Rena Lady, by a classic-winning Danehill son, sprung an upset in the Australain Oaks (Aus-I) at Randwick on April 11. The 18-1 chance led from wire-to-wire in the 96th running of the AUS$600,000 Oaks, to provide the stallion Arena with his second group I success.
Michael Rodd seized the initiative to control the tempo. With his mount’s courage added, it produced a half length success from Perfect Drop (11-1).
The runner up is by Quest for Fame and had also finished second to Rena Lady in Oaks prep, the Adrian Knox Stakes (Aus-III) on the opening day, April 7.
Tuesday Joy (2-1) reprised her Australian Derby third, this time 4 3/4 lengths from the winner. Her rider, Danny Beasley, accepted the blame for leaving his run on the Carnegie filly until way too late. He had allowed her to race on her own at the rear of the eight runners for much of the journey.
Beasley explained to her crew, and racing officials, that he’d waited on Darren Beadman on the 7-4 elect, Banc De Fortune, who was fourth.
Tuesday Joy ran home strongly without providing hope for her backers.
Time for the 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) was 2:33.72 almost five seconds outside the race record, on a track still deep, although drier than for the Derby four days earlier.
Rena Lady provided Gary Portelli with his first group I win in 15 years of training. The 37-year-old prepares the filly for a slew of owners. The number of owners of the horse is close to 30, with seven of the ten allowed to be named in the official racecard are also listed as the filly’s breeders. They are headed by Graeme Smith, who sent Boisterous Lady to Arena at lomar Park.
Rivotious, sire of the Oaks winner’s dam, is by Riverman.
Arena is the second of four Victoria Derby (Aus-I) winners sired by Danehill, the colt also second as Sky Heights won the 1999 Australian Derby.
Portelli kept cool in the heady moments after his most success.
“You've got to put it all in perspective,” he said. “It wasn't the strongest Oaks on record and there’d be plenty of trainers to tell you the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups [both Aus-I] next spring will suit her. But you won't hear that from me. We'll go where we can win.”
After the cool-out, the crew’s consensus is that Rena Lady will chase a second Oaks in the Queensland version, also gr.I and worth AUS$325,000 on June 9.