Godolphin's Imperial Gesture upset stablemate Tempera in Saturday's Melbourne Racing Club UAE Oaks at Nad Al Sheba. The 3-year-old daughter of Langfuhr completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.61, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) winner.
With Seba finishing six lengths back in third, Godolphin swept the top three finishing positions. E B's Sweep and Hot Dinar completed the order of finish.
Godolphin's top jockey Frankie Dettori rode the winner, with American David Flores aboard Tempera. Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said both fillies may contst the Kentucky Oaks.
"Imperial Gesture was impressive and we were really pleased with her. She will go straight to the Kentucky Oaks," Crisford said. "We were delighted with the way Tempera ran. Her last effort was clearly very disappointing and today she has run a really good race. We think she can improve further on that and she may well go for the Kentucky Oaks as well.
"David Flores was impressed with Tempera and said she was every bit as good as she was last year. So we are heading to Kentucky -- the chances are that both fillies will be aimed at the Kentucky Oaks."
Dettori was pleased with the performance of the winner, who led all the way.
"Imperial Gesture had a big frame as a two-year-old and during the winter she has really filled out," the rider said. "I'm pretty excited as now we can go to Kentucky with a good shot."
Imperial Gesture improved her career record to three wins from six career starts with the win. The Saeed bin Suroor trainee remains undefeated from two starts as a 3-year-old, having romped to a nine-length win in the Moonshell Mile in her seasonal debut. As a juvenile, Imperial Gesture finished second in both the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. I). John R. Gaines Thoroughbreds and De De McGehee bred Imperial Gesture in Kentucky. She was purchased for $350,000 as a weanling.
Godolphin also swept the top three spots on two other races on the card. Expect, Dubai Tiger, and Janadel finished 1-2-3 in the Emirates Airline Al Bastikiya and Burnt Ember, Lunar Sovereign, and Onofowaan filled the top three spots in the seven-furlong Crown Towers Melbourne Plate. (Chart, Emirates Racing Association