2016 Australian Oaks Winner Sofia Rosa for Bowman

The New Zealand-trained three-year-olds continued their successful raid on the staying features of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and hoop Hugh Bowman enjoyed another Randwick win on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’ aboard Sofia Rosa in the Australian Oaks 2015.

Sofia Rosa

New Zealand-trained filly Sofia Rosa blitzed her rivals down under winning the 2016 Australian Oaks at Randwick on Day 2 of ‘The Championships’. Photo: Steve Hart.

Last weekend it was Tavago winning the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) off a NZ Derby run, and seven days later the Stephen Marsh-trained Makfi filly Sofia Rosa did the same taking out the $1 million Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) in her maiden run down under.

The maturing young stayer was narrowly beaten in a devastating blow for connections when a nose off Fanatic in the Group 1 NZ Oaks (2400m) on March 19.

She made the trip to Sydney looking to atone in the ATC Oaks, and was fired-up before the race.

Caught wide throughout the run she and Bowman, who saluted in his third Australian Oaks following previous wins aboard Daffodil (2009) and Streama (2012), had work to do.

A genuine fighter, Sofia Rosa dug deep and got the job done for the same connections as 2014 Australian Oaks winner Lucia Valentina.

The hot favourite for this season’s Oaks was Jameka coming off the ATC Derby second, who from the outside alley was snagged back to last soon after the jump.

The field was led around by Self Esteem setting a genuine pace, jockey Mark Zahra letting her roll along in front of the likes of the Vinery Stud Stakes runner-up Valley Girl and the Kerrin McEvoy-ridden Believe who moved into a clear third.

Hugging the rails in fourth was the John Thompson-trained Honesta, second to Jameka in last year’s Crown Oaks, with Happy Hannah just off those for Team Snowden.

At the 1000m mark jockey Damien Oliver started to take Jameka a little closer, while the lightly-raced Anthony Cummings-trained Fastnet Rock filly Believe worked her way into second.

Down the side of the track and approaching the turn Sofia Rosa started to come, with Happy Hannah also picking up at the 600m.

On the straight a nasty fall from the Vinery Stud Stakes winner Single Gaze saw jockey Kathy O’Hara hit the track, and a couple of runners get caught back.

Up front away from trouble John O’Shea’s daughter of Street Cry Ambience, third in the Crown Oaks, started to poke through on the middle as Jameka gave them a big start.

Sofia Rosa ($5) dug deep after the hard run and hit the lead and was first past the post in a brave effort from Ambience ($31) who had James McDonald in the saddle, while Believe ($71) ran the surprise run of the race to cross third at big odds.

It was Bowman’s fourth win of the day and he did it on a filly covering ground three deep with nearly no cover throughout the whole run.

“A great day,” Bowman said, before commenting on how tricky a horse Sofia Rosa was to ride.

“I’ve ridden some difficult horses in my time, but this one takes the cake.

“I’ll tell you what she has got, she has got some fight.”

Owner Lib Petagna, who named the filly after his great niece, was thrilled to win another Oaks and described Sofia Rosa as “very tough”.

“It’s a brilliant experience,” he said.

“Particularly after the disappointment of the New Zealand Oaks.

“She is very, very tough.

“We only paid $65,000 for her and $60,000 for Lucia Valentina.”

Marsh was also very happy with the filly’s efforts and said a spell before a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival was now on the cards with Sofia Rosa likely to target the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October.

“It’s always nice when it happens like that,” he said.

“She was good to the line so very proud of her.

“She’s going to be better again as a four-year-old mare.”

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2016 Australian Oaks Results & Finishing Order

Randwick Race 6 – 09/04/2016

Place # Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Br. Wgt. SP
1 7 SOFIA ROSA (NZ) Stephen Marsh Hugh Bowman 11 56kg $4.80
2 5 AMBIENCE John O’Shea James McDonald 0.5L 3 56kg $41
3 14 BELIEVE Anthony Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 0.7L 10 56kg $61
4 1 JAMEKA Ciaron Maher Damien Oliver 1.2L 14 56kg $3.20F
5 11 CHABAUD (NZ) Robert Smerdon Tommy Berry 1.6L 2 56kg $26
6 6 VALLEY GIRL (NZ) Donna Logan & Chris Gibbs Brett Prebble 1.7L 9 56kg $12
7 10 CAPELLA (NZ) Danica Guy Opie Bosson 2.2L 13 56kg $14
8 4 SACRED EYE David Hayes & Tom Dabernig Nicholas Hall 2.9L 1 56kg $41
9 12 SELF ESTEEM Peter & Paul Snowden Mark Zahra 3.2L 12 56kg $51
10 3 HONESTA John P Thompson Craig Williams 3.9L 7 56kg $9.50
11 9 ALASKAN ROSE (NZ) Michael Moroney Dwayne Dunn 4.1L 5 56kg $21
12 8 DIAMOND MADE Bruce Cross Glyn Schofield 4.2L 4 56kg $41
13 13 HAPPY HANNAH Peter & Paul Snowden Blake Shinn 12.6L 6 56kg $7
F 2 SINGLE GAZE Nick Olive Ms Kathy O’Hara 8 56kg $13
16 AURORA’S STAR Anthony Cummings 0
15 ZASORCERESS (NZ) Jason Warren Damian Lane 0

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