The Group 3 Roma Cup (1100m) is little more than a fortnight away but it’s business as usual for south-west owner-breeder Peter Walsh leading into the eagerly-awaited return of his flagship filly Amelia’s Jewel.
Walsh’s pride and joy hasn’t been seen since winning the Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m) on December 3, however, she will be favoured first-up in the Roma Cup on April 1. It’s a perfect pipe-opener for the $4 million The Quokka (1200m) on April 15.
Both races are at weight-for-age giving the 3yo daughter of Siyouni (Fr) an added advantage over her more seasoned rivals. Bookmakers have Amelia’s Jewel ruling pre-post markets for The Quokka at $4 ahead of interstate slot-holders Bella Nippotina ($5) and Coolangatta ($6).
Amelia Park heads the WA Breeders table for Stakes-winners this season with a Group 1 (Northerly Stakes), Group 2 (WA Guineas) and Listed (Belgravia Stakes). Amelia’s Jewel claimed all three and the Vasse nursery added another notch to the Listed column on Sunday when She’s Fit landed the Natasha Stakes (2200m) at Ascot.
She’s Fit (3f Pride Of Dubai – Harpoon by High Chaparral) delivered a dominant two-length victory over Megami (Playing God) and Admiration Express (My Admiration). “We were confident after her unlucky run in the Ascot 1000 Guineas and Chris (Parnham) gave her a nice track into the race,” Morton said. “I had a bit of time for her dam and I was very bullish about this filly at the yearling sales.”
Morton paid Amelia Park $50,000 for her at the 2021 Perth Magic Millions and that was cheap for a filly bred in the purple. Harpoon won at Kembla Grange for Bjorn Baker and at Pinjarra for Morton and she is a half-sister to Special Harmony (G1 VRC Oaks), King Canute (G2 Perth Cup) and Redwoldt (G2 Karrakatta Plate).
She’s Fit (Photo / Western Racepix) immediately firmed into a $2.30 favourite for the G3 WA Oaks (2400m) at Ascot on Saturday week, March 25. “The tempo had been slow in the middle stages so I made a move coming to the corner,” Parnham reported. “It was all over once we collared Admiration Express.
“That will bring her on nicely and the extra 200m will help in the Oaks. I wouldn’t swap her for any other filly in the race.”
Sunday’s win was the second-leg of a double for Amelia Park and Parnham after Starring Knight bounced back to his best form at Ascot. Settling one-out and one-back, he tracked the favourite Diamond Rocks before letting down with a powerful finish in the Belle’s Park Hcp (1200m).
Starring Knight (4g Shooting To Win – Hi On Love by Love A Dane) had several setbacks early in his career after being purchased by Pearce Racing from Amelia Park for $140,000 at the 2020 Perth Magic Millions.
He’s the final foal from Hi On Love and is one of seven winners from the mare who won the G3 Champion Fillies Stakes (1600m) in 2005. Her younger half-brother Barakey (Key Business) won the G1 Winterbottom Stakes in 2012.