Vinery Stud Stakes: Mark Newnham can’t split his fillies Harmony Rose and Miravalle

Trainer Mark Newnham doesn’t believe there is much between his talented fillies Harmony Rose and Miravalle going into the Group 1 $500,000 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

“Harmony Rose and Miravalle will be better going out to a middle distance and they are in good form,’’ Newnham said.

“They are hard to split, I’m expecting them to run well. It wouldn’t surprise me if either won the race.’’

TAB Fixed Odds price assessors have Harmony Rose as the pick of the Newnham duo at $2.70 favourite with Miravalle at $11.

Harmony Rose goes into the fillies classic after an outstanding third behind Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga in the Randwick Guineas.

The form has been franked with Mo’unga winning the Rosehill Guineas last Saturday while Lion’s Roar ran a luckless fourth.

Newnham said he wasn’t surprised Harmony Rose raced so competitively against the “boys” in the Randwick Guineas.

“It was a huge jump in grade for Harmony Rose the other day but I would not have run her if I didn’t think she would run really well,’’ Newnham said.

“I hate running horses in races when I don’t think they have much chance but I really felt this filly could win and she did go very close.

“She had to do a bit of work mid-race, but she needed or she would have been caught a bit deep.

“So, she used a bit of energy to get to a good spot and battled on really well. It was good to see that form holding up in the Rosehill Guineas.’’

Harmony Rose (left) finished a close third behind Lion’s Roar in the Randwick Guineas. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Miravalle found winning form with an impressive effort in the Kembla Grange Classic last start, accelerating between runners and finishing powerfully to beat Elizabeel.

Newnham said the Kembla Grange win was a confidence boost for both the filly and her trainer.

“I was pleased to see her get a good win on the board,’’ Newnham said.

“Early in her career I was very bullish with her and although she ran fourth in the Wakeful Stakes and Victoria Oaks last spring I didn’t think that was her best even though those runs were at the end of her first preparation.’’

Newnham has changed his training program with Miravalle and was rewarded with the filly’s Kembla win.

“Miravalle’s a big filly but can be a lazy worker, she was just a bit blasé about it all,’’ Newnham said.

“So, I backed off her work, started jumping her and it put a bit of zip into her.

“It was then a matter of giving her an achievable task last start and I liked the way she was able to push into the clear and put them away.

“I thought that was the pleasing part of it, she had the mettle to put them to the sword.’’

Harmony Rose is favourite to win the Vinery Stud Stakes. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Harmony Rose and Miravalle are among the early favourites for the Group 1 $1 million ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on October 17.

But Newnham hasn’t completely ruled running either filly in the Group 1 $2 million ATC Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick next Saturday.

Newnham said the minor placings of Harmony Rose (Randwick Guineas) and the David Payne-trained Montefilia (Rosehill Guineas) indicates the top fillies would not be out of place against the colts and geldings in the Derby.

“We will get through this Saturday’s race first, see how both fillies go and then have a think about it,’’ Newnham said.

“The logical next step for them is the Oaks but I’m not ruling out the Derby.’’

Newnham’s tough mare Greysful Glamour, winner of the Villiers Stakes back in December, is also ready to stage a form reversal in the Group 2 $200,000 Emancipation Stakes (1500m).

Greysful Glamour ran last, beaten nearly 60 lengths in the All Star Mile last start but Newnham said the mare struggles on wet racks.

“She has got to a stage where she doesn’t like to get her feet wet,’’ Newnham said.

“If it was another race I might have scratched her but it was a race where she was paid to compete.

“We held someone else out of a spot and then there was those people who drew her in the ballot so it wasn’t the right thing to do (scratching).

“She was never going to take any hard from the run, she just saves herself now. I know how she bounces back after those races, it doesn’t bother her.’’

Spirit can rise to occasion

Spirit Ridge’s tactical speed and superior stamina gives trainer Mark Newnham reason to feel confident the stayer can measure up to weight-for-age racing in the Group 1 $1.5 million Tancred Stakes (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

“This horse is not your typical, grinding European-bred stayer,’’ Newnham said.

“He has gate speed which most of them don’t have.

“Robbie (Dolan) rode him really well to win the Summer Cup and January Cup when he was able to use the horse’s gate speed to get into a really good position in those races, then his staying ability and class kicked in.

“At weight-for-age, that will stand him in good stead. If he is to get to another level after handicap racing he is going to need a bit more to his game and not just be a stayer.

“I think he has a really good future but whether he is quite ready for weight-for-age racing this week or in six months’ time we will find out – but I’m sure he will be effective at that grade at some stage of his career.’’

Newnham is putting his theory to the test in the Tancred where Spirit Ridge is up against some top class stayers including Cox Plate winner Sir Dragonet, Mirage Dancer, classic winners Angel Of Truth, Toffee Tongue and Miami Bound, and 14-time Group 1 winner Melody Belle.

Summer Cup and January Cup winner Spirit Ridge will make the jump to weight-for-age in the Tancred Stakes. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But Spirit Ridge, who was bred in England where he started his race career, gave another demonstration of his emerging potential when he was narrowly beaten by Toffee Tongue (Mirage Dancer third) in the Sky High Stakes three weeks ago.

“These overseas stayers are a different breed,’’ Newnham said.

“It is evident in their work and recovery after gallops. I would not have been running an Australian-bred horse first-up over 2000m like I did with Spirit Ridge.

“But after having a ride or two on these overseas stayers it gives me enough confidence to do it. I know with Skymax I ran him second-up over 2400m at Warwick Farm and he won by five lengths.

“Our horses need a lot more grounding before you get to these distances. They are trained on small, circular tracks and they don’t have the same depth of pedigree.

“But these northern hemisphere-bred stayers are in constant work and their training routine means they have the capacity to do that.’’

Meanwhile, Newnham confirmed he is about to lose one of his most promising gallopers to Hong Kong but will regain a proven topliner.

Newnham said The Irishman will have his final Australian start during The Championships – in the Carbine Club Stakes (April 10) – at Royal Randwick before he is sent to Hong Kong to continue his race career but in exchange, the trainer will welcome back Shadow Hero, winner of Spring Champion Stakes and Randwick Guineas last season.

Originally published asNewnham fillies head to Vinery in Harmony

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