Leading Albany trainer Roy Rogers continued his recent domination of the Great Southern when taking out the featured $100,000 TABtouch Fitzpatrick Plate (1230m) with Strathmore Rose on Sunday.
Ridden by Beaux Banovic-Edwards, the War Chant mare was supported from $9 to $6 in betting off the back of a dominant 4.6 length win first-up over 1100m on Boxing Day and was able to overcome a tough draw in barrier 12 to lead all-the-way.
Kohli ($18) rocketed home from back in the field to finish a neck second, with race-favourite River Rubicon ($2.40) elevated to third place after Oly’s Choice ($10) was disqualified due to the incorrect fitting of his saddle causing rider Natasha Faithfull to weigh in light.
Speaking to TABradio’s The Sports Daily on Monday, Rogers was full of praise for Banovic-Edwards’ composure.
“Beaux was a bit apprehensive early and thought, ‘do I take a sit from a wide gate?’,” he said.
“I said, ‘you ride how you ride – go forward and that’s your only chance of winning the race’.
“She’s really good at riding front runners and she did the job.
“It was really good for Beaux.”
The career-best win for Strathmore Rose was the five-year-old’s seventh win from 24 starts and boosted her earnings to $210,616 including bonuses.
Typically a short-course sprinter who had never won past 1100m, Rogers feels the track on the day may have helped her hang on late.
“I think yesterday the track wasn’t a true good-4, they vertidrained the track through the week and poured a lot of water on,” Rogers said.
“I think it was better to be that way than hard, but this horse had won on a heavy-10 and I think if the track had been concrete hard she might not have got there.
“I just think she handled the type of track it was on the day.
“You had to be on speed and there weren’t a lot of horses making up a lot ground once those horses got a bit of a break.”
Asked if there are any races picked out for the speedy mare moving forward, Rogers doesn’t have any lofty ambitions.
“We’ll just try and get whatever we can,” he said.
“You know that if she drops back to 1100 she’s probably going to be really competitive still again, just over those little bit shorter distances.
“I think with the light weights I’d be silly not to try and do something like that – go to something a little bit better in town.
“I’ve just got to be mindful of the ground not being too hard, too.”
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Rogers’ other two runners in the Fitzpatrick Plate, Halatorion ($7.50) and Kia Ora Star ($20), finished sixth and 12th respectively and he feels may have had excuses.
“Kia Ora Star’s had a lot of runs this prep and he might need another little let-up,” Rogers said.
“I probably thought he’d go a little bit better.
“Halatorion definitely loves a rock-hard deck and yesterday it wasn’t.
“I don’t think he liked the unevenness in the track.
“He’ll go back to Ascot and Kia Ora Star will just regroup and maybe just space his runs and re-freshen him.”
The Rogers stable has been firing on all cylinders over the past month, having saddled-up 11 winners from three meetings at Albany and Mount Barker in the space of 13 days.
Strathmore Rose’s Fitzpatrick Plate triumph brought up the third leg of a treble on the day for Rogers after Gift Of The Heart and Let Her Boogie landed a stable quinella in the TABtouch You’ve Got The Touch Maiden (1500m) before Trevello and Sneaky Force produced the same result in the TABtouch Giddy Up Premium Form Handicap (1100m).
Both Gift Of The Heart and Trevello were ridden to victory by Clint Johnston-Porter who followed up a brilliant five wins in the saddle at Saturday’s Ascot meeting with a treble at Albany the next day.
“Gift Of The Heart’s a really nice horse going forward,” Rogers said.
“He’s very green and Clint said he changed stride a fair bit, but he’s only a three-year-old and there’s plenty of scope there.
“Clint also rode Trevello really well.
“He summed it up well with the hot speed after I said to just have him back off the speed because this horse can really let down.
“He’s a top rider and I think sometimes certain horses that are running thirds and fourths and just aren’t quite getting there, you just need to up the ante with the rider and that was the difference I think.”