By Jonny Turner
After a massive wait, La Rosa is finally back.
The Mark Jones trained four-year-old lines up at Winton on Saturday, starting for the first time since June of 2021.
A series of hiccups are behind the former star age group filly being away from the track for 15 months.
A fetlock operation was followed by a bone chip procedure before tie-up issues pushed La Rosa’s return back from the winter to the spring.
Finally ready to return, the question many punters will be asking is whether La Rosa has lost any of the class that saw her a leading three-year-old filly of her time.
Mark Jones doesn’t think so and the four-year-old’s trials back that opinion up.
“She seems as good as she can be now that we have changed her diet and got on top of her tying up,” Jones said.
“She has had a couple of trials lately, I was happy with her at Methven and then she went quite good the other day at Rangiora.”
“And she has actually come on a bit since then.”
“It is a nice race for her to come back in and it’s penalty-free too, which is good.”
“She will improve with racing but she seems forward enough to go a pretty good race.”
La Rosa narrowly beat home Cloudy Bay in her trial win at Rangiora and the pair will again do battle at Winton.
La Rosa has a slight advantage of starting in barrier 7, inside of Cloudy Bay (8).
Jones also sends Sioux Princess south on Saturday and she will line up in race 6.
The form book won’t show it, but Sioux Princess went a fair race in the Group 3 Jasymn’s Gift Stakes at Oamaru last weekend before being declared a non-starter due to an issue with a starter’s assistant.
Prior to that run, the mare was a good winner at Addington from behind the mobile.
If she can get away from the tapes, the Sioux Princess looks a strong eachway threat.
“She has got to get away first, but she should get her chance starting on her own on the 30m line.”
“She is going down as a bit of a travelling mate for the other horse but it does look a nice race for her if she is able to step away.”
Stable employee and junior driver Gemma Thornley takes the reins behind both Jones mares in the hope they can notch penalty-free wins.