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Sofia Rosa Wins Gr1 Australian Oaks
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Westbury Stud shuttle stallion Makfi (Dubawi-Dhelaal, by Green Desert) celebrated an elite success when 3YO New Zealand-bred filly Sofia Rosa (Makfi-Bislieri, by Encosta de Lago) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Stephen Marsh in the $1 million Gr1 Australian Oaks (2400m) for 3YO fillies, over fellow fillies Ambience (Street Cry-Miss Right Note, by Daylami) & Believe (Fastnet Rock-Optimist, by Red Ransom). This was a well deserved maiden Gr1 win for Sofia Rosa who lost last month's New Zealand Oaks on protest after being first across the line. Saturday's classic victory boosted her record to 5 wins (including the Gr2 ARC Royal Stakes & Gr3 Hawke's Bay Lowland Stakes) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 New Zealand Oaks) from 10 starts for $893,166 earnings. Sofia Rosa, who carried the same distinctive lime green silks as Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina on behalf of owner Lib Petagna, was a NZ$65,000 purchase by Bruce Perry Bloodstock at the 2014 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Westbury Stud. "She was very strong to the line, I'm so proud of her," trainer Stephen Marsh told Sky Racing. "She's very hard work. As Hugh [jockey Hugh Bowman] said she's probably one of the most difficult horses he has ridden. But when they have that much ability you don't mind persevering with them." Marsh confirmed that Sofia Rosa would be sent for a break to prepare for races such as the Caulfield Cup in the spring. "We will spell her now and then go to Melbourne in the spring," he said. "We always thought that she was a Caulfield Cup type of horse. That's the path we took with Lucia Valentina [third in the 2014 Caulfield Cup], and that's the same sort of path we'll take with this horse."