Jason Collett had a day to remember at Eagle Farm, finishing the Group 1 program with a race-to-race double.
After guiding home Startantes to a brilliant win in the Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m), the Sydney-based hoop backed it up in the last to guide Juan Diva home to a well-deserved victory in the Group 3 Healy Stakes (1200m).
The five-year-old mare by Snitzel had been racing well without winning in mares’ grade throughout the Brisbane Winter Carnival, but she was able to beat the boys in Saturday’s $175,000 race, earning some valuable black-type for the first time in her career.
2022 W.J. Healy Stakes Replay
Trained by Richard & Will Freedman, Juan Diva was able to run down fellow Sydneysiders, Prime Candidate (2nd) and Ranges (3rd).
“I had a wide trip and it was a very good effort by her,” Collett said.
“I had to start asking her to improve before the 600 and I thought this won’t end well.
“She actually came up under me. Brian and Richard (and Will) had her in really good order and I was able to wait until she got into the straight and ask her to improve again. Very good.”
Originally, Juan Diva was set to race last Saturday in the Listed Gai Waterhouse Classic (1200m) at Ipswich, but with the track downgrade throughout the afternoon, the stable opted to scratch her and save her for this race – a stroke of genius, hindsight tells us.
Stable representative Brian Smith said it was a “proud” moment to win a Group 3 for terrific supporters of the stable, Trelawney Stud.
“She was meant to run at Ipswich last week but they had the guts to pull her out when the track was so bad,” he said.
“That takes a lot of doing but they got their reward today.
“The thing that is so great, Trelawney Stud, they own her in New Zealand and they’re great friends of mine and they Freedman boys. I’ve got to thank them for trusting me with these horses.
“I’m very proud to be able to win one for them today.”
Juan Diva saluted at the healthy odds of $11 with Australian betting sites.