It was a great day at Ladbrokes Park (Sandown) on Wednesday. Lady of Flanders backed up her last start victory with an even stronger win, and Getemhel fought hard to place in a strong race earlier on the card.
The merit of Lady of Flanders’ win at Caulfield a couple of weeks ago was never in question. There is an air of confidence about this daughter of Viking Ruler, but Nigel and Breeder/Owner Ross Wilkinson avoided the temptation of heading back to Saturday class or stakes level. It was important to both Nigel and Ross to target another race for victory, keep Lady of Flanders within her current benchmark class and work her through the grades. There is plenty of time for stakes-level racing keeping into Spring and in the Autumn.
The BM70 Fillies & Mares 1300m event at Sandown was a strong edition considering its Benchmark status and prizemoney of $40k. She was up against See Me Exceed (2nd to Lady of Flanders at Caulfield) and Josephine Sea (5th), and meeting both worse at the weights by as much as 4.5kg. But none of this phased Nigel and Ross. Nor did it phase rider Michael Dee who had to negotiate a wide barrier.
Michael Dee replaced the ill Ben Allen on the day. Michael still had time to do his homework. He and Nigel agreed to ride Lady of Flanders like the best horse in the race, but leave it up to Michael to position her as best as possible depending on the tempo and other runners.
The speed was genuine, but Lady of Flanders comfortably matched that speed. Despite sitting three-wide for most of the race and facing the breeze, and coming off the bridle into the home turn as the leaders tried to skip away, she was too strong again and scored by almost a length from the fast finishing Josephine Sea.
The way the race was run, the overall time and her position in running made this win worthy of credit. Lady of Flanders showed she is tough and durable. She can race on the pace or off it. This augurs well for her future.
Review the race results and watch the race replay.
As mentioned, there is plenty of black-type racing later in the Spring and in the Autumn. So with a rating at 73, Nigel and Ross are keen to keep picking the right races in the right grade for Lady of Flanders, and hopefully she can keep winning!
Thanks to Michael Dee for his ride, and to Ben Allen who missed the ride on Wednesday due to illness.