The Roger James trained Romantic Maid stamped herself as a serious contender for the Group 1 $500,000 Treasury Casino & Hotel Queensland Oaks (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4 with an authoritative win at Randwick on Wednesday.
Romantic Maid was only having her sixth race start in the BenchMark 70 Handicap for the three year olds over 2000m and James was wanting jockey Sam Clipperton to give her a good test with the Queensland Oaks in mind.
James instructed Clipperton to ride a positive race on Romantic Maid is view of heading to Queensland and the young jockey heeded the advice and let the filly slide forward from a wide barrier and sit in third spot behind the tearaway leader Just Dylan and High Wind.
Clipperton let Romantic Maid work up outside the leader on the home turn and then released the brakes on top of the rise and extended the filly to the line to record a three quarters of a length win over the Chris Waller trained Pursuit Of Honour.
“I said to San Clipperton that if she is going to be competitive in a Queensland Oaks, she will have to be good enough to be ridden like the best horse,” James said.
“It was a good test for her, she had to work to find a spot, they didn’t walk in front and then she was left in front from the top of the straight and did a good job to hold them off.”
Even though Romantic Maid was successful when ridden in the first half of the field, James said that his intention will be to ride her further back in the field in Queensland Oaks.
“I certainly think she will be better when ridden on the conservative side, we can do that in the Oaks now that we got today’s result out of the way,” James said.
And James is confident that the High Chaparral filly will be better suited over the 2400m of the Queensland Oaks.
“She is by High Chaparral and works at home like a true stayer so I think the extended distance will be a positive,” James said.
Following her win at Randwick, Romantic Maid has been elevated up the market order for the Queensland Oaks and is marked at $9 on the second line of betting with Ladbrokes.com.au behind the Bjorn Baker trained Imposing Lass at $6.
Early market order for the Queensland Oaks at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6 Imposing Lass, $9 Romantic Maid, $10 Ambience, Falkenberg, $11 Provocative, Self Esteem, Top Of My List, $13 Chandana, $15 Arcadia Dream, Believe, Downton Abbey, Fanatic, $17 Dulverton, Sacred Eye, Tap This.