Jockey Glyn Schofield returns to scale after riding Fiesta to victory in the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm on Saturday. Picture: Simon Bullard/AAP
Jockey Glyn Schofield returns to scale after riding Fiesta to victory in the Inglis Sprint at Warwick Farm on Saturday. Picture: Simon Bullard/AAP

Fiesta, Estijaab thriller brings crowd to their feet

FIESTA was too strong but  Estijaab only gained admirers in defeat after a memorable clash between two outstanding three-year-old fillies at Warwick Farm on Saturday.

This was Fiesta's day, wearing down her rival as the two equal favourites showed their class in the $1 million Inglis 3yo Sprint (1100m) before a healthy crowd of 6160.

Trainer Chris Waller was magnanimous after his filly's win, acknowledging Estijaab's gallant attempt to try to lead throughout in her first start since her Golden Slipper triumph 11 months ago.

"They are two very good fillies and it was great to see a race like that,'' Waller said.

"Estijaab hasn't raced for a long time but we all know what she has done.

"Fiesta probably had the drop on her, she had the momentum and residual fitness from her spring (campaign). It won't be the last time they meet and next time I hope they give the same spectacle they have given today.''

Fiesta ($4.20 equal favourite) was brilliantly ridden by Glyn Schofield and ran down Estijaab ($4.20 equal favourite) to win by nearly a length, with Mizzy ($7.50) running a very good third, two-and-a-quarter lengths away.

Fiesta (right) edges out Estijaab in a thrilling finish to the Inglis Sprint. Picture: AAP
Fiesta (right) edges out Estijaab in a thrilling finish to the Inglis Sprint. Picture: AAP

Schofield said Fiesta's win was full of merit as he felt Estijaab got away with "a soft time up front".

"I didn't think we went all that quick but I was travelling sweetly on the back of them and when I let her go she responded nicely for me,'' Schofield said.

"I had to give her a little bit of a reminder to show her what her job was all about but at the end it was quite comfortable.

"Estijaab did give a kick because it had such a soft time in front and was able to fill its tanks. She went with me for a little bit but over the concluding stages Fiesta was just too strong."

Fiesta, raced by Denise Martin's Star Thoroughbreds, scored her third win (and seven placings) from just 12 starts, taking her career earnings to nearly $1.4 million.

Fiesta looks set for a big autumn after an impressive first-up win. Picture: Getty Images
Fiesta looks set for a big autumn after an impressive first-up win. Picture: Getty Images

"This filly is typical of the horses that Denise buys,'' Waller said. "She buys horses that run early and keep running.

"Fiesta raced successfully as an early two-year-old and here she is as a late three-year-old and doing it again. She is a multiple Group 1 and has been Group 1 placed.

"We will aim her at the Surround Stakes in three weeks then look at races like the Coolmore Classic and even the Legacy (Queen of the Turf ) Stakes as fillies have a good record against the mares at this time of the season.''

Michael Hawkes, co-trainer of Estijaab, said his filly "went super" following an interrupted preparation going into the Inglis Sprint after she lost her rider in a crucial barrier trial.

Glyn Schofield said Fiesta won comfortably in the end. Picture: Getty Images
Glyn Schofield said Fiesta won comfortably in the end. Picture: Getty Images

"You have to give credit to the winner, Fiesta is a very good filly,'' Hawkes said.

"But we have had our ups and downs the last 12 months so it was great to see Estijaab put up such a good fight.

"We didn't have the ideal preparation going into this but we were aware of her fitness levels and knew she was there to run a very good race.

"This was a test for her when you haven't raced for so long so we just want to see how she pulls up before planning her autumn campaign.''

News Corp Australia

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