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