The 2013 Myer Classic this Melbourne Cup Carnival is the long range goal for Rob Heathcote’s ultra-consistent mare Fire Up Fifi after the beautiful grey five-year-old stole the show in the $100,000 Listed Centenary Classic Mercedes Benz Open Mile (1600m) on Tattersall’s Tiara Day this afternoon.
Posting her 11th career win at start number 28 Fire Up Fifi was aided by another 10 out of 10 ride from one of her biggest fans, jockey Damien Browne who Heathcote was quick to credit after the win.
“I can’t take too much credit for that,” Brisbane’s top trainer said.
“Damien Browne, what a lovely ride.
“Damien’s a great rider as simple as that…I give him 10 out of 10 once again.”
Brown was aboard two back when she became a dual black type winner in the Listed Spear Chief Handicap (1500m) but was replaced by Glen Boss last start when the mare was only three quarters away fourth to Tattersall’s Tiara favourite Red Tracer in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m).
Relishing a step back in class today Fire Up Fifi was one of the top fancies for the Open Mile having been competitive over the distance last preparation.
In an oddly run race no one seemed to want to take up the front running position and there was a jostling for spots throughout.
Brown eventually decided to go forward with Fire Up Fifi, who had been tracking about fifth three deep, leading into the turn for home and she held the lead going round the bend.
The Open Mile turned into a thrilling two-horse affair down the straight with Gary Kennewell’s Group 1 performer and Eye Liner Stakes winner from last Saturday Conservatorium challenging the mare.
The pair fought it out stride for stride over the final few hundred meters but the short back-up, going up from 1350m to the mile and the hefty 60.5kg topweight proved too much for Conservatorium.
“It turned into a real fistfight up the straight,” Heathcote said.
“And she was too good in the end.”
Outclassing her male rival Fire Up Fifi had a neck to spare over Conservatorim in the end while the Kelso Wood-trained Someday eventually finished third having led in the early stages before dropping back to second last before their jockey Michael Cahill, likely to get a post-race questioning from connections, hit the go button again to finish off the Open Mile trifecta.
“She tries her heart out,” Browne said of the winner.
“Nobody really wanted to lead…I thought stuff this I’ll just go up myself.
“I knew she’d give me something.”
Today’s Eagle Farm win confirmed spring plans for Heathcote who will give this mare her chance to shine during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival sending her to Victoria for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse on November 2.
His tentative race campaign for her includes a first-up run at Rosehill on September 14 in the $125,000 Group 3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) before going to Flemington to run in the $220,000 Group 2 Rose Of Kingston Stakes (1400m) won last year by Mosheen.
“I can give her about three weeks out,” Heathcote said.
“And the goal is the Myer Classic, I think it’ll suit her down to the ground.
“Have a little break then she gets a crack at a Group 1 down in Melbourne.”
To follow the spring campaign of Fire Up Fifi make sure you stay tuned to Races.com.au over the coming months.
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2013 Open Mile Results & Finishing Order
Eagle Farm Race 5 – 22/06/2013
|1||3||FIRE UP FIFI||Robert Heathcote||Damian Browne||–||5||56kg||$3.70|
|2||1||CONSERVATORIUM||Gary Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||0.2L||2||60.5kg||$4.60|
|3||14||SOMEDAY||Kelso Wood||Michael Cahill||2.5L||8||54kg||$3.10F|
|4||7||THUMBTACKS (NZ)||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||3.8L||4||55kg||$13|
|5||6||DIADEME (NZ)||Murray Baker||Blake Shinn||4.3L||9||55kg||$11|
|6||10||POSTE RESTANTE (NZ)||Desleigh Forster||Ryan Wiggins||4.8L||7||54kg||$61|
|7||9||SOFT SAND||Paul Messara||Jim Byrne||6.3L||6||54kg||$8.50|
|8||12||PEPPERWOOD||Liam Birchley||Larry Cassidy||7.5L||3||54kg||$26|
|9||8||DOZINTMATERANYWAY (NZ)||Liam Birchley||Chris Munce||9.3L||1||54kg||$26|
|–||4||TOKAMAK||Barry Lockwood||Paul Hammersley||–||0||–||–|
|–||13||ANGEL OF MERCY||Gerald Ryan||Kerrin McEvoy||–||0||–||–|
|–||2||GREEN BIRDIE (NZ)||Darlene Duryea||Patrick Holmes||–||0||–||–|
|–||5||LISTEN SON||Tony Gollan||Hugh Bowman||–||0||–||–|
|–||11||MYSTICAL GREY||Craig Stott||Grant Cooksley||–||0||–||–|