Azkadellia has broken through for a maiden win at the highest level with an impressive performance for success in the Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Azkadellia ran on for third in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) on Day 1 of The Championships and was a justifiable favourite in Queen Of The Turf Stakes betting markets as a result.
Jumping well and settling within the classy field of fifteen, the Shinko King mare experienced a care-free run in transit off the pace of Vergara and Badawiya; biding her time until the final straight.
Cutting the corner alongside Noble Protector, Damien Oliver was immediately rewarded for asking Azkadellia for an extra effort when she strode clear of the pack; extending to the line to beat a spirited Heavens Above.
Oliver was a passenger as Azkadellia savaged the line in the Queen Of The Turf Stakes and is confident the mare will only improve through coming seasons.
“She’s a little ripper, this one. You never get sick of riding these ones,” Oliver said.
“When she straightened up she was pretty happy not to see Winx in front of her and she quickened really well and loves the ground.
“She reals off some great sectionals and she hasn’t been seeing any wet tracks in Melbourne, and we always thought she had an action like she’d love the soft and she sure did today.
“She’s a mare that takes gaps really quickly as they come and if you hold her up for one crack, she’s got a great finish on her.”
Jameka was unable to salute for Ciaron Maher in the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m), but the Caulfield-based trainer was understandably pleased to see Azkadellia take out the 2016 Queen Of The Turf Stakes.
“The whole team has done a great job with the horses up here and it’s just great to get a Group 1 victory with her,” Maher said.
“Our plan was always the Doncaster and slide her in on a minimum weight.
“I was hoping we’d get a heavy rating, but she ran as good as what she could hope for and she’s thrived and backed up well.”
Maher saddled Srikandi to success in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap in 2015 and revealed the Brisbane Winter Carnival feature could figure as the next major target for Azkadellia.
“I was always thinking the Stradbroke with her but it will be interesting to see what weight she gets now,” Maher said.
“I love getting up to Brisbane in the winter, so maybe she’s the horse.
“She’ll have a freshen-up now but the horses seem to thrive up there.”
Azkadellia returned to racing this time for second in the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) on February 13th; progressing to success in the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) and second in the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) leading into the Doncaster Mile.