Gai Waterhouse’s always honest mare Sweet Idea held off a host of Group 1 winners in a star-studded opening to weight-for-age racing this spring winning Saturday’s 2014 Missile Stakes at Royal Randwick.
There were five individual Group 1 winners in this year’s $175,000 Group 2 McGrath Estate Agents Missile Stakes (1200m) with all nine horses in the field racing first-up.
But despite the classy competition Waterhouse’s gutsy daughter of Snitzel thrived in her four-year-old debut, Sweet Idea ($4) digging deep to defeat the Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained Messene ($4) by a long neck in a thrilling finish.
In third the same margin away again was the $3.40 favourite in betting at Ladbrokes.com.au, Gary Portelli’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Rebel Dane who did their best work late to finish in the money in their first run since a seventh in Brisbane’s Stradbroke Handicap.
In fact, just a two lengths separated the first seven over the line in the Missile Stakes finishing order suggesting the season’s opening WFA race will be an excellent form line to following over the coming weeks.
With her victory, Sweet Idea became the seventh mare since 1990 to win the Missile joining Joanne (1991-92), Klokka (1992-93), Pompeii (2003) and most recently Teasing (2009).
Winning hoop jockey Tommy Berry described the win by feisty Sweet Idea, who was under pressure from the top of the straight, as very tough and was impressed with her return, the $1.86 million earner last seen running ninth in the TJ Smith Stakes back in April.
“Sweet Idea is that tough,” he told the media post-win.
“I wouldn’t like to marry a girl like her because you wouldn’t win any arguments.
“She is a sweetheart around the stables but put her in a race and she wants to go to war for you.
“At the 100m she had had enough but would not give up.
“Her head was getting lower and lower, I was nearly falling over the top, but they never go in front of her, she wouldn’t let them.”
A Group 2 winner and Magic Millions Guineas champion, Sweet Idea also boasts two top three Group 1 runs most recently when defeated a nostril flare by Steps In Time in this year’s Coolmore Classic.
The Tulloch Lodge team then is confident she can win at elite level this time in with Waterhouse’s stable representative Mark Newnham, trackside on Saturday, saying she had come through her spell bigger and better than last prep.
“One of the owners, Nick Vass, said there was five Group 1 winners in this field and I told him that hopefully this mare is a future Group 1 winner,” he said.
“Gai certainly thinks Sweet Idea is set for her best preparation and for the mare to win at weight-for-age first-up suggests she has mad the necessary improvement.”
The run from second placegetter Messene was also impressive, the Lonhro six-year-old having proved their weight-for-age ability ahead of a possible shot at the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 25.
Futures Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has the Ajax Stakes winner as a $21 chance.
Also producing pleasing runs was the Chris Waller-trained trio of Boban (4th), Weary (5th) and Hawkspur (7th) who all look on track for their respective Group 1 targets this Sydney and Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival season.
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2014 Missile Stakes Results
Royal Randwick Race 6 – 09/08/2014
|1||7||SWEET IDEA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||–||7||56.5kg||$4|
|2||5||MESSENE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||0.2L||1||58.5kg||$4|
|3||2||REBEL DANE||Gary Portelli||Blake Shinn||0.4L||4||58.5kg||$3.40F|
|4||1||BOBAN||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||0.8L||5||58.5kg||$9|
|5||6||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||1.5L||6||58.5kg||$7.50|
|6||8||KIRRAMOSA (NZ)||John Sargent||Tim Clark||1.7L||2||56.5kg||$41|
|7||4||HAWKSPUR||Chris Waller||Tye Angland||2L||3||58.5kg||$71|
|8||3||LASER HAWK||Joseph Pride||Kerrin McEvoy||3.5L||8||58.5kg||$81|
|9||9||THUMP||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||4.2L||9||56.5kg||$14|