HANK Vanderburg was left pondering what might have been after Miss Splendamiro’s dominant victory over Victorian superstar Up Hill Jill in the Group 3 Evans & Son Jewellers Ladies Bracelet at Wentworth Park last Saturday night.
Just five weeks earlier at the same venue Miss Splendamiro started $2.90 favourite in the Group 1 Golden Easter Egg but the September ’15 daughter of Barcia Bale and Splendourous could only finish fifth to Up Hill Jill, beaten seven lengths.
“We got some consolation in the Bracelet but there’s a bit of a difference between $250,000 and $25,000!” Hank Vanderburg offered ruefully.
“Going into the Easter Egg Final everybody thought Miss Splendamiro would park behind Up Hill Jill and blow her away. But it didn’t happen.
“We’ve just got to forget about that one and move on.”
Up Hill Jill started $2.80 favourite from box two in the Ladies Bracelet, with 29.79 heat winner Miss Splendamiro the $3.50 second elect from box four, ahead of scorching 29.48 qualifier Ella Enchanted, a $3.80 chance from the five alley.
Up Hill Jill and Miss Splendamiro both came out running and Vanderburg was on very good terms with himself when Miss Splendamiro crossed her Easter Egg conqueror going into the first turn and then broke clear down the back.
Miss Splendamiro defeated Up Hill Jill by 3.75 lengths in a flying 29.58, the third fastest time recorded over 520m at Wentworth Park in 2018, while she also clocked the second quickest run of 29.55 one week before the Bracelet heats.
It was her sixth win from her last seven starts and 21st from 34 overall.
“She just keeps improving,” Vanderburg said.
“I trialled her at Richmond over 400m last Tuesday to give her a hit-out in between the heat and final and she ran 22.29, which on trial day is just unbelievable. I was just hoping that she hadn’t left her race on the trial track.
“I gave her a really good chance in the final. Box four is always a worry in any final – there’s no doubt about that – but when she jumped well and was in front going through the catching pen I was pretty happy with myself!
“She’s very strong and I would have been happy to sit behind Up Hill Jill.
“She definitely looks like a strong 600m bitch but while she’s going so well I’ll keep her sprinting. She’ll go down to Melbourne for the heats of the (Group 1) Sapphire on Thursday week (May 17). She’s going down on Thursday (today) to trial at Sandown.”
The Bracelet was a Group breakthrough for Miss Splendamiro at her fourth attempt after contesting the Easter Egg, Group 2 Richmond Oaks (third) and Group 2 Gosford Cup (sixth), while it was Vanderburg’s second Bracelet victory, having won the race with Oriana in 1997.
“Oriana was a brilliant bitch but Miss Splendamiro is definitely better,” Vanderburg explained.
“Oriana won 12 of her 22 starts. She won the $100,000 Dapto Classic and then won the Bracelet a couple of weeks later but then she broke down. She did a stopper bone and we mightn’t have seen the best of her.”
With Miss Splendamiro leading the way, Vanderburg is enjoying a wonderful run with the six greyhounds he has in work.
The astute Londonderry mentor has remarkably prepared ten winners from his last 12 starters, including last start first-up Wentworth Park winner Hot Platter, a July ’16 daughter of Barcia Bale and Heat The Plate that has won five of her seven starts.