Quality three-year-old filly Queen of Diamonds picked up the second stakes win of her career when victorious in the Gr.2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes (2100m) at Hastings on Wednesday.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained filly was sent forward early from her outside gate (barrier 11) by jockey Matthew Cameron to settle outside pacemaker Miss Labasa.
The daughter of Savabeel remained prominent throughout before Cameron presented his charge perfectly at the home turn where she was able to account for her opposition with ease, winning by 1-1/2 lengths over Shezathinka with Imelda Mary running home late for third.
Forsman was full of praise for Cameron after the race and said removing blinkers from his filly benefited her early in the run.
“It was a great ride,” Forsman said.
“He summed the situation up. She began well and he just took control of the race and she ended up getting the perfect run. It was a brilliant ride.
“The key was she didn’t have blinkers today and while she did work early, she wasn’t fizzed up doing it. She just relaxed nicely enough, got a little bit of cover down the back and that helped and she just tracked into it beautifully.”
Cameron was pleased with the victory and said Queen of Diamonds’ early speed and improving racing manners were a huge factor in the race.
“She is not very lucky with the draws, but she has got that tactical speed at the start,” Cameron said.
“They weren’t making much ground all day. The inside is pretty hot and she got there and went to sleep with the blinkers off and she settled nicely and was too good for them.
“She’s bred to do anything and I think the penny is just starting to drop. She has had a few runs and she did a few things wrong last start and the start before but she’s up against big girls now and she is stepping up.”
Queen of Diamonds will now head to Trentham next month where she will contest the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m).
“There were a few handy fillies in behind her today, so that gives us a lot of positive thoughts heading forward,” Forsman said.
“I guess the 2400m at Trentham is another kettle of fish altogether but she seems to be going the right way.”
Queen Of Diamonds now shares the lead in the lucrative New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series with third place-getter Imelda Mary, with positions in the New Zealand Oaks determining which connections earn $50,000 in bonuses.
The blueblood filly has been installed as a $3.20 favourite for the Oaks, ahead of Imelda Mary at $4. – NZ Racing Desk