iskander

Diva on song ahead of Matriarch Stakes


Veteran mare Soul Diva is "on song" to produce the fourth Matriarch Stakes upset in as many years at Flemington tomorrow.

SoulDiva Trainer Tony Noonan said he had the seven-year-old peaking at her fourth run for the spring and is confident she can win after her last-start sixth when beaten less than half a length in a blanket finish in the Inglis Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley.

Quoted on the seventh line at $13 in an open betting race, Soul Diva is primed to join Sutology ($17, 2005), Brom Felinity ($15, 2006) and Hidden Strings ($51, 2007) as another winner at double-figure odds in the Group Two event.

Longshots have reigned during the Cup carnival with odds-on favourite Samantha Miss giving punters some relief when she won the Oaks on Thursday.

Underlining the misfortune of punters were Rebel Raider who landed the Victoria Derby at $101 and Viewed who took out the Melbourne Cup at $41.

Noonan said Soul Diva had a good record at Flemington with a win and a second from three starts, matched by a win and a second from two starts at 2000 metres.

"We don’t want too much rain but she is ready to win," Noonan said.

"I’m very confident she will be hard to beat."

The Inglis Mile has been a reliable guide to the Matriarch in recent years with four of the last six winners coming through the race.

Notably the two horses that dead-heated for first in the Inglis – Bird Of Fire and Miss Badoura – as well as the two horses that dead-heated for third – Permission to Land and Princess Marizza – are lining up again. Arapaho Miss and Bashful Girl also ran in the Inglis Mile.

Mark Kavanagh said the Matriarch Stakes had always been the spring goal for Princess Marizza.

"She looks like she is looking for 2000 metres now and she was third in the SA Oaks in 2007," Kavanagh said.

"She is only a small mare but she hits the line pretty hard and has been a bit unlucky a couple of times."

David Hayes said El Daana was also a luckless type of mare but was encouraged by her fourth to Forensics in the Group One Myer Classic (1600m) last Saturday.

"She should have gone very close last time but she had no luck," Hayes said.

He said the extra distance should suit El Daana, pointing to her fourth in the Australasian Oaks (2000m) and SA Derby (2500m) earlier in the year.
By Robert Windmill