Max Whitby isn’t just the director of the Sydney Turf Club, he also is a key player in racehorse ownership and is involved with two very promising New Zealand stars.
Both Scarlett Lady and Dowager Queen were on show during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and both proved that they had the makings of top spring contenders.
Scarlett Lady was of course the most impressive winning The Roses at Doomben as well as the Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm, both in a highly impressive manner.
Dowager Queen didn’t have the same level of success in the two-year-old races but she had some excuses with bad barriers and a race tempo which really didn’t suit her.
Whitby is in constant contact with trainers Grahame and Debbie Rogerson and he says that Scarlett Lady is almost finished her spell.
“She’s in the paddock and due back Monday week…she’s in the same paddock as Dowager Queen,” he said.
He says he has no regrets of not pushing her forward into the Queensland Derby, a race many believe she would have won.
“The derby was very challenging for us, we made the decision that if bloods weren’t right we wouldn’t run,” he said.
“We’re happy, the stable won the Derby anyway (Shootoff).”
Having said that he strongly believes his horse would have been too strong for Shootoff, especially considering the form line given by Shez Sinsational.
“The form would have stood up very well, but we’re very happy with what we’re doing, we’ve got a good little mare,” he said.
Looking into the future Whitby is very keen on getting her onto the Cup’s trail, just how far she goes though remains to be seen.
“Caulfield Cup is definitely where we’re going, that’s our first goal,” he said.
“Whatever happens after that will depend on how she pulls up.”
Much like she did in the Winter Scarlett Lady will hit the ground running in Australia having just a single run back home before tackling the Cup.
“We’ve got one lined up for her over there, one run and straight to Victoria,” he said.
The incredibly strong partnership with James McDonald will continue as well with the star jockey confirming to Whitby that he’s keen to keep going.
“He loves both those horses and he’s committed to riding her for us,” he said.
“He’s more than just a jockey, he feels like he’s part of it.”
Whitby also says there’s been a mountain of highly valuable offers coming in for the horse but it’s not something they’re going to even consider until post spring.
“There’s been very genuine interest but you’ve just got to forget about it,” he said.
As for Dowager Queen, Whitby certainly isn’t shying away from any challenge and she may get a crack at the big time.
The Cox Plate is something he feels is a realistic goal and a race where she can show her true potential.
“She’ll carry no weight … Graham and I have won it in the past,” he said.
If she made the field it would be likely she’d run with around 46kgs on her back.
He says her preparation as a rising three-year-old will be a bit different back home and she’ll have two runs before making the trip across the ditch.