Fairy-tale filly Karuta Queen is back in work for her trainer Neville Layt in Canberra, Layt confident the daughter of Not A Single Doubt can resume in the spring as a three-year-old to watch out for.
Layt was thrown into the centre of the racing scene after his $30,000 bargain buy filly Kartua Queen enjoyed a stunning start to her career, winning her opening four races in emphatic style.
After back-to-back wins in Sydney last October, she stormed into the big time with an easy two and a half length victory in the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1000m).
The run and her impressive record saw Kartua Queen start the favourite in January’s $2 million Magic Millions Classic (1200m) on the Gold Coast and the filly saluted for the punters with another smart three length win this time over Combat Kitty.
During a break, Kartua Queen sizzled in a barrier trial back in Canberra blowing her rivals away by over 13 lengths and setting herself up as the two-year-old to beat in the upcoming autumn features.
However, upon resuming the Queen failed to sparkle at her first-up start when beaten in a shock upset by You’re Canny in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in mid March.
Forgotten by the punters, Layt continued on with Karuta Queen accepting her for the prestigious $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) in April.
Going out as a $10 shot, Kartua Queen never featured in the world’s richest juveniles feature, failing to come within six lengths when 10th to Peter Snowden’s winner Sepoy.
Still, it was not a bad season for Layt with his Queen amassing an incredible $1.45 million in prize money over her six starts.
Having been enjoying a break in the paddock since her Slipper letdown, Karuta Queen has now returned to Layt’s Queanbeyan stables in preparation for a stakes return and her trainer is thrilled with her progress and condition.
“She came back in last week and she has done a treat,” Layt said.
“She has thickened right up.
“She hasn’t grown much and she’s a bit hairy still, but that’s just because of the time of year.”
So confident of her ability, Layt is setting Karuta Queen up in a Group race assignment first-up.
“She had seven weeks in the paddock and now we’ll get her read for the San Domenico Stakes,” he said.
The $125,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) is scheduled to run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday August 13 and serves as the perfect preparatory run for the season’s most promising three-year-olds.
“We’ll build her up slowly and she’ll probably trial in about six weeks and we’ll see where we are at,” Layt said.
“She has come back terrific.
“She needed a good spell and she’s had that.”
Layt has also made the announcement that he will not restrict Karuta Queen’s spring campaign to Melbourne and that she will also target a number of races during the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
He is tipping a stellar spring from Karuta Queen, Layt excited to see her come on a year older and said he was happy to run a line right through her Golden Slipper run.
“She can improve out of sight as a three-year-old,” he said.
“Just remember she was over the top when the Golden Slipper was run and she just wasn’t 100 per cent in the Black Opal.
“She’ll be 100 per cent from this time in.
“She looks good and she’s bright and everything like that.”
Yet to decide on a solid campaign or clarify where Karuta Queen would go following the San Domenico, one thing Layt is sure of is that his ace asset will retain her star status.
“Whichever way I go they’re all Group races and that’s where she’s heading, to Sydney (and) or Melbourne, whatever races suit her,” he said.
“Anything up to 1000 or 1100 metres they will know she is there in any race she competes in.”