A decision taken just over 12 months ago returned a major dividend when Our Royal Lady made a harness racing winning debut in the 2017 Trotsguide.Com.Au SA Sapling Stakes (1800m) at Globe Derby Park.
Trained by Alan Cronin and driven by Ken Rogers, Our Royal Lady finished brilliantly to score a short half-head win from The Fifth Ace ($10.50) with Bulletproof Boy ($40.10), five metres away third.
Cronin, who trains at Monarto, south of Adelaide, regularly has a small team in work but just over 12 months ago had a discussion with longtime stable client Greg Moy.
A former Ballarat Harness Racing Club president, Mr Moy now resides at Glenelg in South Australia.
“We have had good success with the likes of Try Some Magic, Jakkara Magic and Burning Desire but they were coming to the end of their racing lives,” Cronin said.
“Greg asked me if I would like to have a go with a few two-year-olds and I accepted the challenge.
“Consequently, we haven’t been to the races for quite a while but tonight has made the break worthwhile.
“Greg went to yearling sales last year to pick out a few horses but ironically found Our Royal Lady in a paddock.
“He went to look at yearlings which were going to the sales and saw this filly in a paddock, asked about her, and purchased her on the spot.”
Cronin said the filly had always shown ability.
“She is still a bit immature but should continue to improve with racing and will be even better suited over trips such as 2230m.”
Our Royal Lady had trialled well in preparation for the Sapling Stakes and punters were happy to make her a strong favourite.
Rogers had her away well from gate one and took the trail behind Paris Scene which began quickly from gate four.
Don’t Tell William also got away quickly from gate nine and driver Lisa Ryan took him to the spot outside the lead resulting in 31.4 and 30.8 for the first two quarters which ensured Our Royal Lady remained comfortable third on the fence.
Ryan Hryhorec, on the Ray Holberton-trained The Fifth Ace, sprinted sharply coming off the back and dashed to what looked to be a winning break in the home straight.
When Don’t Tell William began to tire, Rogers took Our Royal Lady off the fence but gave her about 50 metres to keep balanced before asking her to take out after The Fifth Ace.
“I did think I might have left it a bit late,” Rogers said.
“The filly sprinted brilliantly once I asked her for an effort and on the line I wasn’t sure she had arrived but I was delighted when her number went up.
“With the good tempo she settled beautifully but because she is still learning I was careful not to push her out of her stride when I came off the inside. She has a lot of upside.”
Cronin added that he need to thank fellow trainer Lance Holberton.
“Lance has been fantastic. Whenever I have had an issue, Lance has been only too ready to help out with information when I’ve given him a call.”
The Sapling Stakes has been a feature two-year-old race in South Australia for many years with some champion winners, including Inter Dominion winner Richmond Lass, but sadly had only been able to be run once in the past three years through insufficient nominations.
The 2017 version was a wonderful race with an exciting finish and hopefully the Sapling Stakes has regained its prestige of past years and won’t suffer again going forward.
Our Royal Lady is the first winner for the son of Mach Three, Sir Lincoln or in Australia called Lincoln Royal. The Auckland Cup winner Sir Lincoln has a small crop of just 19 two-year-olds in Australia so his effort to leave a Sapling Stakes winner and a filly at that is impressive. Our Royal Lady was one of only three fillies in the race.
Source: Graham Fischer (www.harnesslink.com)