Queens Rose flow­ers nicely

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery - DENNIS RYAN Rac­ing colum­nist

Even be­fore Queens Rose won her very first start, her trainer Graham Richard­son knew he had a spe­cial tal­ent on his hands.

That was two and half years ago at the 2012 Mata­mata preChrist­mas twi­light meet­ing and since then Queens Rose has won another seven races from her 20-start to­tal.

But it wasn’t un­til last Satur­day that she got what her trainer felt was her true re­ward, vic­tory in the $50,000 Team Weal­leans Tau­ranga Clas­sic.

That weight-for-age fil­lies and mares event car­ries Listed stakes sta­tus, mean­ing that Queens Rose fi­nally has an all im­por­tant black­type win for her Te Awa­mutu breed­ers Liz Pol­lard and Glo­ria Graydon to ben­e­fit from when she be­comes a brood­mare.

As a daugh­ter of cham­pion stal­lion O’Reilly, from the stakeswin­ning Pins mare Rosetti Bay, Queens Rose al­ready had a lot go­ing for her when she be­gan her ca­reer for a part­ner­ship that in­cluded her breed­ers along with Mata­mata cou­ple Brian and Mel Priest.

Since kick­ing off in style with her de­but win, how­ever, she has had to be han­dled with kid gloves due to im­ma­tu­rity in the first place, com­bined with her dis­like of firm ground.

Now a 5-year-old, Queens Rose has left any im­ma­tu­rity is­sues be­hind, but Graham Richard­son has still had to be care­ful with his place­ment of her.

That’s why she spent last sum­mer on the easy list and didn’t re­turn to rac­ing un­til late March.

Hopes of stakes suc­cess were boosted with a win in open com­pany at Tau­ranga in mid-April, and Satur­day’s fea­ture race be­came a re­al­is­tic goal.

In the mean­time, Queens Rose con­tested the Ro­torua Stakes in early May but was un­done by a par­tic­u­larly deep, heavy track and con­di­tions were not much bet­ter at Eller­slie on Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

Even so, her brave sec­ond that day told those clos­est to her that she was on tar­get for Tau­ranga.

Her lead- up track­work was right up to stan­dard and the fi­nal piece of the jig­saw fell into place when forecast rain fell on the day to en­sure her favourite loose foot­ing.

A pre-race de­ci­sion by Richard­son and jockey Vin­nie Colgan to stay close to the in­side rail proved its worth as Queens Rose worked across to sit out­side the leader and then switched to the rail at the top of the straight.

Out wide, The Filly, who had beaten Queens Rose in their Eller­slie en­counter, loomed as a se­ri­ous threat but the Mata­mata mare proved too strong as she hit the line a long neck in front.

‘‘No-one can deny she de­served that,’’ said Richard­son with con­vic­tion.

‘‘She’s a qual­ity mare and to get this win for her and her own­ers is very sat­is­fy­ing.’’

Un­der­ly­ing that sat­is­fac­tion was a sense of re­lief as well, with Satur­day’s win a first stakes suc­cess for the sta­ble since Green Supreme’s Fly­ing Hand­i­cap win at Awa­puni in the au­tumn of 2012.

More than 100 wins have fol­lowed since, which at the end of the day means keep­ing a lot of own­ers happy.

Fur­ther lu­cra­tive

tar­gets now No-one can deny she de­served that. She’s a qual­ity mare and to get this win for her and her own­ers is very sat­is­fy­ing.

Graham Richard­son await Queens Rose, with the next most likely the $65,000 Opunake Cup at New Ply­mouth on July 18.

‘‘ That will mean go­ing left­handed again, which I don’t think is her favourite di­rec­tion, and af­ter Satur­day’s win she’ll have climbed in the rat­ings,’’ says Richard­son.

‘‘But it’s another black-type race and it’s a de­cent stake, so there’s a good chance she’ll be there.’’

Win­ter plans are also be­ing fi­nalised for the other Mata­mata­trained win­ner at Tau­ranga, Eletist, who bounced back to form in the 3- year- old 1400- me­tre event.

The close re­la­tion to cham­pion colt Dun­deel is trained by Glenn Old for a group that in­cludes Michelle Nor­man, the part­ner of lo­cal vet­eri­nar­ian Dave Keenan.

There’s a def­i­nite par­al­lel be­tween Queens Rose and Eletist, as the lat­ter won his first start nearly a year ago and has been held back un­til get­ting his favourite track con­di­tions. On Satur­day he was hav­ing just his fifth start and con­nec­tions shouldn’t have to wait too long for his next win.

Photo: TR­ISH DUNELL

Queens Rose is re­warded with vic­tory in the Team Weal­leans Tau­ranga Clas­sic.

Trainer

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