Horses To Follow » Roses For The Lady

Roses For The Lady

Roses For The Lady put up a smart performance to win the Listed Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on Sunday. Bounced out of the gate by Fran Berry, she settled nicely in front, set a fair tempo, and had her field well stretched out half way down the back straight. Indeed, Merchant Of Dubai who raced in second place throughout, was the only one of her rivals to mount any sort of a challenge, and Alan Swinbank’s horse did look a danger when he ranged up on the outside rounding the home turn, but Roses For The Lady responded gamely to Berry’s urgings, and moved on again inside the final two furlongs, showing a really willing attitude, to win nicely in the end.

This was a good performance by the John Oxx-trained filly. Merchant Of Dubai is a high class handicapper, a hardened performer who had already won a decent conditions race on his debut this season. By contrast, this was Roses For The Lady’s seasonal debut, her first run since she finished second to Sariska in the Irish Oaks last July. She was the second string for the John Oxx/Neil Jones connections that day behind Beauty O’Gwaun, but she put up a huge display, setting off in front and keeping on well in really soft ground. Of course, Sariska was a very easy winner, but Roses For The Lady performed with a great deal of credit in finishing second, and had some highly talented fillies behind her, including Midday, who went on to win the Group 1 Nassau Stakes on her subsequent start, also on soft ground, and rounded off the season by winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Sunday’s run was just the seventh run of her life, her first for nine months, and she can go on from here now. John Oxx won two of the previous four renewals of the Vintage Crop Stakes with Kastoria and Alandi, both of whom went on to win Group 1 races (the other two renewals in that time frame were won by Yeats), and it is not unreasonable to expect that Roses For The Lady will follow suit. Although both of her wins have been gained on fast ground, her trainer said afterwards that she is much better when she can get her toe in – indeed, she achieved her highest Racing Post Rating in the Irish Oaks on the softest ground she has ever encountered – and she will go for the Yorkshire Cup next on 14th May if the ground is going to be on the easy side. By Sadler’s Wells out of the Shirley Heights mare Head In The Clouds, a high class performer over a mile and a half and a half-sister to St Leger and Doncaster Cup winner Millenary, she is at her best when presented with a test of stamina, and all the top staying races, including the Irish St Leger, which Oxx won with Kastoria, should be on her radar this year. She could improve for stepping up again in trip, and she is an exciting stayer for the season ahead.

24th April 2010

© The Irish Field, 1st May 2010