Watching from the sideline - Australian Preview

By Adam Hamilton – Twitter: @AdamTABSports

Trainer and new mum Emma Stewart will be cheering classy mare Beauty Secret from home on Friday night.

The five-year-old mare should make the most of huge class drop and win the Harness Breeders Jodies Babe (1720m) at Melton.

Stewart would love to be trackside, but she’s still got some training of a different sort to do with her two-week old daughter, Willow.

“She won’t let me leave her side at the moment. She cries the moment I do,” Stewart laughed. “I can’t really complain, she’s a great little sleeper.

“It’ll be a while until I can get back to the races though. I’ll have to cheer from home until then.”

During the whirlwind that is becoming parents for the first time, the stunning strike rate of Emma’s stable (which she runs in partnership with Clayton Tonkin) has continued to roll on.

Although Beauty Secret will take centre stage at Melton on Friday night, it’s been the stable’s strong recent string of impressive two-year-olds which has impressed everybody.

One of them, Goodtime Sammy, is favourite to make it two wins from as many runs in the Youthful Stakes for colts and geldings at Melton on Friday night.

More on him soon, but Stewart’s major focus will be Beauty Secret.

The daughter of Armbro Operative, who boasts 24 wins from 55 starts, has not stepped-out since chasing valiantly for second – albeit beaten 18.3m - behind the mighty Adore Me in that record 1min47.7sec Ladyship Mile on March 1.

“We were so proud of her. Obviously she just wins the race any normal year, but Adore Me was freakish,” Stewart said.

“She came through it well and fair to say this is an almighty drop back in class, although it’s never that easy from wide draws over the sprint trip (1720m) at Melton.”

Beauty Secret is a $1.50 favourite now she moves into gate six (with the scratching of Milly Perez from gate four).

The main dangers will be the talented and consistent Steam Washed (gate five) and speedy but poorly drawn Courageousnquick (eight).

As far as Goodtime Sammy goes in the Youthful, Stewart says the “penny is starting to drop” with the colt.

“He’s a Somebeachsomewhere and he’s been a bit of a handful to get going, but he’s starting to put it together. He’s in the top two juvenile colts we have. The other is King Of The Stars,” she said.

Stewart admits she is even more excited about the stable’s crop of two-year-old fillies.

“We’ve got a strong group, not all stars, but most with plenty of talent,” she said. “Rocknroll Magic won well at Melton last Saturday, but the one we most like from that race is Heavens Trend. She didn’t have much luck and will get better and better,” she said.

In other big stable news, Stewart revealed star four-year-old Yankee Rockstar almost died after contesting the Chariots Of Fire on March 1 at Menangle.

“He’s still at the vet clinic now,” she said. “He had some sort of bronchial pneumonia and almost lost a lung.

“He’s finally been given the all-clear as far as surviving and not losing the lung, but he’s out for a long spell and then we’ll know about what damage he’s done and how his racing future looks.”

It’s another blow after learning long-time stable star Restrepo is almost certainly finished as a racehorse.

“He was diagnosed with a slab fracture of the knee and suspensory ligament tear,” Stewart said.

It’s much brighter news with glamour pair Guaranteed and Philadelphia Man, who are about to resume training after aborted Inter Dominion campaigns.

It’s looking very likely Guaranteed will spice up Queensland’s Winter Carnival by taking on the likes of Beautide and For A Reason in the Sunshine Sprint and/or Group 1 Blacks A Fake.