Girls record against boys has Newnham buoyant

4 min read
Mark Newnham knows Nakeeta Jane needs to be at her best to beat The Autumn Sun, but the trainer is encouraged by the record of this season's 3-year-old fillies against the colts and geldings.

By Michael Cox

The feature race record of fillies against colts from the current 3-year-old crop has trainer Mark Newnham bullish about his chances when Nakeeta Jane (So You Think {NZ}) takes on The Autumn Sun (Redoute's Choice) in Saturday's G1 Randwick Guineas.

A close third in the G1 Flight Stakes in the spring, Nakeeta Jane has returned with exciting wins in the G2 Light Fingers Stakes and G1 Surround Stakes, and Newnham has seen enough to send his filly in off a seven-day break against The Autumn Sun.

Newnham goes into the clash with his eyes wide open, "The Autumn Sun has won six from seven, and he is unlucky not to be unbeaten", he said. But he also seen enough from the group to suggest that, overall, the fillies have been stronger than the colts.

"Outside of him, the fillies are superior." - Mark Newnham

Mark Newnham and jockey Josh Parr

"Outside of him, the fillies are superior," Newnham said. "From his age group, The Autumn Sun has been the only colt that has been able to keep on winning, the others have just taken their turns, and when the fillies have raced against them they've competed well."

"At two the fillies were clearly superior, even though The Autumn Sun wasn't there in Sydney."

Fillies swept through the Sydney 2-year-old features last year, with Estijaab (Snitzel) beating fellow fillies Oohood (I Am Invincible) and Sunlight (Zoustar) in the G1 Golden Slipper. El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity) then beat Oohood in the G1 Sires' Produce Stakes before Seabrook (Hinchinbrook) clinched the G1 Champagne Stakes.

The Autumn Sun stamped himself late in the season with his win in the 2018 G1 JJ Atkins, but when the group returned as 3-year-olds, the fillies again stole the limelight. Newnham's own Maid Of Heaven (Smart Missile) won the G1 Spring Champion Stakes and the speedy filly Sunlight beat the boys in the "stallion-making" G1 Coolmore Stud.

"They are a really good bunch of 3-year-old fillies, but now we are taking on the best colt," Newnham said.

Nakeeta Jane

Nakeeta Jane is one of three fillies tackling the G1, along with Hayes-trained front-runner Fundamentalist (Not A Single Doubt) – who was beaten a nose by Nakeeta Jane in the Surround – and Kris Lees-trained G2 winner Miss Fabulass (Frankel {GB}).

Since the Randwick Guineas was first run in 2006, Mosheen (Fastnet Rock) is the only filly to win the race, with her 2012 triumph one of four career G1 wins.

Two years ago Lees' filly Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible) was narrowly defeated by Inference (So You Think {NZ}) on a bog track but it has been rare for fillies to tackle the race, let alone when there is a dominant colt. The Autumn Sun will start odds-on favourite as he chases a fourth straight win and fourth G1 from seven starts. He overcame a wet track and an unsuitably run race to win first up in the G2 Hobartville Stakes and is well suited by a step up to a mile second-up.

"He is clearly the best colt in the country." - Mark Newnham

"He is clearly the best colt in the country," Newnham said. "He can get himself in some awkward positions in running, but he seems to overcome it."

The Autumn Sun winning the G2 Hobartville S.

Newnham believes the race isn't just a throw at the G1 stumps but an ideal stepping-stone to longer races, with the G1 Vinery against 3-year-old three weeks later and the G1 ATC Oaks, as well as options at a mile and 2000m two weeks later.

"It fits in really well in the preparation, in fact it fits in perfectly," he said. "It's a good solid run over a mile, which gives us three weeks into a 2000m run. She is in good order and has come through that run well. There are a lot more reasons to run than not to run, so we will take our chance."