Bring on the Oaks says Marsh

Sofia Rosa (Danielle Johnson) drawing clear of her rivals in today's Little Avondale Stud Lowland Stakes.

Sofia Rosa (Danielle Johnson) drawing clear of her rivals in today’s Little Avondale Stud Lowland Stakes.

Rival trainers are going to have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to halt the winning run of Sofia Rosa in the Gr. 1 Wellfield New Zealand Oaks.

That was the clear message sent out by the Stephen Marsh-prepared filly at Hastings today when she returned from a lengthy break to demolish her opposition in the Gr. 3 Little Avondale Stud Lowland Stakes.

“She will improve as she was a bit light going into this, she was probably 90 percent today,” said the Cambridge horseman. “She’s very good and she’s going to be bang on for the Oaks.”

Unraced by design since she won the Gr. 2 Royal Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day, Sofia Rosa settled midfield and one off the fence before rider Danielle Johnson urged the daughter of Makfi around runners 600 metres from home.

“It was a 10 out of 10 ride – everything went to plan when we were three back and one out,” said Marsh. “The filly’s temperament was good today as well as it has let her down in the past.

”She’s better left-handed and that’s why we were here and not in the Sunline Vase at Ellerslie.”

A focussed Sofia Rosa hit the front halfway down the straight and she bolted clear to beat Strada Cavallo decisively with the unfancied pair of Amazing Lady and Fanatic next to finish.

“She’s good and she’s only going to get better and better,” said Johnson. “She put paid to them easily, nothing got close to her and I only gave her one behind the saddle.”

Sofia Rosa has now hit the front in the race for the NZ Bloodstock Filly of the Year title with 14 points ahead of the now Melbourne-based Risque on 12 and Strada Cavallo on 11.5.

Her victory also capped off a lucrative day for Johnson, who rode four winners including Sofia Rosa’s stablemate Seize The Moment, an easy victor of the Fasttrack Insurance Open Handicap.

– NZ Racing Desk.