Unchain My Heart has created history in potentially her final career start by winning today’s $150,000 Listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (3200m) at Flemington.
Set to be sold at next week’s Magic Millions Broodmare Sale, the seven-year-old became the first mare to win the two mile feature in consecutive seasons.
The victory provided trainer David Hayes with a double after the Hall of Fame trainer earlier prepared debutant Forgive And Forget to win the $80,000 Victorian Carbine Club Plate (1000m).
Joe O’Neill, who purchased and syndicated Unchain My Heart, said he couldn’t have asked for a better way to finish her career.
“I bought her out of a paddock for $47,500, it was about minus six degrees the day I bought her and who would’ve thought this would happen?” he said.
“She’s done a great job and we hate to see them go but she’s a rising eight-year-old mare and she’ll go to a great home as a broodmare.
“Andrew Ramsden was a great man, to win the race last year which was the last time he saw it and to win it the first time since he’s passed away is great.”
Settling towards the rear of the field, jockey Craig Newitt waited patiently before angling Unchain My Heart ($7.50) into the clear at the top of the home straight.
Unleashing a powerful sprint over the final 200m, she raced to the lead at the 100m mark before powering away to record a two-and-a-half length win over Vatuvei ($31), with Gotta Take Care ($8) a short head away in third.
Echoing the thoughts of trainer David Hayes, Newitt said the difference between Unchain My Heart’s last start at Flemington and today’s performance was getting back on to a drier surface.
“She’s a mare that deserves to go out a winner,” Newitt said. “Her run the other day on a slow track was as good as anything in the race, she hasn’t got the acceleration on a slow track and she showed today here on top of the ground what turn of foot she has.
“I remember one day I got beaten on her in a Benchmark 72 in Seymour (August 2011), it was a long time ago and today was the first time I’ve been on her since.
“She just gave me the best ride throughout the race. She travelled nicely and they took off a long way from and knowing she’s only got a short but deadly turn of foot, I tried to creep up as steadily as I could and once she peeled to the outside she was really good.”
Story by Ben Asgari