning.

“Whereas she could go mad in the barriers before, she stood there like a lamb at Cooma.

“I know it wasn’t a TAB meeting, but she went enormous.”

Ridden by 27-year-old Swedish apprentice Julia Presits, who now calls Australia home, Denim Street ($3.20 co-favorite) trounced George Two ($5) and Hamish Street ($4) in the Benchmark 50 Handicap (1200m).

It seems all tracks come alike to Denim Street. She has now won twice at Cooma, and her seven other victories have come at Gosford, Nowra, Cowra, Goulburn, Gundagai, Queanbeyan and Forbes.

Murray-Leslie certainly has the key to the well-named daughter of Street Sense, who is the last foal of her 21-year-old dam Running Jeans.

She has prepared Denim Street for all but two of those nine victories; the mare having been with four trainers at various stages of her career.

Denim Street kicked off with Greg Hickman at Warwick Farm and took nine starts before breaking though at Gosford on June 1, 2017.

She made it two in a row when successful at Nowra a fortnight later.

“Denim Street is a bit of a freak,” Murray-Leslie said. “She is quirky and has had that problem with the barriers, but is athletic and very sound and I love her.

“After she ran a record in winning over 1100m at Forbes on October 9 (Presits also was in the saddle that day), she was beaten at her next three starts, but wasn’t far away.

“I found I wasn’t working her hard enough, obviously being a little fatter inside, not that I leave it all on the track with my horses.

“But she has really responded since I stepped up her work, and she was brilliant at Cooma.”

Murray-Leslie trains Denim Street for her breeder Gary McDonald, and knows the mare’s racing career is coming to an end.

“I won’t start her again after December 22 when she will be three months’ pregnant, but would like to give her at least one more run,” she said.

“There is a nice race for her on the inside (Beaumont) track at Newcastle next Monday, and it’s a TAB meeting. We might go there.”

Whilst she will be understandably sad to see Denim Street’s racing days finish, she is also looking forward to welcoming her first foal next year.

“There was a service to Super One put up for auction, and we made sure we didn’t miss out on it,” Murray-Leslie said.

“Denim Street will stay with me after she has her last race, and I’ll look after her and foal her down when the time comes.”

Murray-Leslie has 11 racehorses in work on her 26-acre property at Exeter (about 60km from Goulburn) in the Southern Highlands.

Following her success with Denim Street at Cooma, she was on the road again yesterday, this time to Nowra for the Showcase Cup meeting.

Whilst Murray-Leslie couldn’t clinch a weekend double, she was nonetheless delighted with the performance of four-year-old Dundeel mare Gisabelle, who ran third at $81 in the Maiden Plate (1400m).

“That was only her third start, and a big improvement on her first-up unplaced performance at Wagga when I expected her to go better,” she said.”

Like Denim Street, Gisabelle also has had three other trainers. An omen there perhaps?