By Tony Megahey
Highly promising Petra Jewel takes a leap of faith for accomplished Tamworth trainer Jane Clement into the TAB $60,000 Class 2, 1100m Highway Handicap at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The four-year-old Falvelon mare is named after the ancient biblical temple in Jordan where a famous scene was filmed for the Spielberg classic Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Inside the Petra temple, endangered Harrison Ford makes his famed ‘leap of faith’ into mid-air in quest of the Holy Grail to prevent it falling into the hands of the nasty Nazis. The immortal Grail then saves the life of Indiana’s father (Sean Connery).
“There’s also a distinctive blue jewel in her colours, they’re really attractive and her owners and breeders are from Inverell,” Jane explained.
“She’s a real talent, her wins have been impressive, so strong, but she’s quirky and hard to train.
“That’s why we’ve stayed with Mikayla (Weir) and her claim. She’s ridden her all along and knows her traits.
“In the stables, butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth but once she gets on a rack track, it’s a different story.
“She’s got a mind of her own and wants it all her own way but she’s lightly-raced, just the three starts and she’s still learning.”
Petra Jewel’s 56.5 kg has been reduced to a luxury carry with Weir’s 3.5 kg claim. It’s a race where Danny William’s impressive first-up Royal Randwick Highway winner Highway Sixtysix is a short priced favourite. Danny has compared the filly with classy stablemate She Knows. However the hope of rivals, including Petra Jewel, is that Highway Sixtysix goes up three kilos to 59kg and comes back slightly in distance from 1200m.
Petra Jewel has come from near impossible positions to win twice over 1000m on her home track and her only defeat was when she bombed the start at Scone and was desperately unlucky.
“It’s not as though her racing pattern is a backmarker,” Jane said. “She drew really wide in one run, so we didn’t have much choice and then she missed the start in another.
“She is capable of racing closer and looking at the form there’s good speed and tempo in the race that will suit her.”
At Tamworth on June 19, Petra Jewel came from rearward and won by a widening 2.9 lengths in smart time. Previously she was clear last at Scone over 1000m after missing the jump and powered home to be beaten only a neck.
While Williams is at prohibitive odds to continue his prolific Highway success, Petra Jewel and Paul Messara’s Rekindled Force, returning as a gelding after smart form last preparation, will have confident support.