The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Sydney’s last Group 1 race of the year came right down to the wire on Saturday as Mark Newnham trained Maid of Heaven claimed a win in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick.
Impressively enough, the victory also secured a maiden Group 1 win for Newnham and jockey Rachel King, in large part thanks to an impressive run holding off Aramayo with less than 100m to go.
“It’s amazing. I’m a bit lost for words. All credit to Mark (Newnham) and his team.” King said after the race.
“We thought we were both in with a chance of getting our first Group 1 last weekend but we managed to do it this weekend. It couldn’t have happened for a better trainer. I am rapt.”
The race looked won by $3.60 favourite Thinkin’ Big, but the Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) winner struggled on the sticky surface to run third after being re-shod in the gates.
That opened the door for Maid of Heaven and Aramayo to duke it out, and with the outside edge, the Newnham stable held the advantage.
“I’m still buzzing. Just that last 50m I had my heart in my mouth. I didn’t know whether she’d get there but the last two strides got us over the line.” Newnham said when asked about his first Group 1 win.
Opening at long $15.00 odds on the second line of betting with Ladbrokes, the win marked the second of the three-year old’s career, becoming only the second filly to win in its 21-year history.
“Only thing I said to Rachel was get her in the clear from the top of the straight and that will give her her chance.” Newnham claimed after the race.
As for the plan ahead, it looks like the fun stops here.
“I think we’ll see her to the paddock in her first preparation.” Newnham said following Saturday’s win.
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