One-time Golden Slipper favourite Karuta Queen is set to return to race conditions in the $125,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m) on Saturday at Rosehill, the talented filly looking to return to the blistering form of her career openers.
Layt’s well-bred daughter of Not A Single Doubt from Final Card mare Card Queen burst onto the racing scene back in October of last year winning her race debut by an easy four lengths at Rosehill.
Karuta Queen continued to race impressively winning her next three starts including the Wyong Magic Millions 2YO Classic and then the lucrative $2 million Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic, a career highlight for the low-key Layt.
In between her Magic Millions winning double Kartuta Queen displayed her devastating turn of foot when destroying her rivals by 21 lengths in a 900 metre trial at her home track at Queanbeyan in December.
She scored an equally breathtaking heat win after her Gold Coast triumph in January winning over 900 metres in a Canberra hit-out by 13.5 lengths.
Despite her form and promise, the shine on Karuta Queen’s record begun to fade when she ran a shock second to You’re Canny as the beaten favourite in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 13.
Found to be lame after the race, Layt couldn’t resist the lure of the richest juvenile’s race in the world and saddled Karuta Queen up in the $3 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 2.
She was found out and only managed to finish six lengths away 10th behind runaway winner Sepoy.
Given a three month spell, Karuta Queen resumed work during the winter winning back-to-back barrier trials over 900 metres by eight and 10 lengths respectively in July.
“She has been working the place down,” Layt said.
“She’s had two trials, she’s had plenty of work since the last trial and she’s just going along great guns.”
Layt is confident Karuta Queen won’t become one of the forgotten and expects big things from her this spring starting with the San Domenico on Saturday.
“If she goes like she’s been going it’s going to take a pretty smart one to beat her,” Layt said.
“She’s low-flying like she was when she was an early two-year-old.
“She’s back better than ever.
“She’s done a treat and is right on the ball.”
Karuta Queen is set to have her final piece of work on Tuesday morning at Queanbeyan before her three-year-old debut at Rosehill Gardens.
“She’ll have a gallop on Tuesday morning on the course proper here and that will be her final workout before the race,” Layt confirmed.
Karuta Queen faces a tough test in the Caulfield feature, other notable horses among the 11 early San Domenico Stakes nominees including the John O’Shea-trained Golden Rose hopeful Foxwedge, Peter Snowden’s Group 3 winning filly Anise and progressive Exceed And Excel filly Double Ranga from the stables of Scone-based trainer Paul Messara.
“There won’t be any mucking around, especially with these colts (and fillies) because winning a race like the San Domenico can be very valuable,” rival trainer of Foxwedge O’Shea said.
Still, Layt is confident that being fresh makes her hard to beat.
“She hasn’t lost any of her speed, she has come on physically and I’m really looking forward to her campaign,” he said.
“And I don’t have to meet Sepoy this time (in the San Domenico).
“That’s the good part about it.”
Following the San Domenico Stakes Karuta Queen is likely contest the $125,000 Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill on August 27 followed by the $100,000 Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m) at Randwick on September 17, but the 2011 Golden Rose is not on the radar.
“She’ll then go down to Melbourne for a couple of races late in the carnival,” Layt said.
San Domenico Stakes nominations have been extended until Tuesday with the final field and barriers to be released on Wednesday and published here at Races.com.au.
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