It was billed as a battle of two in The Roses at Doomben and that’s almost exactly how it panned out with a tremendous battle of tactics between the two favourites.
Scarlett Lady was first past the post and a great deal of the credit has to go to the kiwi super jockey James McDonald who is really starting to get people talking.From the gates Divorces settled slightly better than mid-field on the rails with McDonald putting Scarlett Lady directly behind her from the outset.
The pace was quick early out in front but both horses maintained their positions over the first 1500m before the field began to turn for home.
It looked like Scarlett Lady might have to find a gap between runners but McDonald trusted her and put her on the outside of Divorces just as they straightened.
Savannahs Choice and Becerra were battling gamely out in front and weren’t about to let the lead go easily with the favourites matching each other stride for stride about 300m from home.
It took little more than a second though and Scarlett Lady hit top stride and instantly jumped clear of Divorces and took it right to the leaders.
Divorces didn’t give in but she was just outclassed over the distance with Scarlett Lady the winner over a very tough Savannah’s Choice which held out Divorce’s in a photo for second.
Trainer Debbie Rogerson couldn’t have been more pleased with the ride from McDonald.
“I thought he’s done the right thing, he’s tracking the favourite and rode it a treat,” she said.
She says the run was especially impressive given the lead up.
“It took us 24 hrs to get here, she’s done all her work form home and galloped exceptionally on Monday in New Zealand.
There’s no doubt’s where to go from here, she’ll start the Queensland Oaks as the favourite across 2400m.
“Distance not an issue, they can run over any trip,” she said.
It’s a thought shared by the jockey who was clearly chuffed with his first Doomben winner.
” No problems with the distance,” McDonald said.
“Every start she takes me the length of the back straight, very exciting.”
They came here knowing she was the best in New Zealand but to beat the best Australia has to offer is another big tick on her resume.
“I haven’t been beaten here or in New Zealand, to do it in this field is very exciting,” he said.
“I felt I was following the two best horses in the field, I followed them out and got the last crack at them.”