Apprentice Priscilla Schmidt has been rewarded for her work with Navelina by retaining the ride on the Queensland Oaks-bound filly in a non-claiming race at Eagle Farm.
Only two Queensland-trained fillies have won the Queensland Oaks in 40 years.
Schmidt rode Navelina at her most recent start when she was an impressive winner of an 1800-m race on January 4 at the Gold Coast.
In that race Navelina beat an all-star field of Queensland three-year-olds including Derby hopeful Rudy who returned to racing with a win at Doomben last Saturday.
Navelina resumes in the $75,000 Novotel Three Year Old Fillies Plate (1400m) on Saturday.
Schmidt intends to base herself at Port Macquarie during the winter carnival but has made a commitment to trainer Darren Bell to ride Navelina if required.
“I have told Priscilla it will be a ride-by-ride proposition. But provided everything goes along well I would happy to have her aboard in the Oaks and in Navelina’s lead-up races,” Bell said.
He said Navelina had blossomed during her let-up and had had one trial leading into Saturday’s race, finishing fifth at Deagon on March 20.
“She wasn’t knocked around in the trial but already showed us she is a bit dour,” Bell said.
“That will be the trick for us with her during the lead up to the Oaks.”
“We will definitely have her in the Doomben Roses two weeks before the Oaks but whether she also contests both the other traditional lead-ups (the Princess Stakes and Gold Coast Bracelet) we will have to see.”
Navelina, by Coolmore stallion Duke of Marmalade, cost $30,000 at the Magic Millions Sales and has already earned more than $100,000 prize money.
Trainer Rob Heathcote has also booked an apprentice, Anthony Allen, for another Oaks-bound filly, Sea Red, who resumes in the Plate.
“I know she looked disappointing in her two runs before a break but I think she is much better when she can get to the outside and run home,” Heathcote said.
“Her recent trial was solid and I was going to get Damian Browne to ride her but he is off to Sydney.
“Anthony is riding well and will do the job.”
Claim $300 in Bonus Bets when you deposit $250!*