El Patroness has proven to be the elite three-year-old staying filly, recording a dominant victory in the Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The Danny O’Brien-trained daughter of Shamus Award had been knocking on the door in Melbourne, running some solid races, but she was missed by the market, starting $30 with online bookmakers.
Ridden perfectly by Damien Lane, the filly settled down just behind the speed, before trucking into the race on the turn alongside the fancied Gypsy Goddess.
2022 Australian Oaks Replay
That pair fought it out for 100m in the straight, before the eventual winner cleared out to win in dominant fashion, recording an official winning margin of 2.55 lengths over Gypsy Goddess, while Gin Martini fought on gamely to run third.
Winning trainer Danny O’Brien fell short in the 2021 ATC Derby with Young Werther, but he was able to make amends in 2022, with a well-deserving Group 1 victory over The Championships.
“She was favourite for the VRC Oaks in the spring but she had a really tough run on Caulfield Cup Day and that bottomed her out,” O’Brien said.
“But she has returned really well this autumn. Her first two runs were excellent but then she had a very difficult run at Moonee Valley the other night when she over-raced and did everything upside down.
“Look, we had always been very confident in her once she got to 2400m. It was really testing conditions but she was powering through the line.”
Although the winning trainer thought the conditions could bring her undone, the victorious jockey said that the filly did everything perfectly despite the “bottomless” surface: “It’s on the better side of bottomless. It’s holding together well under the circumstances,” Lane said of the track conditions.
“It worked out well for me because it was a more genuine tempo than I thought there would be on paper and it suited her.
“It helped her get into a good rhythm and she was too strong at the end. I traveled so sweetly, got in between a couple on the corner and she just took me through the run.
“You’re never quite sure here at Randwick because it’s a long way down to the winning post, especially on heavy ground, but she always felt like she was sustaining her gallop.”