Racing WA

Watson finds Serenity in Scorcher

3 January 2023

Magnus five-year-old How’s The Serenity delivered apprentice jockey Holly Watson her second Listed success at Ascot on Sunday when producing a devastating return in the $125,000 Furphy Summer Scorcher (1000m).

Trained by Watson’s boss, Simon Miller, the speedy mare followed up two impressive recent trial wins with a convincing all-the-way victory, beating Wilchino by more than a length to obtain lucrative black type for the first time.

Speaking on TABradio’s The Sports Daily on Tuesday morning, Watson says it wasn’t necessarily the plan to lead with How’s The Serenity but it was the logical choice after the mare jumped the gates brilliantly.

“We know she’s got a lot of speed underneath her – especially being fresh – so I’d always had that confidence that she’d be up on the pace,” Watson said.

“Simon always leaves it up to me and says it’s my choice, just have her where she’s happy.

“When she jumped like that I was like, ‘well, we’re going to be leading’ and when Indian Pacific dropped off I was happy to go to the lead.

“It all just worked out great for my sake and her sake as well.

“She was attacking the line well and Simon had her trained to perfection.”

Asked if she had any concerns that How’s The Serenity may be vulnerable over the concluding stages, Watson says she knew she was home once they straightened for the judge.

“Not when we cornered,” she said.

“She gave a good kick and she kept fighting to the line so I was very, very happy with her.

“I said to Simon, ‘this is the first time her leading and hitting the line really well’ so I was very proud of her and her efforts.”

How’s The Serenity is in her third season of racing after making her debut at Ascot on March 11, 2020 and her eight wins from 20 career starts has seen her bank $388,760 in stake earnings and bonuses.

Previously a highly-strung type, Watson feels maturity has been the key to the five-year-old’s career-best return.

“She paraded really, really well,” Watson said.

“Usually she sweats up a lot and behind the gates she usually toey and everything, but going to the barriers she was just beautiful and tucked her head.

“I think probably the two trials under her belt settled her down and she was just beautiful before the race.

“She’s maturing, I think.”

How’s The Serenity is now likely to progress to the Listed Miss Andretti Stakes (1100m) on Saturday January 14 before tackling the Listed Scenic Blast Stakes (1200m) a fortnight later and Watson is confident the extra distance will only be beneficial to the mare.

“She’s always looking for that little bit extra and she’d be able to sit and win so it just depends on what gate we get and how she gets ridden,” she said.

“I think she’s just matured so much this prep that she’s going to be such a nice horse.”

Watson’s Summer Scorcher triumph brought up the second leg of a winning double on the day after progressive Playing God three-year-old Feels Playful took out the Amelia Park Plate (1400m) earlier on the card.

After leading throughout at her previous start, the Mitch Pateman-trained filly displayed versatility to settle third in running and finish strongly to beat Laquetta’s Gift by a nose in a driving finish.

“She’s progressing really nicely and she’s going to be a nice filly,” Watson said.

“She’s probably looking for that little bit further now and I probably should’ve kept hitting her to the line because she sort of fell asleep a little bit.

“We’ll learn that for the future.

“That’s her first time not getting a bit of cover in a race so I thought it was a great job by her to be able to be ridden differently and still be able to win.

“She’ll go out for a little bit now and I think she’s heading to the Oaks.”

The $300,000 Group 3 WA Oaks (2400m) will be run at Ascot on Saturday March 25.