“We are just overwhelmed. The week it’s been, to pick up the Kennedy Oaks, it’s a dream and to do it with the Hayes team … I think it’s absolutely fantastic.
“It’s unbelievable to win a race like this”.
David Hayes called it back in January when Personal won her maiden at Flemington, likening her to his former champion Miss Finland.
On Thursday, that comparison came to fruition when Personal claimed the VRC Oaks, 12 years after Miss Finland claimed the same race.
The 2500-metre contest proved one of the races of the spring, when Salto Angel levelled outside odds-on favourite Montefilia at the top of the Flemington straight, only for the Personal to climb over the top to win under Damien Oliver, giving him back-to-back Oaks victories.
The group 1 win was Lindsay Park’s first since Hayes left for Hong Kong, leaving the reins to son Ben Hayes and cousin Tom Dabernig.
The team had been so close to group 1 victory this spring, with Aysar running second in the Caulfield Guineas and Personal running second in the Thousand Guineas, but it was a monkey off the back for the Flemington stable on their home track on Thursday.
The group 1 victory adds to a Blue Diamond third and a Thousand Guineas second on Personal’s CV, which will make her a very valuable broodmare in the future.
Oliver, described by Magnier as “the king of Flemington”, claimed his sixth Oaks and his 122nd group 1 victory, leaving no doubt about his standing at the top of the Victorian jockey ranks.
“She had been running really well without being able to win,” Oliver said.
“She’s genuine but had kept finding one better. It was good to see her finally get a good one, in a group 1 here today because she’s been very consistent.”
Ben Hayes said it was great to get the monkey off the back and win his first group 1 in partnership with Dabernig.
“We’ve been knocking on the door this spring: second in the Thousand Guineas with Personal and Aysar just got beaten in the Caulfield Guineas so we’ve been very close and it’s a big relief and big thrill to win this race,” he said.
“It was the first day looking at her in the yard that she looked fit. She’s a big, strong mare and I think that run in the Wakeful really just blew her out. Today you could just see that bit of rib.”
VRC chairman Amanda Elliott said she “couldn’t be happier for [Coolmore] after the week they’ve had”.
“The angels have a way of evening things out sometimes and we couldn’t be more delighted,” she said.
Damien Ractliffe is the Chief Racing Reporter for The Age.