Lightly-raced Blackfriars sprinter Erika produced a barnstorming finish to capture the feature race for fillies & mares at the Wagga Gold Cup meeting on Friday.
Erika won the Rules Club Queen of the South (1400m) to send Blackfriars through $4 million in prizemoney this season. She has been a regular money-spinner for connections winning 3 races and being placed 4 times in the last twelve months.
Her only unplaced run this season was a midfield finish at Warwick Farm in October. “She’s a nice mare and toughed that out really well,” trainer John Bateman said. “We might go back to town and find another race for her now.”
Erika (4m Blackfriars – Europium by Metal Storm) is a half-sister to Group 1 winner Moment Of Change and, like him, was bred by Capel-based Sovereign Stud owner Tracy Knotts. Second-dam Kosleta (Zabaleta) won the 1996 R J Peters Stakes and among her foals was 2006 Belmont Guineas winner Mr Diagnosis (Scenic).
Group 1 winning jockey Jay Ford was impressed by the strength of her win at Wagga. “I had a bit to do with Erika in the early days but haven’t been able to ride her in a race until now. She’s up in the weights against mares so it was a gusty effort.”
Scenic Lodge has announced Blackfriars will remain at a $12,000 (plus gst) service fee for 2016. He is assured of a sixth Sunspeed title in a row this season and will nudge $5 million in earnings if Black Heart Bart wins the G1 Doomben 10,000 or G1 Stradbroke Hcp at the Brisbane winter carnival.