Daughter of Redoute's Choice kicks off QLD Oaks campaign at Muswellbrook

4 min read

by Anthony Manton

Racing in New South Wales on Friday sees the running of the $100,000 Muswellbrook Cup and while it has brought together a quality field and a strong support card there will be no doubt who the best-bred horse racing on the day is when Angel Of Heaven (Redoute’s Choice) struts into the parade ring for race two.

Angel of Heaven is the second foal to race from Group 1 winning mare Lights Of Heaven (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}) and she is resuming from a five-month break after an unbeaten first preparation.

It will be a low-key starting point for the filly as she heads towards the Group 1 Queensland Oaks as a long-term aim this preparation.

Lights Of Heaven, trained by Peter Moody won her first four races culminating in the 2011 Group 1 Schweppes Oaks over 2008 metres at Morphettville. In total, she won eight races, six at stakes-level and placed a further seven times in group-company earning prize money of $1.575 million.

Lights Of Heaven with trainer Peter Moody

Lights Of Heaven was bred and raced by the Wanless family and is the daughter of another mare the family raced and bred with I’m In Heaven (NZ) (Volksraad {GB}) until her passing in 2016. I’m In Heaven was herself a multiple city-winning mare and half-sister to Group 1 winner Dal Cielo (NZ) (Per Incanto {USA}) and full-sister to stakes-winner Eloa (NZ) (Volksraad {NZ}).

Angel Of Heaven created a big impression at Scone on debut in October when heavily backed in betting and showing good acceleration the last 100 metres to finish strongly and win over 1300 metres. She then jumped straight from maiden company to class 2 which is never an easy task and effortlessly won again at Port Macquarie in November before she was spelled.

This time-in Angel Of Heaven has been given two quiet barrier trials at Newcastle and Wyong and the 1450 metres at Muswellbrook is a good starting point for the filly who will progressively step-up in distance deeper into her campaign.

"She knows when it’s race-day and seems to perform at her best under race conditions." - Kris Lees' Racing Foreman Lucas Miller

Trainer Kris Lees is in Dubai to oversee the campaign of Brave Smash (JPN) (Tosen Phantom {JPN}) who runs in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint 1200 metres at Meydan on Saturday night, however Lees’ Racing Manager Lucas Miller says while the filly hasn’t been an eye-catcher at the trials as evident in her first preparation she reserves her best for race day.

Trainer Kris Lees

“She is a lovely relaxed filly and very casual about her work but as we saw in her first preparation she knows when it’s race-day and seems to perform at her best under race conditions,” said Kris Lees’ Racing Manager Lucas Miller.

“1450m is obviously going to be short of her best distance but we’d just like to see her hitting the line and although she isn’t fully at her peak she has the class to win first-up,” said Miller.

The Lees stable is very fortunate to have a handful of high-class 3-year old fillies in the stable including El Dorado Dreaming (Ilovethiscity) and Frankely Awesome (Frankel {GB}) both running Saturday at Rosehill in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes 2000 metres and headed towards the Group 1 Australian Oaks on April 13.

The intention with Angel Of Heaven has been to separate her from the other fillies who are more seasoned at Group racing and aim her towards the Queensland Oaks.

“Her dam (Lights Of Heaven) won an Oaks in South Australia in her first preparation so we believe it’s a very realistic goal for this filly." - Lucas Miller

“We’re very lucky in the stable to have some high-class 3-year-old fillies and Queensland has always been the aim with this filly as she is just a little bit behind the others at this stage."

“Her dam (Lights Of Heaven) won an Oaks in South Australia in her first preparation so we believe it’s a very realistic goal for this filly."

Angel Of Heave winning at Port Macquarie

“She is a very well-bred filly and if she could match the achievements of her dam on the track she makes herself a very valuable broodmare and it would be lovely to continue the family legacy and race her progeny,” said Miller.

Angel Of Heaven’s half-brother Road To Heaven (High Chaparral {IRE}) has also accepted to run over the weekend and is the first emergency for the $150,000 Provincial Championship Qualifier at Wyong on Saturday as he chases a start in the $500,000 Provincial Championship Final at Randwick on April 13, a race the Wanless family won last year with Serene Miss (Northern Meteor).