Failing to beat a single runner home in her racing return two weeks ago, classy mare Scratchy Bottom has responded in the best way possible at Rosehill this afternoon; poking clear on the line to win the Group 3 Epona Stakes (1900m).
Jumping from the gates fairly, Craig Williams settled the four-year-old within the field of eleven and allowed early leaders Role Model, Inishowen and Sabor A Triunfo to set a fast pace over the back straight.
Appearing to be blocked for a run upon arriving at the final straight, Williams threaded the daughter of Sebring through the pack and was offered a clear racing line over the last 200m; edging past clear favourite Rising Romance to post undoubtedly her most impressive career win to date.
Trainer Mick Kent was on hand to witness Scratchy Bottom’s 2015 Epona Stakes triumph and was thrilled to post a win in the event after saddling Epingle to a close second in 2013.
“She’s really quite a good horse and we’re just trying to get up in trip,” Kent said after the race.
“Her form over a mile is pretty good – she’s Group 1 placed twice and we sort of picked this race out a while ago.
“She had one run at home and I was hoping for some soft ground because the Sebrings seem to like soft ground, but he rode her terribly well and got the bob on the line.
“We’re really pleased with how she’s going and she just wants the trip and it’s not easy to find a mares’ race with a bit of ground over it.
“This race I’ve been a bit unlucky over the last two years with Epingle, so it was good to finally win one.”
Yet to settle on a specific course of action for Scratchy Bottom this time in, Kent said an appearance in the Group 2 Chairman’s Handicap (2600m) on Day 1 of The Championships may figure as the next target, however he will let her form over the coming weeks dictate the path taken.
“All she wants to do it stay so I can’t wait to get her over a mile and a half,” he added.
“We might run in the Chairman’s or we might have a re-think about where we go with her, but the most important thing was to get a Stakes win with her.”
In winning the Epona Stakes, Scratchy Bottom has now claimed three race wins over a 12 start career which has also included two minor place finishes.