Grey filly Katie Lee gets her head in front of Keep The Peace on the line, with Gofonze (orange cap) fourth. Photo courtesy of Colin Berry (Race Images, Christchurch)
Opie Bosson, the rider of history making filly Katie Lee (3 Gr. F. Pins – Miss Jessie Jay, by Spectacularphantom) said she ‘actually felt better’ than when she won the 2000 Guineas a week earlier, after she had utilized every inch of improvement to take out the $300,000, Group I, New Zealand Bloodstock 1000 Guineas over 1600 metres at Riccarton Park Racecourse on Saturday.
Katie Lee had flashed late after being held up and checked in the straight to record a brilliant win over colts and geldings in the $1m 2000 Guineas at Riccarton last Saturday, and once again she was required to be at her dazzling best after receiving a chequered path until working clear early in the home straight to do what no other filly had been able to achieve before.
Training with his wife Debbie Rogerson, Graeme Rogerson said, “She seems to be able to overcome things and still win. She is right up there with all of the best I’ve ever trained and the fact that no horse has ever achieved this is special”, relating to Katie Lee being the first horse to claim both the one and two thousand guineas double.
Rogerson trains Katie Lee in partnership with his wife Debbie Rogerson for Sir Patrick Hogan and Lady Justine.
After clearing the gates swiftly to take up a handy position, Katie Lee was soon shuffled as horses steadied in front of her, the pace eased, and she became unsettled when throwing her head up on a couple of occasions in the back half of an eighteen horse field.
From thirteenth at the 800 metres and six lengths from the lead when snookered amongst traffic nearing the home turn, the task appeared out of her reach until Bosson pushed his way clear into centre track at the 350 metres.
With a paralyzing burst, she reeled in Keep The Peace (Keeper) inside the final 100 metres before gaining the upper hand in a dogfight to grab a half neck advantage at the line.
Bosson said, “She got her head up in the air when they kept slowing up, but I got her clear okay and she didn’t want that other horse to beat her.”
Our Ella Belle (Encosta De Lago), in the hands of James McDonald, picked a path through from the rear of the field and found the line stylishly for third, three quarters of a length away.
Golan filly Gofonze finished fourth.
The overall time of 1:37.88 with a last 600 metres in 33.71 reflected some soft early sectionals and a sprint home.
While Sir Patrick had said previously that the decision to buy Katie Lee was ‘spur of the moment’, when he outlaid $340,000 for her as a yearling at the 2008 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale from the draft of Hallmark Stud, talk of his grand grey filly Surround (Sovereign Edition) may have provided an inkling into the outcome.
Asked whether he considered Katie Lee a Cox Plate type horse in her four-year-old year, Sir Patrick said that the plan was to win the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year Series and stay within New Zealand this season while maybe having a look toward the $2.2m New Zealand Derby in March.
He said it was different for Surround, which he leased, as she was trained by Jeff Murphy in Victoria and had victories in three Oaks, the VRC, AJC and Queensland, on her way to winning the Ascot Vale Stakes before setting a race record when winning the Cox Plate as a three-year-old.
He also paid tribute to Laurie Lynch, a blacksmith with whom Sir Patrick had worked with for forty-five years, for his skill in correcting some feet problems in the star filly that at one stage threatened to plague her career.
While one lucky punter struck gold to the tune of $61,000 when he placed a one thousand dollar bet on Katie Lee to win the 2000 Guineas at sixty-one to one, the odds continued to tumble, and she returned a paltry $1.70 & $1.10 when entering the history books on Saturday.
Katie Lee has now won five of her ten starts, including three seconds, for prize money of $892,425.