September 3, 2016Smart Stakes Winner Bred and Sold by Newhaven
September 3 – The Listed MVRC Atlantic Jewel Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday produced a stirring battle to the line with previously unbeaten West Australian filly Whispering Brook going down in the last few strides to progressive Denman filly Merriest, a $210,000 Magic Millions purchase from the Newhaven draft for Barry and Jan McRostie.
Prepared by Danny O’Brien, Merriest scored impressively on debut at Caulfield back in April and then was luckless when resuming for a close up eighth in the Group III MRC Queezette Stakes last month.
She turned that form around in this 1200 metre sprint, enjoying a good run in transit for Damien Oliver before overpowering Whispering Brook to win by a short head with a 3.5 kg weight advantage in her favour.
“She had no luck at Caulfield first-up and Damien (Oliver) was able to get her up on the pace today,” explained Danny O’Brien.
“She showed plenty of fight and she will improve off this. She didn’t get much of a go at them first-up so this will tidy her up and bring her on.”
O’Brien said he feels Merriest may extend out in distance, so the Group III MRC Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) will be her next assignment.
“She can settle and relaxes well so we’ll try her at 1400 (metres) in the Guineas Prelude and that will give us a good idea if she can get further,” O’Brien said.
“If she shows she can get the trip then the Thousand Guineas is a nice race for her.”
A stunning filly, Merriest was bred and sold by Newhaven Park and was the most expensive filly of the year by her sire Denman.
She has won two of four starts earning over $120,000 and is the third foal and third winner out of the Melbourne winning Canny Lad mare Merrier a granddaughter of the top-class mare Scomeld, whose 12 wins included the Group 1 VRC Oaks.
Scomeld also made her mark at stud as the dam of Group III Sweet Embrace Stakes winner and Group I Australasian Oaks third Scollata.
Merrier has not had the best of luck in the breeding barn of late.
Her 2014 foal by Delago Deluxe was born dead and she missed when bred back to the same stallion that year. She was covered by the dual Group 1 winning son of Encosta de Lago again last spring.