Cambridge fillies on fire for Queensland Oaks

Romantic Maid, who burst into Queensland Oaks contention with Provocative after winning today in Australia.

Romantic Maid, who burst into Queensland Oaks contention with Provocative after winning today in Australia.

Romantic Maid and Provocative achieved the desired results in different states of Australia today to earn cracks at the Gr. 1 Queensland Oaks next month.

Cambridge trainer Roger James opted for a Sydney mission for Romantic Maid to boost her prize money to make the Oaks field on June 4 and Tony Pike lined Provocative up at Ipswich in Queensland for the same reason.

After finishing third in her Sydney debut, Romantic Maid proved too strong for her rivals in the 4a43,000 PKF 3YO Rating 70 Handicap (2000m) in the hands of Sam Clipperton at Randwick, while Provocative, ridden by Kiwi hoop Vinnie Colgan, was also dominant, winning the $A21,500 Ipswich Cup Marquees 3YO (2190m).

Romantic Maid had clipped heels and lost rider Danielle Johnson in the Championship Stakes at Ellerslie on April 23 and had shown signs of being field-shy first-up in Sydney, but the addition of blinkers helped overcome that problem.

Clipperton settled Romantic Maid third on the outer several lengths behind the tearaway leader Just Dylan and had her within striking distance approaching the home turn.

Romantic Maid soon took control and though the challengers came she was never in doubt and held on well to win by three-quarters of a length.

Sam Clipperton“It was a nice win,” said Clipperton (pictured). “It was a bit tricky to judge with that leader so far in front. I just had to keep her in a nice comfort zone, a nice rhythm.

“I was always going to hit the front a long way out and I had to nurse her through the gears to build her confidence.

“She was entitled to lay down but she kept going strongly to the line. It was a good win.

“She’s still got a lot of upside to her and still learning to do as well.

“She was a bit fired up with the blinkers for the first half of the race. Once she’s ridden with a bit of a smother she will really hit the line well Roger has got a nice filly on his hands.”

James was obviously very pleased with Romantic Maid’s performance and says the High Chaparral filly has sealed her trip to the Queensland Oaks.

“To be fair she was in front a long way out and it’s a big long straight here at Randwick,” said James. “The blinkers helped, too.

“She went around without her rider the start before Rosehill and Michael Rodd said she felt a little bit uncertain and wary about everything at Rosehill.

“I had worked her in blinkers at home before I left and that’s all I needed to make the decision to put them on.

“She deserves her opportunity (at the Queensland Oaks) on that run.”

Provocative, who was in winning form again today.

Provocative, who was in winning form again today.

Within an hour of Romantic Maid’s win (her third from six starts), Provocative also booked her place in the Queensland Oaks.

Colgan settled Provocative third last and improved her with 800 metres to run to be up fourth and wide nearing the home turn. Provocative soon took control and drew clear the last 150 metres to win convincingly.

A daughter of Zabeel, Provocative, like Romantic Maid, took her record to three wins from six starts. Her first two wins had been over 1400 and 2100 metres and she was sixth to stablemate Rangipo in the Gr. 2 Avondale Guineas in her fourth start.