What a proud moment it was for the stable when Maid Of Heaven triumphed in the Moet & Chandon Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick, Saturday 6thOctober 2018. It was such an honour initially to be entrusted with the Smart Missile filly, but to share our first group 1 with Arrowfield Stud and the Messara Family is a thrill we had only ever dreamt about.
After watching Maid Of Heaven’s luckless run in the previous week’s Flight Stakes, Arrowfield’s Jon Freyer suggested the back up. Since the filly had pulled up so well, it was agreed to run her over the 2000m and the late call up was made to Jockey Rachel King. The Spring Champion Stakes has only ever been won by one other filly in Yankee Rose and never in its short history, has a female rider won it. So we were going in against the odds, but horse and rider proved to be a formidable combination. A perfect ride by King found Maid of Heaven (Smart Missile/St. Therese) running down the strong finishing Aramayo, refusing to be beaten she had to dig deep over the last 50m to take out the feature race, winning by a long head. Leaving us all in awe of her sheer tenacity and doggedness.
Trainer and jockey embraced after the race, having shared many years working together at Tulloch Lodge, it was fitting that each had played such a major role in their individual first group 1 success. Words were hardly necessary, each appreciating the moment, and the journey.
It is a privilege to be associated with the global success story that is Arrowfield Stud, may it be the first of many more winning collaborations. Hats off to everyone involved in making the fairy tale a reality. Whoo-hoo!
PS; A special thankyou to Sophie Swain, former work colleague of the trainer and good friend, who put the stable’s name forward when horse and training combinations were being selected.