Ted Martinovich knows how to get the best out of his team even when one of them takes more coaxing than the others.
From the outset this time last year, his precocious filly Universal Flair raced fiercely before fading to midfield finishes behind Amelia’s Jewel in the LR Supremacy Stakes (1000m) and G3 Gimcrack Stakes (1100m).
Universal Flair did win on a Heavy 10 at Belmont earlier this season but that was the sole reward for her connections in nine starts during 2022.
“She was vulnerable so we taught her to settle in a couple of trials before today,” Martinovich said after the Quayclean Hcp (1000m) at Belmont last Wednesday. The 3yo filly was resuming after a five-month spell and it was her second victory in 10 starts for Stan Quinlivan’s Esquin Syndicate.
“I told Chris (Parnham) to camp in behind the speed and it worked out perfectly. That’s the way to ride her. The leaders made each other work a bit and that suited her down to the ground. So will wet tracks as we get deeper into this campaign.”
Martinovich has a Group 1 record going back to the 1980s when he trained for Heytesbury Stud and he bobbed up again on Saturday with his homebred He’s Gold (Rogano) in the Crown Perth Hcp (1200m).
Stan Quinlivan bred Universal Flair by using the Scenic Lodge cross of Universal Ruler over a Blackfriars mare which has generated 22 winners at a 64% strike-rate. Another 3yo filly with that nick is Penny on the Queen who was placed behind Amelia’s Jewel in last year’s G2 WATC Karrakatta Plate and G3 Gimcrack Stakes.
Universal Flair is the second winner from her dam Formula following Narrogin maiden winner Mussa (War Chant). The third is last week’s Belmont 2yo trial winner Tribute (All American) and the latest is a filly foal by Nicconi.
Her second-dam Refurbish (Joindre) foaled Modem (Bletchley Park) who carried Quinlivan’s purple and white diamond colours to Group 1 victories in the 2004 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) and Railway Stakes (1600m).
Modem was part of an amazing run of a dozen colts in a row at stud for Refurbish. Her final foal was her only filly and Quinlivan has every reason to be confident she can continue the family’s winning Formula.