Queensland Oaks winning filly Scarlett Lady will look to match the feats of Kiwi mare Ethereal by winning the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups during the 2011 Melbourne Spring carnival.
Trainer Graham Rogerson yesterday laid out his plans for the mare who has now won her last six starts.
Scarlett Lady will resume from her spell in New Zealand on August 27 in the $200,000 Hawkes Bay Challenge Stakes at Hastings. She is likely to meet stiff opposition there in the form of Rosehill Guineas winner Jimmy Choux and Emirates Stakes winner Wall Street.
Once she arrives in Australia, her campaign will be fairly typical of a horse targeting the Caulfield/Melbourne Cup double.
Her first start in Melbourne will be in the 1800m Underwood Stakes. She will then have a two week break before going into what should be the last of her lead up races, the 2000m Turnbull Stakes.
She will then race in the 2400m Caulfield Cup on October 15, which will give her a 15 day break before the Melbourne Cup in November.
Many trainers prefer to enter their horses in a race between the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, however Rogerson confirmed that he thought this preparation would best suit the horse.
“We can always run her in the Mackinnon Stakes on October 29 if we want but I think she will go straight into the Melbourne Cup,” Rogerson said.
Rogerson also confirmed that Scarlett Lady would be nominated for the Cox Plate, but he also said that it was just precaution and that the weight for age championship was not a major priority.
Rogerson, who co-trains the horse with his wife Debbie, said that Scalett Lady was in perfect order and that she would be given one jump out in New Zealand before she began her campaign proper.
“She looks fantastic. I think she’s very special and could be the best horse I have ever trained,” Rogerson said.
That is a big statement coming from a man who trained Group One winners such as Skating, Ebony Grove, Grand Archway, Econsul, Savabeel and Polar Success.
But even a cursory glance at her Autumn/Winter form reveals what Rogerson is saying. She strung together four impressive wins in New Zealand before coming to Australia. There was a question mark over her quality but after she demolished the field in the Doomben Roses there was little doubt.
Her ultra-impressive win in the Queensland Oaks was franked by the fact that Shez Sinsational and Heidilicious (both well beaten in the Oaks) backed up to fill the placing’s behind Shootoff in the Queensland Derby.
And it would appear as if the punters also hold Scarlett Lady in high regard. In pre-post betting for the Caulfield Cup she rates as $15.00 second favourite behind Lights of Heaven. While in the Melbourne Cup she is currently a $17.00 third favourite behind Maluckyday and last year’s winner Americain.