Royal visit back on
JOHN Messara has Royal Ascot ambitions for Shoals after she returned to Group 1-winning form at Royal Randwick.
Shoals rebounded from a career-worst run to win yesterday’s $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) to give her owner reason to reignite his plans to race the filly overseas.
“I’d love to take her to Royal Ascot for a race like the Diamond Jubilee Stakes,’’ Messara said.
“She loves soft ground and has already proven herself at Group 1 level against older horses. We could even look at the July Cup at Newmarket, too.’’
Messara’s exuberance was understandable as the Anthony Freedman-trained Shoals ($13) held off the fast- finishing Torvill ($18) to win by a half-length with Rimraam ($26) a close-up third.
Favourite Alizee ($2.70) didn’t let down with her usual finishing burst and struggled into seventh.
“I had a lovely run,’’ Glyn Schofield said. “The splits came when I needed them but she couldn’t finish them off.”
Shoals, a superbly bred filly by Fastnet Rock, scored her second Group 1 win after taking out the Myer Classic against the mares back in the spring.
“You could not put a price tag on this filly,’’ Messara said.
Stable representative Sam Freedman said they were confident Shoals could improve sharply after her unplaced effort at Caulfield last month.
“To be honest, we probably got it a bit wrong first-up,’’ Freedman said. “She had a month off and blew right out, did very well in the paddock and was probably a little flat first-up, it’s all we can put that down to.
“But she is a quality filly, very well bred and this is very important for John Messara, Jonathan Munz and all the team to win this Group 1. We’re thrilled.”
Freedman said Shoals is likely to be aimed at the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens in a fortnight.
“That has always probably been the target,’’ Freedman said. “The Coolmore looks like it could be there for her.”
Jockey Josh Parr scored his third Group 1 success with a brilliant tactical effort on Shoals.
“I galloped her on Tuesday morning and I was full of confidence,’’ Parr said. “I had a lot of horse up my sleeve.
“I knew we would land in a good spot, in a forward position.
“She’s a tough, really gallant little thing.’’
Josh Parr returns to scale.