“He has always helped me.”
Newnham only decided to run Maid Of Heaven during the week after she didn’t have any luck in the Flight Stakes. She vindicated the decision by becoming the second filly to beat the boys after Yankee Rose two years ago, overwhelming Aramayo late.
“She didn’t have the luck last week and that was just a perfect ride,” Newnham said. “I just told her to get her out in the clear and let her go through her gears.
“That last 50m I had my heart in my mouth. I didn’t know whether she’d get there, but the last two strides got us over the line.
“What encouraged me was her work through the line over the mile. At the 2000m it was good to win for Arrowfield, who were happy to back her up.
“During the week she couldn’t have eaten any more. She showed us she was ready to back up.”
Newnham was entrusted by Arrowfield Stud with Maid Of Heaven, who is now Smart Missile’s first group 1 winner.
“It is a day of firsts,” Newnham said. “To get a horse from Arrowfield was great, but to do that with her is incredible.
“When you get a horse from a stud you want to win, then get a stakes race and the dream is a group 1.”
Maid Of Heaven was certainly the strongest stayer. It was a true staying test, with favourite Thinkin’ Big, which cast a plate before the race, hitting the front topping the rise.
He couldn’t match the sprint of Aramayo, which followed him through, and at the same time Maid Of Heaven was launching down the centre of the track.
The pair drew clear with Maid Of Heaven ($14) getting a long head margin on Aramayo ($4.20) with Thinkin’ Big ($3.40) 2-1/4 lengths away in third.
Tye Angland thought he was home when Aramayo sprinted.
“Thought I was the winner on a couple of occasions but just ran out of gas. Soft track got the better of him, but he ran well,” Angland said.
But this was the Maid Of Heaven that King and Newnham thought could win the Flight Stakes last week.
“She didn’t get the chance to extend in the straight in the Flight, and when I got her into the clear she just let down,” King said.
Thinkin’ Big couldn’t dictate like he did in the Gloaming Stakes, ,and jockey Tim Clark thought he was dulled by the heavy track.
“It took its toll on him second-up,” Clark said.
Meanwhile, Angland will miss the Caulfield Cup ride on Ace High after being given a four-meeting careless riding suspension for causing interference when he made his run at the 300m on Aramayo and bumped Tarka. Angland will appeal.
Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald