By Ray Hickson
Trainer Mark Newnham is excited to see what promising filly Miravalle can do when the covers come off the blue blooded two-year-old at Canterbury on Wednesday.
There’s always expectation around the debut of a sibling to a former racetrack star and the youngster is a half-sister to dual Group 1 winner and former outstanding filly Yankee Rose so she has a bit to live up to.
But Newnham said Miravalle has displayed “above average ability’’ in her trackwork and trials and that gives him confidence ahead of the Iron Jack Handicap (1250m).
“I’ll be disappointed if she’s not in the finish,’’ Newnham said.
“She’s shown enough in her work and her trials to say she is above average.
“She is going 1250m first-up on wet ground which is a bit of an ask but she seemed to handle it okay in the trial.’’
As Newnham mentioned, Miravalle has trialled twice – she ran fifth in a 736m heat in late April then responded to a click up from Josh Parr to easily win her second, over 1050m, on May 5 and on the back of that win she was posted $4 equal favourite with TAB.
James McDonald rides her on Wednesday. Newnham did say if Canterbury happened to come up a heavy 10 on race morning he may have a rethink but the fillies do have first use of the track.
“I wanted her to have an educational trial first time out, second time out you have to teach them a bit more which she was happy to do,’’ he said.
“Josh was happy with her, unfortunately Josh is out at the moment but we’ve picked up an ample replacement.’’
Newnham has only prepared one other horse to date for Arrowfield Stud and that was Maid Of Heaven, the filly who handed Newnham his first Group 1 win in the 2018 Spring Champion Stakes.
As it happens, Yankee Rose also won the Spring Champion Stakes two years earlier and became the first filly to win the three-year-old spring feature – and spring is likely where Miravalle is headed if she does perform as her trainer anticipates.
“It looks like we’ve found a nice one again,’’ Newnham said.
“I’d like to give her one or two runs and that will give her enough time to have a break.’’
Meanwhile, Newnham is backing his champion apprentice Robbie Dolan to make the transition to the senior ranks in the new season, just like Dolan’s predecessor Rachel King, after outriding his claim last week.
Miravalle wins a trial at Randwick on May 5
Dolan doesn’t finish his apprenticeship until late September and, while he will ride for the next two months without a claim, is in the box seat to snare successive apprentice titles at the end of July.
Newnham has guided Dolan carefully through the grades, to use racing terms, over the past few years and was rapt that he was able to provide both his 80th city winner (Spirit Ridge), to outride the claim, and his final winner as a claiming apprentice (Blazing Miss).
“He has a couple of things in his favour,’’ Newnham said.
“First, he’s a hard worker and, second, he’s light. You put that together and mix it with ability and it turns out all right. It’s the same assets that Rachel has and he has them.”