Delayed start to Rock Diva’s Queensland campaign

Rock Diva is a notable omission from the Gold Coast meeting on Saturday, but the smart Cambridge filly will still be on today’s Queensland-bound flight.

The Gr.1 Wellfield NZ Oaks placegetter was scheduled to make her Australian debut in the Listed A$125,000 Harvey Prestige Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m) this weekend, but trainer Tony Pike has changed plans after discussion with Bruce Sherwin, of Raffles Farm (owners of the daughter of Lucky Unicorn).

“I talked it over with Bruce and we didn’t want to put her through the trip to the Gold Coast just two days after getting off the plane,” said Pike. “She can miss the Bracelet and have a quiet week then run in a barrier trial on the 13th (May). She can then go straight into the Doomben Roses.

“She’s pulled up so well from her exhibition gallop at Te Rapa last Saturday. She’s fit and doesn’t need a run before the Roses.”

Provided Rock Diva performs well in the Gr. 2 Doomben Roses (2000m) on May 17 she will press on to her main mission, the Gr. 1 A$400,000 Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on May 31.

Promising stablemate Sancerre will also be on today’s Queensland flight and will start on the Sunshine Coast on May 11, while Allez Eagle is remaining in New Zealand and will contest the Minibus Express 1200 at Te Rapa on Saturday with Rory Hutchings aboard.

“Unfortunately he has drawn wide, but his class should take him a long way,” said Pike. “I just want to see him get his confidence back after what happened there last time.”

Allez Eagle suffered lacerations to his right leg after Cosmic Cube, the horse in the next barrier, got down in his stall in the Gr. 3 James and Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes at Te Rapa last October. Cosmic Cube was a late scratching but Allez Eagle started and wasn’t able to produce the form he showed when winning impressively on debut on the same track.