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Rock Diva (NZ) on Oaks Path

Rock Diva (NZ) on Oaks Path

Raffles Racing has a strong chance of winning back-to-back Group 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks following the decisive win of Rock Diva (NZ) (Lucky Unicorn) in yesterday’s Group 3 $70,000 McKee Family Sunline Vase (2100m) at Ellerslie.

The lightly raced filly trained by Tony Pike and Mark Donoghue was having just her fourth start and was coming off a maiden victory at her last assignment, also over 2100m. Last year the same training partnership prepared More Than Sacred (More Than Ready) to win the Sunline Vase before succeeding in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks for Raffles Racing.

Rider Leith Innes dropped the daughter of Lucky Unicorn to near the tail of the field from the outside barrier in the 10-horse field in an evenly run race. Rock Diva improved around the outside as the field cornered for the run home. She produced a strong turn of foot in the straight to run past race-favourite Moozoon (NZ) (Perfectly Ready) to win decisively by two-lengths with Hot Rod (NZ) (Pentire) in third.

“She has progressed a lot this preparation, she has always shown that staying is going to be her forte,” commented Pike. “It was a strong win at Counties, obviously it was only a maiden race, so we decided to throw her into the Sunline Vase with the view that if she won we would head down to Wellington for the Oaks.

“The late entries are next Wednesday and as long as she pulls up well and does well in the next few days we definitely will be paying the late nomination fee for the Oaks.

“Her half-sister Shamrocker was a very good three-year-old herself and this filly has always suggested she will get over ground, at her last two starts she has been very strong over the last part of the race. I don’t think a mile-and-a-half at Wellington is going to cause any problems for her.

“She was a nice, scopey yearling and obviously being a half-sister to Shamrocker she was always going to interest us with Dato Yap owning Shamrocker. She looked like a nice staying sort of filly and with the tie-up with Shamrocker she was always on our list.”

The second win of Rock Diva’s career has taken her earnings to $48,475 for owners Raffles Dancers (NZ) Pty Ltd,

Bred by Mrs M R & V Trillo, Rock Diva is a half-sister to dual Group 1 winning filly Shamrocker (O’Reilly) who was an outstanding three-year-old in Australia, winning the Group 1 Australian Guineas and the Group 1 Australian Derby.

New Zealand Bloodstock as agent purchased Rock Diva for $200,000 from Valachi Downs at the 2012 Karaka Premier Sale.


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