Ambitious goal awaits Spring Bouquet

Spring Bouquet (Michael McNab) and Super Gee (inner) in a desperate finish at Pukekohe yesterday.

Cambridge filly Spring Bouquet took a step towards an ambitious goal when clearing maiden ranks on protest at Pukekohe yesterday.

Bred and raced by Dick Karreman’s The Oaks Stud, Spring Bouquet holds a nomination for the Gr.1 $400,000 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham on March 16 and, though that feature may seem a dream target at this stage, she shows the necessary fight to get her chance to earn a crack at the fillies’ feature.

Placed in her two trials, Spring Bouquet was an eye-catching seventh on debut over 1200m at Pukekohe on October 26 when finishing strongly after being slow away.

Stepped up 200m in yesterday’s Event Essentials 1400, the daughter of Darci Brahma produced a top performance in the hands of Michael McNab and would have been a certainty beaten if the protest was not upheld.

Soon midfield in the running, she was three-wide at the 700m and wider on the turn then loomed up quickly in the run home.

She was in front at the 200 metres, a disadvantage for such an inexperienced galloper, and was headed again by Super Gee, who got to the winning post first by a mere nose.

But what happened with about 50m to run was what cost Spring Bouquet the win in the first instance. She was knocked by an outward movement from Super Gee and spun sideward, interference which certainly made the difference between first and second, especially when only a nose separated the pair.

With more experience under her belt, Spring Bouquet should manage further tests of stamina and it will be interesting to see if she can take the step up to the 2400m Oaks distance.

She is from the Traditionally mare Spring Fever, who won over 1200m, and both her grandam, Blooming (third Listed CJC Canterbury Belle Stakes) and third dam, Down The Avenue, were sprint winners.

However, her fourth dam, Lady Upstage, won three races, at 2000 and 2400m in Sydney.

Lady Upstage went on to be a prolific broodmare who was successful with each of her eight foals to race with the best of those being Shaftesbury Avenue (13 wins).

Shaftesbury Avenue was regarded as a great sprinter-miler, with his six Group One wins including the VRC Newmarket Handicap and Lightning Stakes. But it is worth remembering he stretched out successfully to 2000m when winning the Gr.1 Caulfield Stakes and his stakes-winning half-sister Stage Shy won up to 2400m.