Queens Rose wins on heavy track
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.