If Roy Rogers needs validation leading up to the WA Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on Saturday, he received it.
Albany-based Roy Rogers will have a two-pronged attack in the Group 3 event, but jockey Lucy Warwick’s strong endorsement of Heavenly Waters has fuelled his confidence.
Warwick is in the best position to offer Rogers honest appraisal, having ridden Heavenly Waters in all the filly’s seven career starts to date.
Rogers hopes Warwick can help Heavenly Waters cap her two-year-old season in the same manner as when she started last November.
Heavenly Waters won the Crystal Slipper Stakes (1100m) on debut in an upset, scoring at double figure odds before going for a let up.
Heavenly Waters is currently a +1400 chance to win the Sires, the race dominated by Karrakatta Plate combatants, Ex Sport Man (+250) and Liwa (+260).
Heavenly Waters ran a close second to Ex Sport Man in the Magic Millions WA 2YO Classic (1200m) at Pinjarra, falling a neck short after being overrun in the straight.
Ex Sport Man again had the upper hand in last fortnight’s Karrakatta Plate (1200m), with Heavenly Waters running a creditable seventh, beaten three lengths.
Although going under, Warwick gave Rogers a glowing report and believes an extra 200m of the Sires will give Heavenly Waters a top chance to turn the tables.
“Lucy was really happy with the run of Heavenly Waters in the Karrakatta,” Rogers said on Tabradio.
“She said that she’s screaming out for a bit more ground and has lost her early dash.
“She copped a fairly big bump in the Karrakatta and that’s fine, but for a little to horse to recover like that and still run on in the straight was a good effort.
“The barrier is ok for her and you hope she can tack onto Ex Sport Man.
“He’s the horse to beat and is absolutely flying.”
Hoi An gave Rogers his first Group 3 success after an impressive performance in the Gimcrack Stakes (1100m) but has copped another horror draw.
Hoi An jumped from barrier 16 in the Karrakatta Plate and fared little better in the Sires after coming up with gate 14, the second-widest starting position.
The riding responsibilities rest with jockey Shaun O’Donnell, returning from the Gimcrack after missing the Karrakatta Plate through suspension.
“She’s very unlucky with the barrier again,” Rogers said.
“I spoke to Donga (O’Donnell) and he’s going to ride her for luck.
“He’ll probably drag her straight out of it and try and go up on the inside.
“He’ll be looking to take the easy way home.”