Amelia's Jewel set to become Australia's 'sexiest' racehorse.

Written by Bruce Clark, Racenet.


There were 34,604 racehorses listed as active in Australia last season, so says Racing Australia's expansive "Fact Book". They ran in some 19,026 races for near on $900m in prizemoney, and a fair proportion of them not getting much of that.

It tells you racing is a very big industry, but as Les Carlyon once pointed out, so is packaging, "yet no one stands alongside a production line to applaud a cardboard box that they think happens to be rather better than other cardboard boxes".

He suggests no-one ever left the racetrack either saying – "I enjoyed watching the industry today."

In the end we are indeed "here for the horses", and then those who ride, train, own and care for them.

Sometimes a rare jewel comes along. And that is what keeps the game ticking, the industry purring and the fans cheering.

It perhaps explains away a little why in a Melbourne restaurant at 7.45pm on a Saturday night a table is locked into their phones to watch racing's latest star, Amelia's Jewel, win the Group 1 Northerly Stakes some 3500km away and with that a three-hour time difference.

The racing "industry" has been spoilt with real box office stars like Black Caviar and then Winx and another aspiring headline talent is not meant to earn nomination for such adulation so soon, but the Amelia's Jewel script is so rich from supporting players like trainer Simon Miller, owners Peter and Annie Walsh and jockey Pat Carbery, that is she already has earned five-star reviews.

                                             Pat Carbery celebrates his Group 1 Northerly Stakes win aboard Amelia's Jewel (Western Racepix).

As good as Team Black Caviar and Team Winx were for the sport and sharing the ride, so too it seems Team Amelia will be and what a ride they can take themselves on with us fans engaged.

Sure Anamoe was a spring star, and deserving of legendary status after the Cox Plate, Nature Strip has a lifetime achievement award, a winner at Royal Ascot but beaten in Sydney and Melbourne on a sort of long farewell tour, Giga Kick has emerged, Gold Trip into the pantheon in the Cup, but Amelia's Jewel is the most exciting – dare I suggest "sexy" – horse in the country.

Fitting that it was this year that Perth Racing renamed the Kingston Town Stakes after their own local hero Northerly. The Fred Kersley trained giant was known as "The Fighting Tiger" for promotional purposes but described more deftly by Carlyon – "one instant Northerly looks beaten, the next he looks unbeatable."

That could easily sum up Amelia's Jewel, beaten just once in seven starts, and that when her career shortest start price, $1.45 in the Burgess Queen Stakes in November.

Going into Saturday both horse, owner and trainer were Group 1 maidens, Carbery had won five, indeed he'd won four races on Northerly, but never at the elite level.

Carbery had told Miller long before the horse had a serious gallop that he had something special in Amelia's Jewel. "She was going evens and he said wait until I let this go, she gives me the greatest feeling, it was great to do it with him as well, he's ridden for me a long time, the 50kg was no problem, but I can tell you he was eating for Australia on Sunday," Miller said.

So, you might think Miller, the former bank teller from Melbourne, might have been a touch nervous heading to Ascot on Saturday. You couldn't be more wrong.

"I had a runner in the first then I wasn't in until late, the one in the first I race with some mates from Melbourne who weren't there, so I stayed home in the pool and had a couple of beers," Miller said.

You sense that Miller is a bit of fun. He is, a mighty fine horseman as well, but if some marketing guru asks him to stand on his head in the corner for a photo shoot once he eventually brings his girl east, or anywhere, he might just do it.

"I wasn't nervous at all, I know how good she is, those change up gears she has that no other horse I've had or seen has, that's why I was very comfortable," Miller said without any hint of boast or brash talking that sometimes says more about connections egos than the true athlete who thankfully can't talk such babble.

And he added a perfect observation – "I just went there as a fan, I love watching her race, she just doesn't let you down, ever since she won the Karrakatta Plate (in April), I have gone to the races as a trainer, I went there as a fan."

"I just have total faith in her, I don't know what her weakness is," he said, "But I don't know what her best distance is, the scary thing is her last two wins have been in slowly run races, she's even better off a top speed because she has those gears, nothing can go as fast as her in top gear."

Again, he's not spruiking, he is in total admiration of what he finally gets to work with.

The other thing he is getting used to is the fan adulation and the star quality the filly oozes.

"It took her forever to get back to the enclosure, everybody wanted a piece of her, to see her, she has built up a real following over here, they are all over her," Miller said.

I suggest to Miller she has the same pull on the other side of the country and there is a clamour to see her do what she does on the nation's biggest stages.

"I have got a sense of that, I remember taking Power Princess to Adelaide for the (2012) Sangster to take on Black Caviar. You all know what a media and public star she was, but I never got a real feel of it until we got there. I thought, ‘holy shit', this is just controlled chaos, an amazing experience."

Miller is not one to put himself ahead of the filly and the career ahead and talk Black Caviar or Winx in the same sentences, but he is more than ready for the exciting journey.

                                                                                 Peter Walsh and Simon Miller (Western Racepix).

Along with "Walshy", the larger-than-life owner-breeder who has fingers in plenty of Western Australian business and global pies, they will work out if she comes to Melbourne in the autumn, or stays home for the rich Quokka slot race in April.

There is already an invitation to Royal Ascot, a previous trip that was the genesis of the Amelia's Jewel story, The Golden Eagle is a 2023 goal, while the Cox Plate is where box office stars shine. They are all on the table.

"Walshy just embraces it, it's fantastic to do it with him, couldn't meet a better bloke, he loves his racing and loves celebrating it," Miller said.

So while Miller had a quiet dinner with family on Saturday "I was just exhausted, it took more out of me than I thought", Sunday was party time, Walsh booking out a swish Perth restaurant for 40 people with the opening table drink being bottles of Louis Roederer Cristal ("Christ I looked it up on the menu and saw it was around $650 a bottle…..I was a bit dusty this morning.")

He was able to change his Twitter handle to "Group 1 winning thoroughbred trainer", change the profile pic to Carbery's exuberant cross the line celebration, which naturally the fun police pinged him $500 for.

While Amelia's Jewel heads for a short summer break, eyes will shift to the Gold Coast in January where her half-brother (by Godolphin's Blue Point), will be offered for sale as Lot 690.

Walsh keeps the fillies, sells the colts, he sold a Merchant Navy colt, now named True Heroes, it topped the Perth sale at $160,000 but hasn't been seen on track other than two unappealing trials for Sean Casey.

Walsh sent the mare Bumbasina over to France (on the same plane as Verry Elleegant), to be reunited with Siyouni, who sired Amelia's Jewel, and she will stay there for seasons to come.

"She was empty last season, but I was the last one to know that the next one is a colt, doesn't matter I've got a fast one and couldn't be happier."








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