Durham Lodge champion Blackfriars sired the first leg of what could be a classic double after Pop Culture railed up to score a narrow victory in the G3 WA Oaks (2400m) at Ascot on Saturday.
The Colin Webster trained filly has been installed a $4.50 favourite for the G2 WA Derby on April 14. Blackfriars colt Rohan is on the second line of betting at $5.50.
Webster declared the filly will butter up against the colts in a fortnight as long as she pulls up okay. “She proved she can stay the 2400m – I’ve never had any doubts about that,” the veteran trainer said at the presentation. “She peaked today and is all heart.”
Pop Culture (3f Blackfriars – Georgia’s Storm by Metal Storm) has been the benchmark for Perth’s fillies since winning her maiden at Pinjarra in January. She doubled up at Ascot on the Australia Day long weekend and then flew home to finish second to Blackfriars gelding Full Reign in the LR Challenge Stakes in February.
Pop Culture reeled in tearaway leader Stay Lady Stay to win the LR Ascot 1000 Guineas (1800m) on March 3 and then put the writing on the wall with a brave second to Caiguna in the LR Natasha Stakes (2200m) on March 17.
After the WA Derby, connections have the option of taking the Blackfriars filly to Brisbane where she has been given an invitation to race in the $400,000 G1 Queensland Oaks on June 2.