The spelling paddock awaits Saturday’s Group I $1 million Australian Oaks winner Sofia Rosa while trainer Stephen Marsh plans a Melbourne spring carnival campaign.
Sofia Rosa proved too good in the Australian Oaks. Photo: Steve Hart
Enjoying a trouble free run under Hugh Bowman, Sofia Rosa was settled sixth with cover to the home turn where Self Esteem had set a steady speed.
Eased off heels 300m out, Sofia Rosa ($4.80) accelerated to the front 100m out and defeated Ambience ($41) by half a length with Believe ($61) in third. The $3.20 favourite Jameka finished fourth after being towards the rear rounding the home turn.
The race had its share of sensation with Single Gaze ($13) appearing to clip heels around the home turn and giving Kathy O’Hara a crashing fall, stewards adjourning an inquiry into the incident.
Sofia Rosa won the New Zealand Oaks by a nose last time out, only to lose the race in the stewards room. Trainer Stephen Marsh said the feisty daughter of Makfi is one of the toughest horses he has trained.
“Without doubt, she’s the toughest I’ve had,” Marsh said. “She’s as hard as nails.
“She’s attacked ponies, she’s jumped on other horses. She’s difficult but the team back home put the time into her.
“I’m so proud of her, she got into a nice spot, although she was three wide Hugh had her relaxed and I thought in straight ‘oh here we go again’ but it all worked out in the end.
“This is an awesome race, a huge buzz to win.”
Marsh said Sofia Rosa will return to New Zealand and not race again this preparation.
“We’ve always had the Oaks in mind a long way out and all the planning has come off.
“It’s great for us Kiwi’s to win the Oaks and the Derby (Tavago). Now we’ll go home and work out a plan for the spring.”
Bowman said he was impressed with the way Sofia Rosa attacked the line.
“She’s one of the most difficult I’ve ridden but she’s good. She dug deep in the straight and was too good for them.” Bowman said.