The only thing better than winning a race is running one-two in exciting finishes and the stable enjoyed three of those yesterday when rested runners Sparkling Water and Forever Mine fought out Race 2 over 1450m, while Fire Flower and Lilliana battled out Race 6 over 1800m. Wedged in between, a superb and expected win for star filly Desert Miracle over 1450m over stablemate Golden Spoon.
Sparkling Water (Lyle Hewitson) showed her class when beating the speedy Forever Mine over a distance short of her best and Mike commented: “This was a classy performance and she’s a runner we’ll be aiming at the Summer Cup. Forever Mine gave her 6kg in the race, he was a gallant second and is a horse to watch.”
Desert Miracle’s time was just a fraction slower than the time set by Sparkling Water, though she wasn’t extended at all in her nine-length win; in fact wasn’t even asked to go on when she quickened clear. She just raced in Gavin Lerena’s hands and strode away. In comparing times with last week’s G2 F&M Spring Challenge, she was faster than rival stars Big Burn and Under Your Spell (first and second) and while times on different days are not a fully reliable measure, it still gives an indication that Desert Miracle is right up there with them, and potentially better.
“Desert Miracle’s aim is the Fillies Guineas and I want to give her one more run before the Guineas, there are a few options. She’s very good,” said Mike.
Sparkling Water and Desert Miracle race in the silks of long-time patron Mary Slack and Mike said: “It’s nice to have two fillies of calibre for Mary again this feature season.”
Lady Chryss O’Reilly enjoyed much sucess with Festival Of Fire, winner of the Gr3 Starling Stakes, and Festival Of Fire’s daughter Fire Flower, while not as talented, won her third career race when holding on gamely to beat Lilliana under a good ride from her favourite partner, Kabelo Matsunyane.
Fire Flower (by Flower Alley) will make a good broodmare too, perhaps she can win again in a similar field before she goes to stud.