The praises Neville Layt continually sings for his smart filly Karuta Queen have hit their highest note yet, the Queanbeyan-based horseman naming a clash with Australian Racehorse of the Year Black Caviar as the next test for Saturday’s Heritage Stakes winner.
Breaking a four-race drought, Kartua Queen not having won since her victory in the Gold Coast 2YO Magic Millions Classic back in January, the three-year-old daughter of Not A Single Doubt returned to the winner’s stall at Rosehill on the weekend with a sharp win in the $100,000 Listed Heritage Stakes (1100m).
Backing up from a credible fourth to Smart Missile in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m) last month, on Saturday Karuta Queen ($2F) enjoyed the step back in distance and class and was easily able to defeat the David Payne-trained Al’s Magic Miss ($6.50) and Gerald Ryan’s Hollyweird ($12) who dead-heated for second two and a half lengths back from the winner.
“I knew she would be back again,” Layt said after the victory
“I thought she was going to win last start until the last 100 metres but it took those three very good boys (Smart Missile, Foxwedge, Helmet) to beat her, so I knew she wasn’t far off her best.”
While it was a nice win, the class of rivals Karuta Queen defeated has punters and racing fans questioning Layt’s plan to try and deny the Peter Moody-trained superstar Black Caviar back-to-back wins in the $200,000 Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 8.
“I might be getting a bit keen but we will go down and run against Black Caviar next,” Layt said.
“Karuta Queen will have nothing on her back and it is 1000 metres around Caulfield; she would fly around that course.”
There is no denying a few things would fall in Kartua Queen’s favour on Caulfield Guineas Day for the Schillaci Stakes showdown, but Layt concedes they would be running for second.
“We all know Black Caviar is the best there is but if Karuta Queen can run second to her, I’d be a happy and proud man,” he said.
The Schillaci Stakes is a weight-for-age race, Black Caviar the defending champion after a quality first-up win in the event last spring.
As a five-year-old mare Black Caviar would this year carry 56.5kg, while the younger Karuta Queen will meet her 5.5kg better in the weights with only 51kg.
For her Heritage Stakes success on Saturday, Kartua Queen once again had Tommy Berry in the mount, Berry having ridden the filly for all nine of her career starts to date which has produced five wins for over $1.59 million in prize money.
The lightest Kartua Queen has carried and the lightest Berry has been on her back is the Heritage Stakes winning weight of 54kg, making the 51kg for the Schillaci a big ask for her regular rider.
“We all know Black Caviar is the best,” Berry said.
“But when you run the sort of times Karuta Queen can over 1000 metres, only Black Caviar could get past her.
“She is my favourite horse, she is my girl.”
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