Anthony Mithen’s Rosemont Stud team celebrated a drought-breaking race win last Saturday with Secret Flyer and now the racing operation is hoping to toast to an elite level success just seven days later with the John Sadler-trained Heidilicious representing them in the Queensland Oaks.
Secret Flyer was the impressive winner of the $70,000 ALH Group Plate Open (1000m) at Caulfield on May 28, which was the first victory for Rosemont in nearly two years.
Now Mithen, a former sports journalist turned stud operator, is on the eve of perhaps celebrating a Group 1 win at Eagle Farm tomorrow in the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m).
The Rosemont-owned Heidilicious is a beautifully bred Zabeel filly from Danehill mare Kerkira and after a consistent career to date is currently the $6 second favourite in the Oaks odds behind glamour Kiwi runner Scarlett Lady ($3.50).
Purchased for $160,000 as a yearling from the 2009 New Zealand Bloodstock Sales, Heidilicious is already being considered as a breeding prospect by her connections who have their fingers crossed for a big win tomorrow to boost her value as a broodmare in the future.
“It would make her an extremely valuable breeding proposition if she could win it,” Mithen said.
“I’ve just spent the last week on the Gold Coast at the broodmare sale and you only need to look at what a Group 1 performance does for a mare when they got through the sales ring and it’s an exciting prospect to think ‘Heidi’ might put herself in that company.”
After a win at Sandown Lakeside over the mile at the start of May, Heidilicious most recently ran a promising Oaks trial when she finished just over three lengths away sixth to Scarlett Lady in the Group 3 The Roses (2020m) at Doomben.
The result is impressive considering Heidilicious’ notorious bad gate manners saw her rear up badly before the jump, miss the start and later found herself blocked for a run.
“Her form has been great all the way through, even from her first preparation last spring,” Mithen said.
“She showed enough ability at that stage to make us think she might be a Queensland Oaks prospect, so this has been a bit of a long-range plan.”
Not winning The Roses on-way to the Oaks hasn’t dinted the confidence Mithen has in Heidilicious.
While The Roses is considered the premier Queensland Oaks preparatory run, Ethereal in 2001 is the sole runner to complete the double since 2000.
However, five of the past six Queensland Oaks winners did come off a run in The Roses, three of which finished unplaced in their final lead-up.
“Her Doomben Roses run was second to none and she wouldn’t have to improve much on that to put her in the thick of it against pretty much the same field,” Mithen said of Heidilicious.
Mithen has also gained more hope from the fact that three of the past five horses to win the Queensland Oaks jumped from a double-digit barrier, meaning Heidilicious’ gate 15 start could in fact work in her favour.
John Sadler’s assistant trainer and former Caulfield Cup-winning hoop Brent Stanley, who rides Heidilicious in all her track work, is also bullish over an Oaks upset with Heidilicous tomorrow.
“She has been here (in Queensland) two and a half weeks and has done nothing but improve,” Stanley said.
“I didn’t think she had to improve much to win the Oaks, but it’s quite scary how much she’s improved.
“She’s really enjoyed it up here.
“There won’t be a fitter or happier horse going into the Oaks than her.”
The Rosemont Stud team are also looking forward to see how their Kiwi-bred youngster Flashy Fella performs on Queensland Oaks Day, the two-year-old set to take their spot in a strong $250,000 Group 2 BRC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) field.
While the Darley-owned duo of Benfica and Free Wheeling are the deserved favourites in the race, Thorn Park colt Flash Fella is rated a $41 roughie despite a nice barrier two draw.
Saturday will be their fourth career start, which is yet to produce a win, but the Michael Moroney-trained Flashy Fella showed promise last start when third in a 1200m race at the Gold Coast on May 21.
“Mike Moroney’s seen fit to put him on a plane and send him over from New Zealand and have a crack at the Brisbane Winter Carnival,” Mithen said.
“He’s only an outside chance, but the Rosemont crew is pretty pleased just to have a runner in the Sires Produce and the second favourite in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks.”