Provocative stamped herself as a filly with a big future with a strong staying performance in the 2016 Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm this afternoon.
Provocative only earnt a place in the Queensland Oaks field following the scratching of Beluga Blue at the end of last week, but it quickly became clear in the final stages of the race why trainer Tony Pike was so keen to get her into the race.
Falkenberg took up the running at the top of the straight, but she was quickly claimed by Provocative at the 300 metre mark and she extended her lead in the final stages of the race to record a most impressive victory from a typically gallant Ambience and Falkenberg.
Provocative made her racing debut with a narrow victory in the Heat Cool Maiden (1400m) at New Plymouth on December 27 and she was unplaced behind Mackintosh in the Brinks Handicap (1500m) at Ellerslie on January 9 before she returned to winning form in the League 4 Life Foundation Handicap (2100m) at Ellerslie on February 4.
She was beaten as favourite in the Group 2 Avondale Guineas (2100m) at Ellerslie on February 20 and she was flat when fourth in the NZI Handicap (1600m) at Te Rapa on May 7, but she was able to stamp herself as a genuine Queensland Oaks contender with a classy win at Ipswich on May 18.
The victory of Proactive capped off not just a big day for trainer Tony Pike – who earlier won the JJ Atkins with Sacred Elixir – but a big season for New Zealand-trained horses in Classic races in Australia.
Tarzino and Jameka were able to win the Victoria Derby and Crown Oaks respectively in the spring, but Tavago (Australian Derby) and Sofia Rosa (Australian Oaks) were too strong for the locals in the autumn.
Ambience produced another consistent performance without winning to complete a fair treble of placings in the Crown Oaks, Australian Oaks and Queensland Oaks, while Falkenberg didn’t run out the 2400 metres strongly, but still finished well clear of the rest of the field in third.
The Queensland Oaks proved the strongest form race of the entire 2015 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival last year – it was won by Winx who has since gone on to win the Epsom Handicap, Cox Plate, Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and Doncaster Mile at Group 1 level.