From the Commentary Box 11 April 2016

If there was a prize for the most politically correct jockey, Hugh Bowman would be a short priced favourite.

The world class Aussie hoop, considered by many as the best jockey in Australia, won last Saturday’s James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks on Cambridge filly SOFIA ROSA.

Moments after crossing the finish line, Bowman was asked what he thought of the Stephen Marsh trained filly. “I’ve ridden some difficult horses in my time, but she takes the cake.” said Bowman rather diplomatically.

Easing the difficulty somewhat was the undoubted toughness and class of SOFIA ROSA.
“She was laying in all over the place up the home straight but she just kept giving.” said Bowman. “She’s one tough filly.“ he added.

For trainer Stephen Marsh the win was a career highlight. “We were gutted after she lost the New Zealand Oaks on protest so to win today is so satisfying.” said Marsh.

SOFIA ROSA was relegated to second after causing interference to eventual winner Fanatic over the concluding stages. Marsh echoed his rider’s sentiments regarding SOFIA ROSA.
“You never take anything for granted with her, she’ll kick and bite you as soon as look at you.” said Marsh.

Marsh singled out stable employee Troy Harris for special praise. “Troy rides her every day and I marvel at how he puts up with all her antics.” said Marsh.

Personally, SOFIA ROSA may have the temperament of a rabid bush pig, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a tougher filly. Her horrific race fall at Ellerslie on Boxing Day would have seen most horses put aside to recover. Not SOFIA ROSA though.

Just a week later she was back at Ellerslie and winning a Group Two race. It is a tribute to her toughness that the NZ Filly of the Year, is also the James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks winner.

Talking about winners, what a great day it was at Te Aroha for Cambridge stables. The locals dominated most of the card at the Premier meeting.

Although unable to bag the Group One feature on the day, Cambridge stables saddled up five of the nine race winners.

HOLLYWOOD LASS got the ball rolling with a brilliant debut win in the opening event. The Tony Pike trained filly looks a real promising type.

The Linda Laing trained NEALA, with Rogan Norvall aboard, led home a Cambridge trifecta in race two. The MASTERCRAFTSMAN filly scored at lucrative odds of $30 to 1.

Fresh up exponent BONNIEGIRL was the first of two winners for the Baker/Forsman team, along with the J Swap Te Aroha Cup victor, SAINT EMILION.
Wrapping up the successful day for Cambridge, was the victory of CALL ME ROYAL for part owner and trainer, Tarissa Mitchell.

The continued success of Cambridge horses not only in New Zealand, but also at the highest level in Australia is quite remarkable.

Congrats to all.

I’ll catch you next week.