A draw is rarely a popular result. The bane of cricket and football, even rugby fans had to swallow that odd, hollow feeling as the Lions series ended that way two years ago.

Nobody likes draws apart from rugby and league bookmakers because that is when they usually keep the lot.

Until Saturday. Because now the connections of Imelda Mary and Queen Of Diamonds might have both become fans of the dreaded draw.

Because even after both failed in the $400,000 New Zealand Oaks at Trentham, they went home winners, sharing the NZB Filly of the Year title, the sort of draw with two winners and no losers.


The main glory from the Oaks went to upset winner Sentimental Miss, who made the most of a beautiful Lisa Allpress ride to down Beyond The Fort and Star Karen in a race where the favourites rarely gave punters a reason for confidence.

On a boggy track that played way worse than the official Dead5 rating at the start of the day, Sentimental Miss confirmed the wisdom of trainer Lisa Latta's radical move to apply the blinkers over 2400m, one that could have backfired had she over-raced.

She didn't, and Sentimental Miss gave her sire Reliable Man his first Group 1 winner and could even be Australia-bound now for her Go Racing syndicate owners.

But they weren't the only winners out of the Oaks, as Queen Of Diamonds (eighth) and Imelda Mary (14th) will share the Filly of the Year title even after the worst performances of their careers.

They will further increase their future broodmare values and shows there is a place at the yearling sales for all appetites because Queen Of Diamonds is a blueblood purchased at Karaka for $640,000 by the China Horse Club, while Imelda Mary cost trainer Wayne Hillis just $3500 a few days later.

One is by our industry's most important sire, Savabeel, and trained by our leading trainers, the other is by the nearly forgotten late stallion Ferlax. Yet here they are, two girls from very different sides of the tracks, forever bonded by their joint achievement.

While Queen Of Diamonds is likely to be spelled, the connections of many of the other fillies in the Oaks will be left wondering whether to roll the dice on an Australian campaign and the potential riches it brings versus the expense and their chances of beating the likes of Nakeeta Jane and Verry Elleegant.

Latta is already taking Vodafone Derby third placegetter Platinum Invador to Sydney for the ATC Derby, which looks set to have up to five New Zealand reps with Madison County, Crown Prosecutor, Vernanme and Surely Sacred other likely starters.

Southern spoils

On the subject of Filly of the Year titles, the connections of Emily Margaret have their eyes on a different one after the southerner out-toughed the colts in the $100,000 Wellington Guineas on Saturday.

The daughter of Pins continued a surprising recent record for southerners at the highest level at Trentham after they have won the Telegraph for the last three years and Savvy Coup took out last year's Oaks.

Emily Margaret had to be good to beat the likes of Vigor Winner and Dawn Patrol as she came from second last, sustaining a long, wide run.

She now returns home for trainers Kevin and Pam Hughes with the aim of wrapping up the South Island Filly of the Year title at the NZB Airfreight Stakes at Riccarton on April 6.

With a 10-point lead in the series and only 14 total points left to the winners of the next two races, the title is as good as hers.

Unusual double

Concert Hall won't have to wait long to live up to her Group 1 potential.

Saturday's Cuddle Stakes winner will step up to the ultimate level in the Breeders Stakes at Te Aroha on April 6 after smashing her more experienced rivals in the $70,000 Group 3.

Concert Hall will attempt to complete an unusual family double at Te Aroha should she win the track's biggest race because 10 years ago, her dam Classic Legacy recorded the last of her four career wins at Te Aroha — in a 3000m hurdle race.