Strawbridge Gamble Almost Pays Off; Wild Iris Wins Australian Oaks

A gamble by American owner George Strawbridge almost produced an early jackpot when French Lady ran second behind runaway winner Wild Iris in the Australian Oaks (Aust-I) at Randwick April 14.

Strawbridge paid a reported $500,000 (New Zealand funds) for the daughter of Entrepreneur after her fourth in the New Zealand Oaks (NZ-I). He intends aiming the Mike Moroney trained filly at a North American career.

French Lady (25-1) earned $132,000 in heading the remaining eight as late entry Wild Iris made a one-act of the Emirates-sponsored Oaks, worth $660,000 (Australian funds). Partnered by Larry Cassidy, she staged a remarkable last-to-first victory to win by 3 ½ lengths.

The country's leading filly, Special Harmony, bypassed the Oaks because of a soft track four days after her Australian Derby sixth, and Wild Iris became the favorite at 11-8 ahead of Timbourina (9-4). The Timber Country filly reprised her Derby finish of fourth, but was obviously jaded by her run against the males.

Boulevardofdreams (15-2), a daughter of Daggers Drawn, outlasted her to finish third, beaten four lengths.

Wild Iris, trained by Guy Walter, was supplemented for the 2,400 meters classic after winning prep race, the Adrian Knox Stakes (Aust-II), on the opening day of the Randwick carnival April 10.
Walter trained champion Tie the Knot for the Tait family, owners of this filly, a winner of three races and $574,100 from seven starts.
Her success provided the classic double for Coolmore, the Derby 1-2-3 by sires on its roster. But as is Starcraft's sire, Soviet Star, Spectrum is an ex-shuttler.

In fact, four of the six Derby/Oaks placegetters are by sires no longer shuttling including Prized.

Daggers Drawn (by Diesis) is the exception.

Spectrum commuted from Ireland to Segenhoe Stud in 1997. When that farm was sold to Vinery the following year, he relocated to Yarraman Park, where he worked until 2002.

In six southern seasons Spectrum has left three gr. I winners, the others Spectatorial and Barkada.