Maiden Of The Week

Azula (AUS)

Azula (AUS)

2 f Maurice – Shutout by Redoute’s Choice

O: Mrs M N Annetts, Dr A Dadgostar, A Roden, Dr E T Hodgson, J N Allen, G G B Macdonald, M S Hughes, Mrs G C Smith, J L Robertson, M C Davey, Dr P H Hughes, D R Parker, C G Matthews, Ms S G Freeman-Matthews, I Bacon & L Bacon

B: S Watts

T: Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott

S: 2022 Inglis Classic Yearling Sale V: Twin Hills Stud P: Gai Waterhouse / Adrian Bott / Kestrel, $100,000

W: Tab Handicap, 1400m, May 10, Randwick-Kensington

Having finished a luckless fifth on her debut in a 1200-metre event at Warwick Farm last month, Maurice (Screen Hero) filly Azula made no mistake at Randwick-Kensington on Wednesday where she made most of the running to land a handicap over 1400 metres.

A tad slow to break from her wide draw in barrier 11, the two-year-old then worked her way to the front at the 900-metre marker. Travelling well throughout the contest under Jean Van Overmeire, Azula shrugged off the late challenge of eventual runner-up Rhythm Of Love (Grunt) to score by a comfortable one and a half lengths.

Such was the professionalism of Azula’s performance, Adrian Bott, who trains the filly in partnership with Hall of Famer Gai Waterhouse, mentioned that Queensland could be on the agenda in the near future.

“That was a nice, strong effort under a confident ride by Jean,” said Bott.

“He took control of the race and rolled forward. We thought she would be strong over this trip, which she showed first up.

“She showed good improvement and is a lovely filly. We wanted to see her get out to this distance. We will have to decide whether we press on to the Queensland Carnival.

“She will be a nice filly over a bit of a trip in the spring, so we have a few options to weigh up.”

A $100,000 purchase from the Twin Hills Stud draft for Bott and Waterhouse alongside Kestrel Thoroughbreds at last year’s Inglis Classic Yearling Sale, Azula is the fifth winner from six to race out of the Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) mare Shutout.

Shutout is the daughter of Group 2 winner and New Zealand Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) runner-up La Sizeranne (Stravinsky).

A Denman (Lonhro) colt out of Shutout was bought for $70,000 by Kelette Lodge from the Twin Hills Stud draft at this year’s Inglis Classic Yearling Sale and, after foaling a Fiorente (Monsun) colt last spring, Shutout was covered by Hallowed Crown (Street Sense).

In winning Wednesday’s event, Azula became the fifth juvenile winner of the season for Arrowfield Stud’s Maurice, who will stand the 2023 breeding season for an unchanged fee of $82,500 (inc GST).