Racing WA

Star Filly Was In Danger Of Missing Her Biggest Race Win

3 February 2023

From the outside looking in, it appeared a seamless campaign for Amelia’s Jewel.

Sure, there was a blip and a hiccup when she got beaten for the first and only time to date in the Burgess Queen Stakes (1400m), but don’t discount the winner, Laced Up Heels, she is above average.

Order was restored for Amelia’s Jewel when she bounced back to regain her glamour status-if in fact she ever lost it, in the WA Guineas (1600m).

She beat home Bustler and Saintorio.

Next target: the $1.5 million Group 1 Northerly Stakes (1800m).

The stakes were big, apart from the prizemoney, there was pride and ego on the line.

Trainer Simon Miller was chasing his first Group 1 win as a trainer. Born in Victoria, he's won a majority of big races in his adopted state, but a Group 1 had eluded his grasp.

Winning one wouldn’t define his reputation, there is only three on offer each season in Perth, but you want to grab hold of a golden opportunity when it presents itself.

Owner-breeder Peter Walsh was in the same boat as Miller, his G1 trophy cabinet was frustratingly bare, Amelia Park's head honcho ran second an amazing seven times.

But reality isn’t always what you think. Behind the closed door environment of trainer Simon Miller’s Ascot stables, the gap between truth and perception was widening.

On the back of huge pre-race hype, intense media attention and the weight of money from favourite backers, Miller and Walsh faced an unexpected and unwanted hitch.

Amelia's Jewel was in serious doubt to take her place in the Northerly Stakes.

“She spiked a temperature right after the Guineas on the Monday,” Miller told Tabradio.

“I rang Peter (Walsh) as I do post-race and I said we’re in a bit of trouble here.

“I thought we would get it under control, but Tuesday it wasn’t under control and Wednesday it wasn’t under control.

“I put her on a course of antibiotics, but that didn’t work and I had to do three changes.

“I scoped her on the Monday before the Tuesday gallop leading into The Northerly and if she scoped dirty we were heading to the paddock.

“She scoped clean, so that was one hurdle and we gave her a pretty solid hit out on the Tuesday.

“I had to do it because she had done nothing post the WA Guineas.

“I though if she can’t handle a strong workout, then you can’t handle the race (Northerly) on Saturday.

“She was a bit wobbly on Wednesday, but Thursday was starting to get back.

“On Friday she was bouncing out of her box and I thought we are on here.

“We had her back to where we needed her to be.

“Good horses overcome adversity.”

Jockey Pat Carbery is as much a part of the Amelia's Jewel narrative as Miller and Wash. No other rider has partnered the boom filly in her seven career outings.

Carbery was facing his own battle in the lead-up to The Northerly Stakes, wasting hard to ride Amelia’s Jewel at 50kg, his lowest weight in almost two decades.

Miller and Walsh opted not to reveal Amelia's Jewel's illness to Carbery.

“He (Pat) said I knew she wasn’t quite right,” Walsh said.

“We didn’t tell him because we didn’t want to cloud his judgement.

"He was wasting hard himself.

“In his opinion he said most horses that come through what she did are battling to win a normal race, let alone a Group 1.

“That’s when you realise how tough she is.”

Amelia’s Jewel will spend another few weeks in pre-training at Amelia Park before Miller rams up her workload ahead of a Perth campaign in the autumn.

She’ll run in the Group 3 Roma Cup (1100m) and two weeks later in April’s $4 million Quokka (1200m), WA’s newest slot race at Ascot.

"Sarah, who rides her every morning, says it's the best she's ever felt," Walsh said.

"She has put on 46kgs and is just starting to mature.

"I think the two runs this time and another good break, I think you will see her really develop."

Julio Santarelli