Samantha Miss, the best 3-year-old filly in Australia won the best race for 3-year-old fillies when she absolutely trounced her rivals in the Crown Oaks (Aus-I) at Flemington racecourse Nov. 6.
It was a dominant display by Samantha Miss (Redoute’s Choice x Millyet (Zabeel, who had won five of her last six starts and whose only lose was a gallant third against the older horses in the $3.5million Cox Plate recently.
But back against her own age and own sex, she destroyed them. The $1million, 12 1/2 furlong race was over with nearly two furlongs to go when she accelerated from mid-pack in the field of 18 to reach the lead and simply race away. She won by 3 1/2 lengths from the Lee Freedman trained Miss Scarlatti (Stravinsky - Crimson), who covered a little extra ground early but had nothing when the winner challenged, with a wall of horses crossing the line vying for third. That photo went to Allez Wonder (Redoute’s Choice-Luna Tudor) trained by Bart Cummings.
The overall time for the race was a quick race 2:37.57 and the final three furlongs was carved out in :34.94 seconds. Samantha Miss ran the fastest last three in a time of :34.53 seconds.
Ron Crogan, a post 80-year-old, owns Samantha Miss and he has raced horses for many years. He first had horses with the late great Max Lees so it was an emotional few moments when this filly won – trained by Kris Lees, son of Max.
And it was a win that very nearly never happened for owner and trainer.
“Ron told me he desperately wanted to buy a Redoute’s Choice filly at the yearling sales two years ago. I went to $1.6million for one and we looked like getting her, but then, another bid came. We missed her. The very next Redoute’s Choice filly into the sales ring and Ron nudged me. This time just keep going. I want one of them, he said. That filly was Samantha Miss and we snared her for $1.5million. She now has won three group 1 races for us and over $1.7million in prize money, with a lot more to come we hope. She is very special and tough and I am just so proud of her,” explained Kris Lees.
The filly they originally wanted but missed out on has returned just $19,000 thus far in stakes from a handful of starts.
Both knew they had purchased something really special when Samantha Miss won her debut as a 2-year-old.
“Until they do it you never know but we were very confident going into her first race and just as confident in this race too. She’s a super filly and pretty dominant against her own age and sex,” said Lees.
The victory was the 12th group I success for the Sydney jockey, 28-year-old Hugh Bowman. “She’s a bonny filly and it’s a privilege to ride such a horse,” Bowman said. He has been on her in 10 of her 11 starts to date – winning seven (three at group I level) and placing two other times. “Kris and the stable have done a wonderful job and she felt like a superstar out there today. I got out of the pack early knowing I was on the horse to beat and she just traveled up to the leaders so easily. She got to the front too soon, but she’s a super filly and was way too good.”
Samantha Miss will now head to the paddock with the AJC Australian Oak the autumn target.
“Short term goal will be the AJC Australian Oaks and then I’d like to have another go at the Cox Plate in the spring,” said Lees.