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Photo Finish goes to Ladies First – Auckland Cup winner plans Melbourne Cup assault

Steve Bennett in Latest News 13 Mar 2018
  • Ladies First wins the Auckland Cup
  • Plans for a Melbourne Cup start
Auckland Cup winner - Ladies First

Ladies First passed all tests for the right to contest this year’s Melbourne Cup.

At least that’s the next major goal on the books for owners Humphrey and Fiona O’Leary who have already had a taste of the Melbourne Cup.

The O’Leary’s are part owners of Who Shot Thebarman who won the 2014 Auckland Cup then went on to run third behind Protectionist in the Melbourne Cup the same year.

The Dylan Thomas mare did it the hard way as she was trapped three-wide for the first half of the race then gave jockey Johnathan Parkes no option but to take the mare forward to get her closer to the fence. 

It was a real dogged effort to get her first past the post considering the amount of extra work she had to do.

Even trainer Allan Sharrock had his doubts during the run.

“She was posted three wide around one bend and then two bends and I said she can’t win” Sharrock told the NZ Racing Desk.

“I’m rapt but I did think she had got beaten on the line. I’m a bit shocked really – I thought she had run second”.

The five-year-old threw out a challenge down the straight with Five To Midnight finishing hard down the outside. The two horses hit the line together, with Ladies Day prevailing by a nose with Wildflower just a neck away in third place.

The O’Leary’s are now very keen to push on with a Flemington Spring Carnival campaign in mind and ultimately a start in the Melbourne Cup.

“We’ve pulled her out of the Sydney Cup and she’ll go to the paddock and then we’ll be looking at the Livamol Classic and the Melbourne Cup” Sharrock said.

Ladies First has built herself a very attractive resume which now reads 16 starts for nine wins and three minor placings and prizemoney of $480,000 already in the bank.

She is one from one over the two mile trip, three from three on good tracks and shows her versatility by boasting six wins from seven starts on heavy tracks. 

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Photo Finish goes to Ladies First – Auckland Cup winner plans Melbourne Cup assault

Ladies First passed all tests for the right to contest this year’s Melbourne Cup.

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