The Graeme and Debbie Rogerson-trained Scarlett Lady will be putting her Melbourne Cup credentials on display at Eagle Farm tomorrow, the Kiwi sensation ready to start the clear favourite in the Queensland Oaks.
Savabeel filly Scarlett Lady is undefeated in five runs this year having won four straight back home in New Zealand ahead of her awesome Australian debut last start.
After travelling across the Tasman, three-year-old Scarlett Lady easily accounted for her rivals winning the Group 3 The Roses (2020m) by nearly a length at Doomben on May 21.
With the winter campaign of Scarlett Lady already eerily following that of another glamour Kiwi galloper a decade ago, Scarlett Lady could continue to emulate the feats of the mighty Ethereal into the spring as well.
In 2001, champion Rhythm mare Ethereal was bought to Australia by trainer Shelia Laxon and took our tracks by storm.
After her Doomben Roses – Queensland Oaks winning double, still the only filly to win both of these races in history, Ethereal came back to Australia during the spring of 2011 and also in 2002 to add a trio more Group 1 wins to her impressive record.Saluting in both the 2001 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, Ethereal also returned the following year and won The BMW Stakes.
Ethereal made Laxon the first female trainer to win a Melbourne Cup and earned over $4.7 million in prize money over her lucrative career.
While Scarlett Lady sits at five wins for $112,000 in earnings to date, the potential is there for her to rise to the feat tomorrow and kick-off an elite level career starting with a win in the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
Her tidy recent record and obvious talent have seen Scarlett Lady installed as the dominant $3.50 Oaks favourite tomorrow, and her connections are confident she will be hard to beat.
Following Saturday’s run, Graeme Rogerson will engage in talks with Scarlett Lady’s owner Max Whitby in New Zealand and discuss whether she follows the path of Ethereal.
“At this stage she’ll definitely be nominated for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, but we’ll know more whether she’ll go there after she runs in the Oaks,” Rogerson said.
“I’m going straight back to New Zealand after the Oaks and I’ve organised to meet up with Max in Auckland on Monday to discuss her spring campaign and the Melbourne Cup.”
While her breeding suggests she will make the 2400m distance of the Oaks tomorrow, Scarlett Lady being by Cox Plate winner Savabeel from New Zealand-bred mare On Call who ran third in the 2001 New Zealand Cup over the Melbourne Cup distance of 3200m, pressing onto Flemington’s famous two-miler on the first Tuesday of November will be a much harder task.
“You never know if they will stay until you try them but everything about her points to her staying,” Rogerson said.
Rogerson is vying for his maiden Queensland Oaks win tomorrow, but has a nice history in the big race features in Queensland.
“I’ve had a lot of success in Queensland since I was first invited over in 1983 by the then Racing Minister, Russ Hinze,” Rogerson said.
“I won the Stradbroke (Handicap) that year with Brenlaine but I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a runner in the Queensland Oaks.”
The horseman also admitted that at the start of this preparation, he didn’t originally have the Queensland Oaks scheduled as the target for Scarlett Lady.
“I originally planned to run her in the New Zealand Oaks but she had a setback so we then decided to run her in the autumn back home before targeting this race,” he said.
Her power and ability also mean that Scarlett Lady is well-liked in the early markets for Saturday week’s $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) against the colts and geldings on Stradbroke Handicap Day.
Currently Scarlett Lady sits on the second line of Derby betting paying $6 behind Doomben Cup fourth placegetter Shootoff at $5.50.
“She’s not that big but she’s very well put together,” Rogerson said of Scarlett Lady.
“Her best attribute is she’s so relaxed when she races and she can run on any type of ground.”