TIMELY REPLACEMENT FOR LIGHTS OF HEAVEN

With her older Group One winning half sister Lights Of Heaven (Zabeel) retiring this week after a great career, two-year-old filly Spirit Of Heaven (Savabeel)
made a timely and impressive debut win at Sandown-Hillside yesterday.

Trained by Peter Moody, as her half sister was, Spirit Of Heaven was giving the leaders about five lengths before Luke Nolen managed to ease her into the clear at the 300m. The young filly then powered home, handling the heavy conditions well, to win the 2014 Blue Diamond Nominate Now Handicap (1000m), racing away by just over a length.

“We retired Lights of Heaven this week, so this is a fitting win,” trainer Peter Moody said.

Lights Of Heaven won the Australasian Oaks (Gr 1, 2000m) as a three-year-old and
claimed five other Group races, including the 2012 Brisbane Cup (Gr 2, 2400m) and was third to Dunaden (Nicobar) in last year’s Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m).

She raced 25 times for eight wins and seven placing for prize money of $1,575,488 and Moody labelled Lights Of Heaven as a “bloody good mare”.
“She would have been the flag-bearer for most stables, and certainly mine, if she didn’t have the likes of Black Caviar in the stable,” Moody added.

“Up to a mile-and-a-half she was very competitive in any race in the land.”

Lights Of Heaven won the A D Hollindale Stakes (Gr 2, 1800m) on 4 May and was retired after two fifth placings in the Doomben Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) and the Eagle Farm Cup (Gr 2, 2200m).

The siblings are out of the six-time winner I’m In Heaven (Volksraad),a sister to the Group Three winner Eloa. Their second dam, the stakes placed Cent From Heaven (Centaine), is a sister to the City Of Sails Trophy (Gr 2, 1600m) winner Perfect World and the dam of the New Zealand Champion Three-Year-Old and young sire Alamosa (O’Reilly).

The Sandown race today was a battle of the up and coming young fillies as Spirit Of Heaven defeated Samarmeteors (Northern Meteor), a half sister to last year’s Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner Samaready (More Than Ready).

The Mick Price-trained Samarmeteors was second on her debut at Caulfield on 20 April and then won a fillies’ handicap over 1000m at Sandown-Hillside on 8 May by a length and a quarter.

“It’s hard to take a line off today but regardless, she’s going to be a nice filly and she’s going to be better suited at a mile or a mile-and-a quarter,”said Moody.

Winning jockey Luke Nolen, who rode Lights Of Heaven in the majority of her races, said Spirit Of Heaven had always shown talent but surprised him by how well she performed on debut.

“She has shown nice ability at home but I think she just elevated herself a little bit in my view,” Nolen said.

Moody said the New Zealand-bred filly did a fantastic job over an unsuitable trip in her debut preparation.

“We educated her over there [New Zealand], spelled her and came here. This is her first prep off the plane,” Moody said.

“She’s gone all the way through, which is a big effort because a month ago we were thinking we’d probably trial her and put her out.

Repeated higher up “It’s hard to take a line off today, but regardless she’s going to be nice filly and she’s going to be better suited at a mile,a mile-and-a-quarter,” he added.

Source: ANZ Bloodstock News, 13.6.13

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