Queens Rose wins on heavy track

Matamata Chronicle - - Sport - DEN­NIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

Pa­tience is one of the most valu­able com­modi­ties in rac­ing, as il­lus­trated yet again by the Gra­ham Richard­son-trained Queens Rose, when she bounced back to win­ning form at Tau­ranga on Satur­day.

Back in De­cem­ber, 2012, Queens Rose sig­nalled a big fu­ture with an im­pres­sive de­but home track win, but a dis­like of firm ground has re­stricted her to just 16 fur­ther starts in the sub­se­quent two and a half years.

The O’Reilly mare has still made the most of her op­por­tu­ni­ties, with Satur­day’s open sprint win on a heavy track tak­ing her ca­reer tally to seven for stakes just short of $ 100,000. That was her sec­ond start this prepa­ra­tion, af­ter the de­ci­sion was made to put her aside for the sum­mer fol­low­ing her mid­field fin­ish on a firm track in the Auck­land Thor­ough­bred Breed­ers’ Stakes at Avon­dale in Novem­ber.

‘‘She was okay on bet­ter ground ear­lier in her ca­reer, but as she has got older she has def­i­nitely shown a pref­er­ence for tracks with some give in them,’’ says her trainer. ‘‘With a mare like her you can’t get her ready early and since she re­turned to work, I’ve had to watch her on the firmer tracks.

‘‘As she showed on Satur­day she’s come back ex­tra well. Vin­nie [Col­gan] rode her well, he got to the front in plenty of time and she was do­ing it eas­ily the last 100 me­tres.’’

Queens Rose is still owned by her Te Awa­mutu breed­ers El­iz­a­beth Pol­lard and Glo­ria Glay­don, who were also suc­cess­ful at Tau­ranga with Queens Rose’s half-sis­ter Di­a­mond Rose. They race Queens Rose in part­ner­ship with a group that in­cludes Mata­mata cou­ple Brian and Mel Priest. With 23 wins to date, the Richard- son sta­ble hasn’t had a sea­son to match last year’s 51 wins, but as the man in the mid­dle points out, the past 12 months have been a re­build­ing pe­riod with a num­ber of tried and true mem­bers no longer in the lineup.

‘‘This mare is one of the older ones. It’s ba­si­cally a young team, but we’ve bought some nice stock in the past cou­ple of years,’’ says Richie.

‘‘Ev­ery sta­ble needs young blood and we’ll see the re­sults com­ing through.’’ One miss­ing statis­tic on the Richard­son score­card of re­cent times is a black-type win, but that may be ad­dressed when Queens Rose lines up next in the Listed Wind­sor Park Stud Ro­torua Stakes on May 9.

‘‘Now that she has hit form and has con­di­tions to suit, it could be her turn at Ro­torua,’’ added her trainer. ‘‘I def­i­nitely think she’s up to it.’’

Queens Rose was one of four Mata­mata- trained win­ners at Tau­ranga on the week­end. Let­mego won the open­ing event for new train­ing part­ners Wayne Hil­lis and Shaun Kes­ner. Ir­ish Heart­beat scored for Toby Autridge, who is now train­ing solo af­ter be­ing in part­ner­ship for the past three sea­sons with Cyril Good­win, and Tony Gil­lies won with Taax­man. This com­plete a dou­ble for ap­pren­tice Anna Jones, who had also rid­den Let­mego ear­lier in the day. Mata­mata also had a sig­nif­i­cant part to play in last week­end’s big race­day in Syd­ney, where the sec­ond day of The Cham­pi­onship held cen­trestage at Rand­wick. For­mer Mata­mata trainer John Sar­gent added to his al­ready im­pres­sive list of fil­lies’ clas­sic wins, when he sad­dled up the out­sider Gust Of Wind to take the A$ 1 mil­lion ATC Aus­tralian Oaks, while Bland­ford Lodge-reared Cri­te­rion was just as easy a win­ner of the car­ni­val’s flag­ship race, the A$4 mil­lion Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes.

Gust Of Wind, a daugh­ter of for­mer star Mata­mata­trained gal­loper Darci Brahma, sim­ply out­stayed her Oaks ri­vals, which in­cluded her stable­mate Thun­der Lady, the run­ner-up in the VRC Oaks last spring. Sar­gent’s tally of Oaks wins now stands at four, a se­quence that be­gan in the 2012 Queens­land Oaks with Quin­tes­sen­tial and con­tin­ued with Kir­ramosa in the 2013 VRC Oaks and last year’s New Zealand Oaks with Miss Moss­man.


Queens Rose (Vin­nie Col­gan) rel­ishes the heavy con­di­tions as she re­turns to form at Tau­ranga last Satur­day.

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