WEDNESDAY: July 10, 2019: MARIA Sharapova might have been an early Wimbledon casualty last week – but her equine namesake proved a hit with punters at Warwick Farm today.
The lightly-raced Hawkesbury filly started a $2.50 favorite and, resuming from a spell, broke through for her first win at only her fifth start, in the 3YO Maiden Plate (1200m).
Trainer Garry Frazer went to $220,000 to secure the Sebring-Chosen Dove filly (Lot 719) at the 2017 Magic Millions yearling sale at the Gold Coast on behalf of owners Steve Wilde and Jarrod Rourke, and was understandably delighted to see her end her maiden status.
“I have always had a good opinion of this filly, and was keen to set her for the Magic Millions 2YO Classic last year,” he said this evening.
“Unfortunately, she chipped a bone in a knee before she raced and had to have a fair time out.
“She raced without a lot of luck earlier in the year against some better company horses.
“I thought Sharapova could win today; my only concern being how she would handle the 1200m first-up on a heavy track.
“But she was going to win from the time the horses hit the ground running, although understandably she got a bit tired over the closing stages.”
Frazer said Sharapova’s victory had given him extra pleasure, especially because of his great association with part-owner Steve Wilde.
“Steve is my longest and loyal client, and it was fantastic to win for both he and Jarrod, who also has shares in a number of Australian Bloodstock horses, including this year’s Sydney Cup winner Shraaoh,” he said.
Sharapova (Tim Clark) beat other fancied pair Emergent and Lochita (each $3.20 chances), and Frazer is keen to make up for lost time and give her another start before she turns four on August 1.
“Being BOBS eligible and provided she does well after today’s race, I would like to run her again before the season winds up at the end of this month,” he said.
Frazer had an interesting tale to relate about the filly’s name.
“She is a good sort, and the owners were keen to name her Margot Robbie after the glamorous Australian actress,” he explained.
“When they were unable to get that name, they settled on Sharapova.”
. Whilst the door has closed on the racing career of Frazer’s Group 1 winner Spright (she will be mated with Zoustar in the new season), he is hoping another opens with her so far unraced younger two-year-old half-sister by Arlington.
“I bought her for $40,000 (Lot 697) at last year’s Inglis classic yearling sale, and her name is Disengage,” he said.
“We kept a share in the filly, and syndicated her amongst a group of friends.
“Disengage was a November foal, so I haven’t pushed her. But I like her and will be surprised if she doesn’t turn out okay.”