By Ray Hickson
Little does she know it but promising filly Jamaea is racing to break a 24-year drought for trainer Robert Price at Randwick on Saturday.
When discussing the prospects of Jamaea in the Group 2 $200,000 Drinkwise Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) talk moved to the last time Price had a Golden Slipper prospect.
The short answer is he doesn’t think he’s had one. The longer answer revealed his last Saturday two-year-old winner in Sydney was at Rosehill in April 1997 – his training partner son Luke was just 14. And she was 40/1.
“The last two-year-old race I won on a Saturday in Sydney was Red Ivory, she turned out to be a pretty good mare,’’ Price said.
“That’s a long time ago. We train no different to the rest of them and you just need a bit of luck.
“Numbers is how you find horses, we don’t have enough young ones come through the stables.
“Heaven knows when we are going to get another two-year-old but she’s certainly one out of the box, both Luke and I think so anyway.”
So with a city placing at start two Jamaea is already a rare filly. And Price said she presented herself as an early two-year-old pretty quickly.
“They do everything straight away, you jump them out of the gates and they jump out, you ask them to gallop they gallop,’’ he said.
“They are hard to find. This filly isn’t a big filly though she’s unassuming because she’s 454kg but when you look at her you think she’s not that big.
“But there’s a bit of substance to her. She’s been resilient and we’ve had no trouble with her, everything we’ve pointed her at she’s done. I think she’s pretty special.”
Price said a lot of the credit for Jamaea’s rise goes to Luke and jockey Brock Ryan who have done a lot of the education legwork and whose instincts have so far proven right.
After her debut win at Kembla on January 23 she was thrown in the deep end in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1000m) and launched from the back to go down narrowly, running the equal fastest last 200m of the meeting (11.62) and easily the fastest last 600m of the race (33.80, Punter's Intelligence).
“Her first start was like a trial, I wanted to trial again but Luke was keen to go around at Kembla,’’ Price said.
“It was our home track and a small field and he was right, she learned more that day than going around at 6.30am in a jump out.
“I can see improvement in her. If we had that little bit of luck at the top of the straight we’re in contention on Saturday just through that.”
If Jamaea, $13 with TAB, is good enough to win on Saturday then Price will have no hesitation in sending her to the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper on March 20 – she’s a $101 chance at present but you could say she’s already beaten larger odds to be in this position.
Price said barrier one won’t bring about a change of tactics but it could see Jamaea land a little closer than she did three weeks ago.
“I don’t think we will be punching her forward but it would be nice to get a good spot,’’ he said.
“Barrier one I always found tricky, it’d be good to have in a Golden Slipper though. There’s a couple there that will go forward so I think we’ll bounce and have her where she’s comfortable.”
Jamaea runs second at Randwick on February 6
Meanwhile, the Price partnership has Liveinthefastlane resuming in the $150,000 Polytrack Provincial Championships Qualifier (1400m) at Newcastle on Saturday.
The five-year-old mare raced consistently in her first preparation for the stable, winning at Moruya in October and placing in all but one of her seven starts.
She may need some luck from a tricky barrier and Price said there’s improvement in her but can only expect her to run an honest race.
“She’s pretty tubby but we haven’t missed her, she’s done a bit of work,’’ he said.
“But she’s a gross mare and going in on the back of one trial.
“She’ll be a chance in a race like that. She was extremely competitive last prep.”