IN Racing
Stakes mission accomplished for Charmmebaby
Five-year-old mare Charmmebaby came from last to land the Listed Brisbane Handicap at Doomben on Friday
NZ Racing Desk | December 12, 2021
Photo: Grant Peters

Five-year-old mare Charmmebaby came from last to land the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1640m) at Doomben on Friday evening to become the 12th individual stakes winner for her sire Charm Spirit.

Ridden by Taylor Marshall, the Kiwi-bred mare finished a quarter of a length ahead of the runner-up Niccanova with Kubrick two lengths behind the winner in third.

After being moderately into stride, Charmmebaby was detached from the remainder of the field early in the piece but gathered momentum early in the home straight and powered home to win in her first start for Lawrie Mayfield-Smith.

The mare had purposely been sent to Queensland to target the black-type race and will contest the Listed Bernborough Plate (1600m) back at Doomben on Boxing Day.

“The way she worked on Thursday, she raced accordingly. She just absolutely flew,” Mayfield-Smith said.

“We are having quite a bit of hot weather and humidity here, which can be the worst thing for fillies and mares – I have put most of mine out. But she just comes straight home and licks the tin out and she gets through it that quick.”

Charmmebaby is raced by the Milligan family from Taree and transferred from Bob Milligan’s care after winning the Taree Cup with northern black-type in mind.

Mayfield-Smith had previously been associated with Vicky Milligan, wife of Bob’s son Glen, who had been on loan to the Eagle Farm trainer as an apprentice.

“Her maiden name was Vicky Schubert and they’re just lovely people, typical country people – salt of the earth,” Mayfield-Smith said.

“We had that race the Brisbane Handicap which leads into the Bernborough, which will be hotter company than what we met.  But the way she did it and getting to know her, I’d say she should improve.”

Charmmebaby was tardily away from the barriers, which has been an issue at times in the past, and Marshall elected to ride the mare conservatively.

“Down the back straight I was a bit concerned that she couldn’t keep up, but Taylor said he could feel her under him that she was just dying to charge, and if he had of given her a squeeze she would have been over-racing in the middle stages where they slow up a bit,” Mayfield-Smith said.

“You just have to treat her with kid gloves.”

Although the scopey mare has won over 2000m, Mayfield-Smith said the intensity of a fast-run mile is preferable to a sedate staying test.

“I’d say I will likely have her until the Bernborough and then she will spell. Then they will set her for some of those Country Championships or one of those lucrative prize money races,” Mayfield-Smith said.

Charmmebaby was purchased out of Prima Park’s 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 3 Yearling Sale draft by bloodstock agent Robt Dawe in partnership with Brian Black for $18,000.

By Windsor Park Stud shuttle stallion Charm Spirit out of the Zabeel mare Lithe, Charmmebaby is a half-sister to the Listed New Zealand St Leger winner Vikja King (by Viking Ruler) and was bred by Donald and Meryn Hastie.

Initially prepared at Hawkesbury, the Milligans purchased the mare online for $14,000 after five starts.

She has now banked A$400,000 and has significant residual value as a broodmare. 

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