Jamie Stewart is a bona fide good bloke and there is no doubting that most people watching Saturday’s first race at Rosehill Gardens were tickled pink for the Moruya trainer when he landed his first ever winner in a Highway Handicap.
The Stewart-trained Iconic Dame lived up to her name and lofty billing, recording win number three at start number five when bolting in for an easy victory in the 1100m Class Three Highway Handicap.
“Yeah, this is my first one (Highway Handicap) and it’s a great result for everyone involved,” Stewart said.
Tyler Schiller was able to jump the three-year-old out of gate two nicely, and after pushing up on the rails, the pair held the inside running just behind early leader Well In Sight (Hugh Bowman, $6).
Iconic Dame then found the front when entering the Rosehill Gardens straight, and she again responded at the 300m mark, gapping the field before running away for a 3.52 lengths win from the Lou Mary-trained Proverbial (Chad Schofield, $9.50), while in third was the ever-consistent King’s Trust (Rachel King, $10) from the Terry Robinson yard.
“That was a great ride by Tyler; he used the fence and railed really well,” Stewart said.
“We know she likes the wet and the form was on the board with that good run in a Highway last prep, and she has improved off that run and come here today and got the job done.”
The Nicconi filly thrived in the heavy conditions, and Stewart was always confident Iconic Dame would run a good race following her fifth placing in a Highway Handicap at Royal Randwick last preparation.
“This (Rosehill Gardens) is a bit of a different heavy to Randwick, but it was very wet that day, so we were confident she would come here and handle it,” Stewart said.
In a sign of things to come, Stewart believes Iconic Dame is very progressive but at the end of the day, he was simply happy to get a good win for connections.
“She has always shown a bit, but she is still learning her craft; she is still going to improve off that (run) but exciting times ahead,” Stewart said.
“She had that first prep and had a light break and came back in and she is still BOBs (eligble) and we wanted to utilise that, and it was great to get that result today for everyone involved – onwards and upwards.”
The Moruya stable will look at another Highway Handicap in a month’s time, and while there is a lot of excitement about Iconic Dame, Stewart was trying to keep a lid on those expectations, reminding everyone it was only another country graded race.
“We’ll just assess her (after the run). There is another Highway; a class three in about a month, but we will see how she is going,” Stewart said.
“She is only a fairly lightly framed filly. I think we will take our time and she will reward us.
“We obviosuly ran her in a Highway at her third start, so she has always shown us enough (and) the breed suggests that she will get better as she goes, which is terrific.
“The sky’s the limit, but at the end of the day it is country grade, and it is great to come here and get the win.”
The victory is timely for connections, with Racing NSW and the TAB this week opening ticket sales for the $1.3 million The Kosciuszko, which will be run and won over the 1200m at Royal Randwick on October 15.
The 14 slot holders will be drawn on September 9, and there is no doubting that if Iconic Dame can replicate Saturday’s success in another Highway Handicap, the Jamie Stewart-trained filly will be in discussions for a spot in the rich country-only race.