Scarlett Lady Begins Melbourne Cup Campaign In NZ

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Scarlett Lady will begin her spring campaign in her home country of New Zealand later this month, when she competes in the Group 1 Challenge Stakes at Hastings.

The Queensland Oaks winner will clash with talented runners Wall Street and Jimmy Choux in the 1,200 metre race.

Trainer Graeme Rogerson chose to spell Scarlett Lady following her spectacular Oaks win in June.

“She only had two and a half weeks off after the Oaks and she’s going to gallop between races before she returns in the Challenge Stakes,” Rogerson said.

“She’ll be competitive in anything she runs in this campaign. She certainly is a pretty good filly and she looks good.

“She has put on some weight since the Oaks in Brisbane and after the Challenge Stakes she’ll go to Australia and run in the Underwood Stakes and then the Turnbull before the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

“Max Whitby owns her and it was his decision, which I fully supported, not to run in the Derby.”

The trainer is not yet making comparisons between Scarlett Lady and champion New Zealand horse Ethereal, who won the 2001 Queensland Oaks before winning the Caulfield and Melbourne Cup double later that year.

“Scarlett Lady won the Travis and Breeders Stakes and has done everything we’ve asked of her,” Rogerson said.

“Her next five starts are all Group Ones and if she happened to go on to win the two Cup races then we can talk about her in the same breath as Ethereal.

“But Ethereal didn’t win the weight-for-age races in New Zealand before she went to Australia but she did win the two big Cups over there.

“I suppose she’s won more than Ethereal right now but she hasn’t won the two Cups yet.”

Rogerson is also preparing stablemate Shootoff for a Cox Plate run in the spring.

“He’ll run in the weight-for-age races in Sydney before going to Melbourne for the Cox Plate,” Rogerson said.

“He doesn’t have to improve much.

“He got on the wrong leg in the (Group One) Doomben Cup when a horse kept coming out and bumping him.

“It was a very good run to finish fourth in that race before he won the Derby.

“I’ll nominate him for the Cups races as well but next year might be his year.”

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