Trainer Tony Pike has revealed he is close to confirming a start for Rock Diva in this weekend’s Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) after the talented filly produced a keen turn of foot to run on for fourth in last weekend’s featured Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
A standout performer in her native New Zealand over her maiden racing preparation this year, Rock Diva has claimed two wins and three minor places from just seven competitive starts and has more than stamped her claims for a return to Australian shores having impressed over just two appearances this time in.
Overcoming the awkward and wide barrier in the Queensland Oaks, Pike said that while asking a lot of the Lucky Unicorn filly, he is confident she is in the right form for anything impressive tilt in arguably her biggest test to date this weekend.
“She seems to have pulled up pretty well. Obviously it’s a big ask backing a filly up a week later against the boys but there’s not much left for her now and there’s not much left for her at home in the spring as a four-year-old mare,” Pike told AAP.
“So long as I’m happy with her in the morning we’ll back her up in the Derby and then she’ll head home for a nice, long spell.
“I’ll make the decision in the morning,” Pike added on Tuesday evening.
Unlucky to finish second in the Industry Security Specialists Maiden (1400m) on debut on January 3rd, Rock Diva charged from the rear of the pack to salvage third amongst classy competition in the Clean Services Maiden (1600m) before claiming back-to-back victories over 2100 metres, including the Group 3 Sunline Vase (2100m).
Continuing to build in form and class when third in the major Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on March 15th, the filly out of Bohemian Blues placed sixth in the Group 2 The Roses (2000m) in her first appearance across the ditch on May 17th.
The final field and barrier draw for the 2014 Queensland Derby is due to be released on Wednesday morning.
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