Empire Rose Stakes: Gun mare Colette combines with Damien Oliver to weave winning passage

Gun Godolphin mare Colette has added another big race to her resume after taking out the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes in conditions not usually made to suit her.

Colette winning the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes. Picture: Getty Images

Classy mare Colette proved she wasn’t just a wet-tracker as Damien Oliver waved his magic wand to produce a stunning winning ride for the ages in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).

A year earlier Colette won the rich Golden Eagle on a heavy track at Rosehill but has now scored back-to-back wins in Melbourne and secured her second career Group 1.

It has been a masterful training effort from James Cummings considering Colette suffered a setback in Melbourne which ruled her out of Caulfield Cup contention.

But her win in the Tristarc Stakes was superb and the only doubts going into the Empire Rose was wasn’t encountering her favoured rain-affected surface.

Prior to the Empire Rose, Colette had only won once on a good track and that was in a modest benchmark race at Kembla Grange in March 2020.

But punters who let her start $13 in the Empire Rose didn’t count on her class or the incredible ride she got from Oliver who secured his 124th Group 1 win and scooped an extra $1m race bonus for Godolphin.

Colette and Damien Oliver combine to win the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes at Flemington. Picture: Getty Images

It was Oliver’s second Group 1 win of the spring carnival after claiming the Caulfield Guineas on Anamoe.

But this seemed extra special and Oliver’s voice dripped with emotion after slicing his way from the field near the inside to prevail over gallant runner-up Mystic Journey.

He has been humbled by support from the Blue Army.

Oliver after Colette after claiming the feature race for the mares. Picture: Getty Images

Oliver after Colette after claiming the feature race for the mares. Picture: Getty Images

“It has been great, it has really rejuvenated my career over the past 12 months and has been great to team up with a great (Godolphin) team down here in Melbourne,” Oliver said.

“Colette got a beautiful run through and it is nice when you are on one that is going quicker than the gaps (are closing).

“I peered up when I straightened and I could see (favourite) Tofane up there and I thought I know it’s going to take me everywhere I want to go.

“Colette got the split and she was great in the end.”

 

Article courtesy of Herald Sun.