It’s pronounced Stee-arka-vitch. Let’s get that straight, because it was the name on everyone’s lips after a fairytale result to today’s Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes.
‘Veteran’ Adelaide apprentice jockey Lauren Stojakovic and Miracles of Life provided the result sentimentalists wanted to see when they combined for a brilliant win in the $1 million Group 1 event.
Stojakovic, 29, had openly conceded to battling nerves, first before the Blue Diamond Preview – which Miracles of Life won effortlessly on 26 January – and in the month between runs, over her involvement in the Miracles of Life story.
But she justified trainer Daniel Clarken and owner Teeley Assets Ltd’s decision to stick with her over many big name hoops who were keen to assume the ride and was thrilled to celebrate victory with the filly who she calls Barbie.
“In the gates, I said to ‘Barbie’ that the gates were about to open and there was about a minute between us being good or great and after the line I told her she was just brilliant,” Stojakovic, who returned to scale with tears streaming down her face, said.
“I didn’t realise how good it could feel to cross the line (first) in a Group 1.”
The inside barrier that many thought would be a disadvantage proved an asset when Stojakovic produced a measured ride.
Although they jumped well, Stojakovic did not feel pressured to boot up and was happy to sit three horses back along the fence. She got one off at the 600m, edged three wide at the 400m and held Miracles of Life together until the 250m after which she quickly put the race beyond doubt.
Clarken said it was an outstanding ride and saved some praise for Miracles of Life, who has now won all four starts and became the third Blue Diamond winner in a row to maintain an unbeaten, following on from Sepoy and Samaready.
“That ride was 10 out of 10,” Clarken said. “Lauren knows the horse, she knows what she’s got and she used it to her advantage.
“It was sensational on behalf of horse and rider. We’ve just won the Blue Diamond!”
Miracles of Life, who started the $3.20 favourite, scored by 1.5 lengths from the David Hayes-trained Fast N Rocking ($26), who finished a half-head in advance of Godiva Rock ($17).
The Peter Snowden-trained Guelph, the $3.50 second elect, went back from her wide barrier and was never a factor, finishing ninth, more than six lengths from the winner.
Story by Brad Bishop