Fozzy Stack’s Aspen Grove is set for a spell in the States after providing her trainer with a landmark success in the Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes.
The Justify filly was a Pattern-race winner at two, taking the Group Three Newtownanner Stud Stakes at the Curragh in August.
She returned to the same track for the second run of her three-year-old campaign when lining up in the Irish 1,000 Guineas in late May but came home last of the field of 10.
That performance was put down to the filly being in season, but a decision to head to New York for the Grade One Belmont Oaks proved inspired when she teamed up with Oisin Murphy on Saturday.
From a wide draw the bay was ridden patiently to challenge a furlong from home, where she came through to win by three-quarters of a length when relishing the extended 10-furlong trip.
“She was very good. She ran last time in the Guineas when she was in season and she’s hopeless when she’s in season,” Stack explained.
“She was hopeless in her work at home but you can’t run again in the Guineas next year so we thought we’d just roll the dice.
“She did it well last night and Oisin gave her a great ride.
“I was never worried about the trip, I always thought she’d get it. As a two-year-old I thought she was more a 10-furlong filly, she did it well.”
Aspen Grove will remain in America under the care of Mark Enright, who rode her to Newtownanner Stud Stakes victory and will help prepare her for her next outing.
“Either the Del Mar Oaks or the Saratoga Oaks (will be her next run),” said Stack.
“I’ll leave Mark Enright out with her, he’ll look after her. He’s won Group races on her a done a great job with her over the last few days.”
Of the significance of a Grade One win, Stack’s first at the level, he added: “You need everything to go right for these things to happen, all the parts needs to fall into place and they did.”