Maiden metro success for well-bred apprentice hoop
A recent trip to New Zealand paved the way for Jordan Childs’ first city winner today at Sportingbet Park (Sandown).
The son of former star jockey Greg Childs teamed with the Mike Moroney-trained Surpass to score a runaway win in the $35,000 Slickpix Handicap (2100m).
It capped a successful run since returning from representing Australia in the Asian Young Guns Series in New Zealand on 17 August and Childs said he feels that excursion was a turning point in his career.
“Ever since I came back from New Zealand I’ve found that I’ve been riding with a lot more confidence,” he said.
“I think that really opened my eyes up and I’ve been riding pretty good since, riding a few winners.”
The Sandown success, which came at his 16th metropolitan ride, was Childs’ third since returning home and took to 43 his career tally.
The 17-year-old, who started riding in July last year, could not have hoped to break his metro duck in any better style, coasting home by 5-1/4 lengths in a race dominated by apprentice jockeys.
Victoria’s top apprentice from last season, Chad Schofield, finished second aboard Love of Liberty with white-hot youngster Patrick Moloney third on Mendivil.
“I was a bit panicky going out the straight, we wanted to be up a bit more forward but he wasn’t really keeping up, so we went to Plan B and it worked out really good,” Childs said.
Moroney was thrilled to play a part in Childs’ maiden city success given the family history. Greg Childs rode Mike Moroney’s first winner as a trainer and the Flemington trainer provided Childs Snr with his final ride in a race.
“Greg and I have always been good friends and we had a lot of success together so to give Jordan his first winner in town is terrific,” Moroney said.
“He’s riding terrific at the moment and he’ll get rid of that claim pretty quick I would think.”
Childs’ victory was the middle pin of a hat-trick of wins by apprentice riders, sandwiched between victories by Patrick Moloney and Harry Coffey.
Moloney assumed the outright lead in the Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership with his victory aboard This Moment – the in-form rider’s sixth city winner of the month.
Later, Harry Coffey engineered an upset result when he combined with the Darren Weir-trained $31 chance Champagne Esprit.
The full result of the three races won by apprentice riders, plus the day’s other events, areavailable here
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
Hot apprentice edges clear in jockeys’ premiership
Patrick Moloney’s blazing start to the 2013/14 season continued today with victory aboard This Moment at Sportingbet Park (Sandown).
The boom apprentice reclaimed the outright lead in the Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership with his win aboard the Brendan McShane-trained Tasmanian raider in the $35,000 MiStable Handicap (2100m).
It was Moloney’s sixth city winner for the season, edging him one win clear of Glen Boss, Vlad Duric and Nick Hall on the premiership table.
Moloney, 19, showed off his talent by getting her home hands-and-heels to go one better than last week’s second placing behind Desert Jeuney.
“They’ve got her flying back home in Tassie, she won three on the trot over there then she came over here and run a good second to a nice horse of Nigel Blackiston’s,” he said.
“Today she came up against a similar sort of field and she was too good for them.”
“I dropped the whip at the top of the straight, but she kept on finding.
The full result of the Slickpix Handicap is available via the link
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
Group 1 winning filly to carry 56.5kg in McNeil Stakes
Following an internal check of weights assigned to the nine entrants in the Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m, set weight with penalties) at Caulfield on Saturday by the Racing Victoria Handicapping Department, it has been determined the correct weight for Miracles Of Life, under the conditions of the race is 56.5kg, not 57kg as originally allocated.
Under the conditions of the race, the base weight for fillies is 54kg, with the winner of a race of the advertised value to the winner of $120,000 or more to carry 2.5kg, or two or more such races, 3kg.
Miracles Of Life, trained by South Australian Daniel Clarken, has won one race (the Group 1 Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Stakes, 1200m) where the value to the winner was $120,000 or more and therefore is only entitled to a penalty of 2.5kg.
Miracles of Life also won the Listed Patinack Farm Blue Diamond Preview (1000m) but the value to the winner in that race was $72,500 (total race prizemoney $120,500).
The assigned weight of Miracles Of Life is therefore 56.5kg.
Acceptances for the McNeil Stakes have been amended by RV and re-released. There was no change to TAB numbers.
Miracles Of Life will be ridden by regular jockey Lauren Stojakovic on Saturday when she makes her return to Victorian racing.
To view H.D.F. McNeil Stakes acceptances click here
- Racing Victoria
Promising jumper scores bonus feature success in Australian Hurdle
Robert Smerdon has known for some time that Westsouthwest was a quality jumper, he just thought he might have to wait until next season to celebrate feature success.
But the deferral of the $100,000 Australian Hurdle to today’s Sportingbet Park (Sandown) card proved a bonus for connections of the dual Group 1 placegetter.
He scored a fighting win over another promising hurdler, Montgomery, in the 3400-metre event that was rescheduled after the 1 June meeting at which it was originally programmed was washed out.
Westsouthwest did not make his jumps debut until six days after that, winning a maiden hurdle at Casterton, so Smerdon was happy to claim a “bonus” win.
“He didn’t come onto the scene until late,” Smerdon said. “It’s been a great bonus for him.”
The five-year-old gelding hinted that bigger wins were in store in future seasons with a fighting display.
The son of Darci Brahma looked to have a battle on his hands straightening when under hard riding from Tom Ryan and spotted Montgomery a few lengths, but a spectacular leap at the last obstacle springboarded him to victory.
Westsouthwest, the $2.45 second elect, scored by 1-1/4 lengths from $1.80 favourite Montgomery with Dubhdara ($11) 10 lengths away third.
It was a nice surprise for Smerdon given Montgomery defeated Westsouthwest by eight lengths on a heavy track at Sandown on 7 August. Only encouragement from Smerdon’s assistant trainer Stuart Webb ensured Westsouthwest would take his place.
“We think a lot of him going forward, but I didn’t think we could turn the tables on Montgomery even though he had circumstances in our favour,” Smerdon said. “We met him five-and-a-half (kilos) better and probably this (dead) ground suits us better.
“But he’s at the tail end of a long winter preparation and after his run last week I didn’t know whether we’d push on here.
“Stuey Webb convinced me to run him. He seemed good during the week, so we thought we’d take our chances. They’re a long time off after the season and thanks to that we’re here with the major end of the prize.”
Westsouthwest’s wins ensured Smerdon wrapt up the J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship trainers’ category in style.
The Caulfield horseman entered the meeting with an eight-point lead over Ciaron Maher and constructed an unassailable lead with the victory in the series that offers points on a 12-8-6-4-2 basis to the first five over the line in selected races.
The trainers’ section was the only category up for debate heading into the Sandown meeting with Bashboy already over the line in the horse category, while Steven Pateman was a runaway winner of the jockeys’ award.
Pateman was forced to watch the Australian Hurdle from the jockeys’ room after being unable to make Westsouthwest’s weight, but he did get to celebrate victory on a Smerdon-trained jumps winner at Sandown.
Earlier, Pateman rode Arch Fire to victory in the $35,000 Rookie Jumpers Series Final (3400m).
Like the Australian Hurdle, that race was fought out by a couple of horses who are expected to be major players in the 2014 J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship with Arch Fire scoring a one-length win over David Hayes-trained import Budai.
Full results of today’s races at Sportingbet Park are available via the link
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
An exceptional card of racing set to kick start the Spring Racing Carnival at Caulfield
The first two home in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup, an unbeaten star making her much anticipated return from injury, the Sydney three-year-old Triple Crown winner and six other Group 1 winners make up part of an outstanding field of 14 runners in Saturday’s Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Possible Spring Racing Carnival headline act Atlantic Jewel will have her first run for Mark Kavanagh since claiming the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in April 2012.
Drawn in barrier 8 for Michael Rodd, Atlantic Jewel is currently rated the $7.00 third favourite for the Sportingbet Cox Plate with TAB fixed odds, half a point behind $6.50 second favourite It’s A Dundeel and half a point in front of stable mate Super Cool ($8) who are both also set to resume in the Memsie.
A four-time Group 1 winner, including Sydney’s famous three-year-old Triple Crown last season, It’s A Dundeel has drawn the inside barrier on Saturday for James McDonald with Super Cool, who was last seen winning the Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington in March, coming up with barrier 12 for Glen Boss.
Other key runners include the 2012 Melbourne Cup quinella of Green Moon (barrier 10) and Fiorente (5), last year’s Memsie Stakes runner-up and Emirates Stakes victor Happy Trails (7), and Group 1 winners King Mufhasa (2), Luckygray (9), Silent Achiever (4) and Ferlax (3).
Another highlight on what is shaping as a splendid card of racing is the Group 3 H.D.F McNeil Stakes (1200m) for the three-year-olds which features nine runners headed by the return of Blue Diamond Stakes winner Miracles Of Life (barrier 8).
Last seen winning Victoria’s premier juvenile race at Caulfield in February, the Daniel Clarken-trained speedster will have to defeat a crack field should she wish to maintain her unbeaten record on Saturday, including the runner-up behind her in the Blue Diamond Stakes, the David Hayes-trained Fast ‘N’ Rocking (5).
Though he is still a maiden, the highly-talented son of Fastnet Rock showed he was right on track for his Spring target of the BECK Caulfield Guineas with an unlucky runner-up finish when first-up in the Vain Stakes (1100m) a fortnight ago.
Other key runners include Tony Vasil’s unbeaten current Caulfield Guineas equal-favourite Prince Harada (3), the talented Peter Moody-trained pair of Thermal Current (4) and Il Cavallo (9), as well as another three horses yet to taste defeat including Pyrrolic (7), Kiwi visitor Orion (6) and Za Moulin Rouge (2).
The Group 3 TheShark.com.au Stakes (1100m) features the clash of exciting sprinting mares Samaready (4) and Jolie Bay (10) who both make much anticipated returns from injury while an exceptional field of 16 plus four emergencies has been assembled for the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) including exciting imports Pakal (15), Kesampour (11), Motivado (9) and Araldo (20).
Click here to view all the fields, form, barriers for Memsie Stakes Day at Caulfield on Saturday
- Ben Asgari, Racing Victoria
Trainer Mick Price believes that classy imported stayer Pakal is good enough to qualify for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and is looking to take the handicappers prerogative out of the equation by winning a race that offers ballot exemption for the $2.5 million event.
Pakal stamped himself as a 2013 Spring Racing Carnival contender with an impressive six lengths victory in the Legacy 2013 Badge Appeal Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on August 17 but due to a lack of prizemoney, at this stage, would miss out on qualifying for the Caulfield Cup field.
Price’s original plan was to head towards the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), after the four-year-old gelding runs in the Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) at Caulfield this Saturday, but the leading trainer is now eyeing the Caulfield Cup ballot exemption on offer for the winners of the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 21 and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5.
“He’ll run in the Heatherlie on Saturday before we target the two ballot-free races, the Naturalism and the Turnbull,” Price told TVN.
“They would seem the two best options for him.
“If you want to get into the Caulfield Cup field the best way is to win one of those two races.”
The Lord Of England gelding will get the opportunity to prove that his debut Australian victory was no fluke when he takes on a tough field in the Slickpix Stakes (formely known as the Heatherlie Handicap) this weekend.
The German import is expected to be joined in the field by stablemate Bit Of Hell while the Robert Hickmott-trained Macedon Lodge team could have up to four runners with Seville, Tanby, Massiyn and Excluded all included in the initial nominations.
Peter Moody-trained French import Kesampour and European Group 1 placegetter Araldo will both make their Australian racing debuts in the Listed race that could be a key lead-up event for a number of staying races during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
It’s A Dundeel to comeback bigger and stronger in Saturday’s Memsie Stakes
Murray Baker believes It’s A Dundeel has made good physical progression ahead of the gun Kiwi galloper's first-up run in Saturday’s Group 1 New Zealand Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Last seen finishing runner-up behind Reliable Man in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick in April, that performance followed three successive Group 1 victories to complete the famous Sydney three-year-old Triple Crown (Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas, Australian Derby).
Following a gallop on the course proper at Flemington this morning, Baker said the son of High Chaparral was ready to go on Saturday and had really grown and strengthened during his break.
“He was never a weak looking horse but he’s grown and thickened up quite a bit,” Baker said
“I’m pretty happy with him but it would be hard to see him feature in a 1400-metre Group 1 weight-for-age race.
“He isn’t anymore wound up than when he ran in the Hobartville (1400m) in Sydney first up in the autumn, he’s only had the one jumpout and he’s quite fresh.
“He didn’t have the blinkers on first up last preparation but they went on at his next start in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) and they’ve stayed on and he’ll be racing in them on Saturday.
“We thought that we’d go for this race and then if anything went wrong in the next few days we’ve still got the Makybe Diva Stakes over 1600 metres next week.”
Following the Memsie, Baker said It’s A Dundeel would then run in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Septmber 21, the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at the same track on October 12, before lining in the Group 1 Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
It’s A Dundeel is currently rated the $6.50 second favourite for the Cox Plate with TAB fixed odds.
It’s A Dundeel won’t be Baker’s only runner at Caulfield on Saturday with the New Zealand trainer also set to unveil exciting three-year-old Orion in the Group 3 H.D.F McNeil Stakes (1200m).
A most impressive winner coming from last to win over 1200 metres on debut in New Zealand in March, the son of O’Reilly holds a nomination for the BECK Caulfield Guineas with Baker saying he was also considering a nomination for the AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m).
“He’s nominated for the Caulfield Guineas but one; he has got to be good enough and two; he’s got to build up enough money to get into the race,” he said.
“His grand-dam’s an Oaks winner, I would’ve thought he’s a miler but he’s a little bit like ‘Dundeel, he’s a very relaxed horse and hard to get a line on.”
Acceptances for Saturday’s Caulfield meeting, including both the Memsie and McNeil Stakes, close at 10am Wednesday.
Click here to view the list of weights and nominations for the Memsie Stakes or the rest of Saturday’s Caulfield program
Click here to view the full TAB BECK Caulfield Guineas market
Click here to view the full TAB Sportingbet Cox Plate market
- Ben Asgari, Racing Victoria
Promising stayer heads Danny O’Brien charge at Sportingbet Park
Danny O’Brien will saddle up a strong team of five runners at Sportingbet Park Sandown tomorrow, headed by Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) placegetter Castlzeberg in the $35,000 Guinot International Handicap (1600m).
A winner of the Group 2 Waikato Guineas (2000m) at Te Rapa in New Zealand in February, the four-year-old son finished last of 16 at his Australian debut in a 1800m three-year-old handicap at Caulfield in April.
However, according to O’Brien there were genuine excuses for that performance, with the Flemington-based trainer saying the son of Castledale had pulled up with a viral complaint which was now well behind him.
“We’re really happy with him; it’s his first full preparation since he has come over from New Zealand, he had a break down at Barwon Heads and did some pre-training work down there and he’s come back in really good shape as a four-year-old,” O’Brien said.
“He’s a lovely style of horse, he went right through to the New Zealand Derby in his first preparation so he’s obviously got plenty of ability and I’m looking forward to seeing him back at the races.
“It looks a good kick off point for a horse that will end up at 2400 metres, particularly now that the track has dried out.”
Set to be partnered by Craig Williams from barrier three, O’Brien said they would just take it one race at a time with Castlzeberg despite the horse holding a nomination for the BMW Caulfield Cup.
“There are no lofty ambitions for him at the moment; we’re just going to find out a little bit more about him each time we go to the races,” he said.
Castlzeberg is currently rated a $51 for the Caulfield Cup with TAB fixed odds.
Another interesting O’Brien-trained four-year-old set to resume at Sportingbet Park tomorrow is daughter of Keeper, Keep De Rose.
Last seen at the races nearly ten months ago winning over 1700 metres at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day, O’Brien said her preparation would be guided by how she went tomorrow.
“She’s had a good build up over the winter and she looks great,” he said.
“She just had a little setback when she was ready to go to the races in the autumn which meant we had to pull up and go to the paddock.
“She’s another horse that will end up in a lot longer races but she’s a nice mare now and I’m looking forward to kicking her off tomorrow.
Castlzeberg and Keep De Rose aside, O’Brien will also run two intriguing first-starters, Letsgetsideways and Prince Albert in the $25,000 TVN Plate (1300m), as well as impressive first-up winner Defiant Angel in the $35,000 Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1200m).
By Magic Albert, Prince Albert currently holds a nomination for the BECK Caulfield Guineas for which he is priced at $81 with TAB fixed odds.
Click here to view the full field, form and barriers for the Guinot International Handicap or the rest of tomorrow’s Sportingbet Park program
Click here to view the full TAB pre-post market for the BMW Caulfield Cup
Click here to view the full TAB pre-post market for the BECK Caulfield Guineas
- Ben Asgari, Racing Victoria
The J.J. Jumps Championships will be finalised tomorrow at Sandown
Westsouthwest will be racing for much more than Australian Hurdle honours when he steps out in the $100,000 event tomorrow at Sportingbet Park (Sandown).
The dual Group 1 placegetter has the job of wrapping up the trainer’s section of the J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship for Robert Smerdon.
That is the only category still up for grabs in the series that offers 12-8-6-4-2 in the 18 features spread across the jumps racing season.
Westsouthwest is the only runner in the final two legs of this year’s J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship – the other is the Australian Steeplechase, also run tomorrow – for Smerdon, who has accumulated 92 points. That is eight more than Ciaron Maher.
Maher is favoured to earn maximum points via Bashboy, who will chase an eighth-straight jumping victory in the $100,000 Australian Steeplechase (3900m).
A Bashboy victory would mean Westsouthwest needs a top-three finish in the 3400m event to secure outright victory for Smerdon. A fourth placing would mean Smerdon, the reigning title-holder, would share the award with 2010 winner Maher.
A Bashboy victory would be the exclamation mark on the two other awards for the winners.
Wins in the Mosstrooper, Thackeray, Crisp and Grand National Steeplechases has Bashboy on 48 points, 16 more than joint second placegetters Black And Bent, Gotta Take Care, Man of Class and Cats Fun.
Bashboy’s regular partner is Steven Pateman, who will score a commanding win in the jockeys’ award.
Pateman, who has won the past three J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship jockeys’ award, has 120 points to his name, 40 more than nearest rival Brad McLean.
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
The Melbourne Racing Club today announced that it will run five of its feature group one races as the final race at each respective meeting over the coming two months, beginning with Saturday’s New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes.
Already committed to staging the BECK Caulfield Guineas and BMW Caulfield Cup as the last race on October 12 and 19 respectively, the club will also run Saturday’s Memsie, as well as September 21’s Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes, and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes eight days later, as finale.
Melbourne Racing Club chief executive, Brodie Arnhold, explained the move as an endeavour by the club to evolve the race day experience as a true sporting event, as well as a commitment to stakeholders of both the club and racing generally.
“We believe that the race day experience, as a sporting and entertainment event, is heightened when it culminates with its feature aspect – in this instance, group one racing,” Mr Arnhold said.
“The club has a duty to our sponsors and our own racing product to provide maximum exposure. Running our features last enables us to capitalise on the increased free-to-air television audience courtesy of Channel Seven’s commitment to racing, the closer coincidence to Asian racing markets that it brings, and the decreased likelihood of clashes with other sporting events.
“It also looms as a positive move for punters. Despite a lack of definitive wagering data focusing on running the feature race last given its unique nature, patterns suggest a thirst for better racing later in the day.”
The New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes, to be run at group one level for the first time on Saturday, is set for contesting at 4.50pm AEST.
Beshara confident his Group 1 star Happy Trails can salute in Saturday's Group 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield
Nominations for Saturday’s Group 1 Memsie Stakes were only a few hours old but South Australian trainer Paul Beshara was happy to talk up the chances of his gun horse Happy Trails.
A winner of the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on the final day of Flemington’s Melbourne Cup Carnival last season, Happy Trails was runner-up behind Sincero in last year’s Memsie and Beshara is confident the six-year-old can go one better on Saturday.
The race will be run as a Group 1 for the first time with Mark Kavanagh’s unbeaten superstar Atlantic Jewel, Kiwi champ It’s A Dundeel and Emirates Melbourne Cup hero Green Moon among 11 individual Group 1 winners featured in today’s nominations.
“I think he’ll win it,” Beshara said.
“I wouldn’t be bringing him over if I didn’t think he could win it.
“Obviously there’s the rest of the field to contend with but I just feel that he can reel off good sectional times and get a decent draw he can go one better than last year.”
Beshara said Happy Trails had come through his first-up run in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville in great order despite receiving interference throughout the race.
“It wasn’t the smoothest run and I cried more than Lauren Stojakovic’s father during that race but he’s pulled up good and he’s eaten up,” Beshara said.
“He hit the line well, he didn’t have the best of luck but once he got clear he showed what he can do.”
In what will be one of the most powerful South Australian convoys to cross the border in recent years, Happy Trails will arrive in Melbourne on Friday morning with Daniel Clarken’s Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) entrant Miracles Of Life.
Gun apprentice jockey Chad Schofield has been booked to partner Happy Trails on Saturday with regular rider Damien Oliver to renew his association with the son of Good Journey when he returns from suspension.
“He leaves on Thursday night and he’s coming over side by side with Miracles Of Life,” Beshara said.
“Chad will ride him in the Memsie and he’s one of the best young jockeys in Australia because he’s hungry for winners so let’s hope this is his first Group 1.
“He’ll go to the Dato (Tan Chin Nam Stakes), then the Turnbull Stakes and then the Cox Plate.”
Full entries for the Group 1 Memsie Stakes as well as the remainder of Saturday’s Caulfield card are available here with acceptance and barriers to be finlaised at 10am on Wednesday.
- James Tzaferis, Racing Victoria
No less than 11 individual Group 1 winners among the nominations for the first Group 1 of the season at Caulfield on Saturday
Morning temperatures suggest Melbourne is still in the grips of winter but a look at the nominations for Saturday’s feature Caulfield meeting suggest the racing is heating up as the build-up to the Spring Carnival continues.
The first Group 1 of the season, the Memsie Stakes (1400m), has attracted no less than 11 individual Group 1 winners among the 18 nominations for the upgraded race.
As expected, Mark Kavanagh’s unbeaten star Atlantic Jewel is entered to make her long-awaited return to racing after 16 months on the sidelines and is joined in the nominations by Australian Cup-winning stablemate Super Cool.
The first two horses home in last year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup, Green Moon and Fiorente, have also been entered as has Sportingbet Cox Plate fancy It’s A Dundeel, Australian Guineas hero Ferlax and Paul Beshara’s Emirates Stakes-winning galloper Happy Trails.
Seville could make his first appearance since his runner-up finish behind Team Williams stablemate Green Moon in last year’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) while Kiwi pair King Mufhaha and Silent Achiever and the Peter Moody-trained duo of My Quest For Peace and Strawberry Boy could also feature in the $350,000 race on Saturday.
It may only carry Group 3 status but the $150,000 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) could be just as important in determining some of the feature races this spring with BECK Caulfield Guineas favourite Prince Harada and Blue Diamond-winning filly Miracles Of Life tipped to clash.
Unbeaten in two starts during the winter, the Tony Vasil-trained Prince Harada shares the top line of the TAB’s Guineas market at $6 with weekend Moonee Valley winner Cauthen while Daniel Clarken’s filly, who will renew her fairytale association with jockey Lauren Stojakovic on Saturday, is a $7.50 Schweppes Thousand Guineas third elect.
Another McNeil nomination sure to garner attention is Kiwi visitor Orion who was an impressive winner of his only start at Te Rapa in March for respected trainer Murray Baker.
David Hayes’ Fast ‘n’ Rocking, Peter Moody’s unbeaten Kiss A Rose and Mark Kavanagh’s Listed-winning filly Za Moulin Rouge are other horses of note among the 15 entries for the race.
Saturday’s other Group 3 race, the $135,000 The Heath 1100 (1100m), is also a must-watch for punters with the potential return of two exciting sprinting talents.
Mick Price’s 2012 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready hasn’t been seen since her unplaced effort in last year’s Listed Quezette Stakes (1100m) more than 12 months ago and could make her return on Saturday.
Untapped Team Hawkes-trained Jolie Bay, a winner of the Group 2 Roman Consul Stakes (1200m) at Randwick last spring before her runner-up effort behind Nechita in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) during the Emirates Melbourne Cup Carnival, could also return from a lengthy break.
The final black-type race on the card, the $120,000 Listed Slickpix Stakes (1700m) has attracted a bumper 31 nominations, headed by untested Moody import Kesampour, Hickmott-trained trio Excluded, Massiyn and Tanby, as well as impressive last-start Caulfield winner Pakal for Mick Price.
The full set of 208 entries for Saturday’s eight-race card is available here with acceptances to be finalised at 10am on Wednesday.
- James Tzaferis, Racing Victoria
Bashboy's appearance in the Australian Steeplechase the highlight of a massive meeting at Sportingbet Park on Wednesday
Bashboy will have five rivals to contend with when he attempts to stretch his unbeaten steeplechase streak to eight in Wednesday’s $100,000 Australian Steeplechase (3900m) at Sportingbet Park Sandown.
The Ciaron Maher-trained star has won all five starts over the jumps this year, including his last-start herculean effort when lugging 72.5kg in the Grand National Steeplechase (4500m), to follow on from his three jumps wins when returning from injury last year.
Asked to again defy a hefty 74.5kg impost with Steven Pateman in the saddle, the 10-year-old will meet Jarrod McLean’s J.J. Houlahan Hurdle hero Maythehorsebemagic and impressive last-start Morphettville winner Zaman in what his likely to be his final run this campaign.
Brett Scott’s Riviera Star, Pat Hyland’s Makena Lei and Backburn, a winner by 20 lengths at Coleraine earlier this month, complete the Steeplechase field.
The race is one of three jumping events on Wednesday’s card with the co-feature, the $100,000 Australian Hurdle (3400m), also attracting a quality line-up.
In-form trainer Darren Weir has accepted with weekend flat winner Gotta Take Care, who will be out to add to his victories in the Brendan Dreschler Hurdle (3200m) and Yalumba Classic Hurdle (3600m) this season.
Brett Scott’s South Australian Grand National Hurdle (3500m) winner Dubhdara, and emerging jumps talents Westsouthwest and Montgomery are also among the field of seven for the feature event, rescheduled to Wednesday after rain forced the abandonment of their original June timeslot.
The Australian Steeplechase and the Australian Hurdle are the final two legs of this year’s J.J. Houlahan Jumps Championship and while the horse and jockey titles have already been wrapped up by Bashboy and Steven Pateman respectively, the trainers’ award is still up for grabs.
Currently Robert Smerdon (92 points) leads Ciaron Maher (84) with each a chance to collect points on Wednesday. Smerdon is represented by Westsouthwest in the Hurdle while Bashboy flies the flag for Maher in the Steepelchase.
The quality of the remaining flat events on the 10-race card exceed their midweek status, with a number of horses beginning preparations potentially aimed at feature spring races.
The $25,000 TVN Plate (1300m) has attracted a full complement of three-year-olds, headlined by BECK Caulfield Guineas-nominated gallopers The Yowie for Lindsay Park, Kiwi raider Mossimo, One Inch Punch and Corstens-trained Word Of Mouth.
Peter Moody’s untapped Schweppes Thousand Guineas entrant Granados will join stablemates Heyday and Crime Fighter in the race.
The $35,000 Guinot International Handicap (1600m) will pit BMW Caulfield Cup nominees Castlzeberg, Wrotham Heights and Let’s Make A Deal against each other with each chasing a win to boost their rating and hopes of a Cup berth.
The full fields, form and draws for Wednesday’s bumper Sportingbet Park meeting is available here.
- James Tzaferis, Racing Victoria
Ciaron Maher has Bashboy going well into Wednesday's Australian Steeplechase
Trainer Ciaron Maher is confident his superstar jumper Bashboy can cap a perfect season over the fences when he tackles Wednesday’s $100,000 Australian Steeplechase (3900m) at Sportingbet Park Sandown.
The reigning Australian Jumper of the Year has won all four steeplechase starts this campaign but hasn’t been seen since his record-setting Grand National Steeplechase (4500m) victory last month.
Maher has been keeping the 10-year-olds fitness levels up to the mark for what is likely to be his final appearance of the jumps racing season and has been buoyed by his improving condition leading into Wednesday’s feature.
“He hasn’t missed a day of work and he’s getting his spring coat come out now so he’s looking really bright and well,” Maher said.
“It’s a month between runs so you’ve got to keep their fitness up, you can’t be going around half fit with that much weight so we’ve kept it up to him and he has handles it very well.
“He’s got a bit of weight to contend with and obviously coming back in distance you want him on the fresh side and he’s got a lot of residual fitness there.”
Bashboy set a metric weight carrying record when lugging 72.5kg to victory in the Grand National and has been asked to overcome a hefty 74.5kg in Wednesday’s race, where premier jumps jockey Steven Pateman will again take the ride.
While Maher has no doubts about Bashboy’s ability to contend with the big weight, the fact he is giving more than 10 kilograms to the rest of the field has the young horseman wary of his rivals.
Jarrod McLean could switch last start J.J. Houlahan Hurdle (3400m) winner Maythehorsebemagic to the bigger fences on Wednesday while impressive Adelaide winner Zaman and tough mare Xaar Best are also entered for the race.
“It’s not really a concern because I think he’ll carry the weight with no worries but it just means the race is more even,” Maher said.
“The hurdle winner Maythehorsebemagic is switching to the fences and in the past you’ve had to be wary of those horses, especially being in on the good weight.
“Zaman was obviously in impressive in Adelaide, against a weaker field but still very impressive so there are a couple of horses that can make the race interesting.”
The Australian Steeplechase is one of three jumps races being staged on Wednesday’s 10-race card, with the $100,000 Australian Hurdle and the $35,000 Rookie Jumpers Series Final (3400m) also being run.
Yesterday’s Moonee Valley winner Gotta Take Care (69kg) heads the Australian Hurdle weights for Darren Weir with dual entrant Maythehorsebemagic (65kg), South Australian Grand National Hurdle winner Dubhdara (64kg) and emerging Alderson hurdler Montgomery (64kg) also among the entries.
Weights for Wednesday’s Sportingbet Park meeting are available here with acceptances due to be taken at 9am tomorrow.
- James Tzaferis, Racing Victoria
Caulfield Guineas co-favourite to take part in Sandown jumpout
Boom colt Prince Harada will tune up for his return to racing next Saturday with a Sportingbet Park (Sandown) jumpout this Tuesday.
The Melbourne Racing Club normally conduct jumpouts at Caulfield each Tuesday, but they will be run at Sandown this week and Vasil is keen for his star charge to be a part of them.
Vasil is heading there not because he thinks Prince Harada needs a solid workout, rather that he is keen to get some barrier practice with the son of Haradasun, who has won his only two starts.
“He doesn’t even really need to have a trial, but both (jockey) Steve Arnold and I feel it would be advantageous to pop him out the gates again given that he missed the kick here (at Moonee Valley) at his last start and he was only fairly away at Ballarat,” Vasil said.
“Just the exercise of taking him out there (will help). He doesn’t have to win a trial, he just has to go around.”
Prince Harada will resume in the $150,000 Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) and Vasil said he had done well in the let-up since his brilliant Moonee Valley on 15 June.
“If anything he’s more focussed, I think,” Vasil said. “The two runs and the breather have done his mentality very good. His whole demeanour is good.”
Prince Harada now shares the $6 top line with impressive McKenzie Stakes winner Cauthen in BECK Caulfield Guineas betting with the TAB.
Vasil made his own trip to the Moonee Valley winner’s stall today thanks to a dashing display by Elite Elle.
The consistent four-year-old registered the seventh win of her 16-start career with a commanding two-length win over Sensational Report in the $80,000 Dr Sheahan Plate.
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
Star Kiwi confirms Caulfield Guineas aspirations in Valley feature
Andrew Campbell doesn’t look like the sort of guy that will ever be relaxed in the lead-up to the BECK Caulfield Guineas, but he is breathing easier after today’s $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The Kiwi trainer’s stable star Cauthen not only assured his place in the Guineas, but shot to the top of betting charts for the $1 million event on 12 October, with a brilliant victory in the 1200-metre event.
The victory atoned for an unlucky first-up defeat at Moonee Valley on 3 August and took his earnings to more than $90,000, which was a relief to the trainer who admits to being a bundle of nerves before each race.
“We’re under a lot of pressure to get him to the Guineas, with his prizemoney, and that’s going to help us a long way now,” Campbell said. “It’s brilliant.
“That’s why he came over for the 1000-metre race three weeks ago, just to try and get in there without having to pressure-cooker him towards the end.”
Like at his Australian debut, when a mid-race check cost him victory, Cauthen unleashed an impressive burst in the short Moonee Valley straight.
He gobbled up leader Clevadude, who was his conqueror earlier in the month, at the top of the straight and swiftly put the race beyond doubt.
The $2.60 favourite was looked after by jockey James McDonald late and had 1-1/2 lengths to spare over Shamus Award ($5.50), who had trouble getting a run until well into the straight. The previously unbeaten Long John ($6) hit the line well for third, three-quarters-of-a-length back.
McDonald was taken by the performance and suggested the son of Darci Brahma will be better as the races get longer.
“He got into a lovely rhythm today,” he said. “Probably that 1000-metre race really took the sharpness out of him. He felt quite dour today and he’s probably looking for that 14 (hundred metres) to a mile.
“As soon as he straightened up he changed leg and he just powered home, he’s a good colt.”
Cauthen will next be seen at Flemington on 7 September for the Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes before taking in the $175,000 Group 3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude on Sunday 29 September.
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
Gun filly charges to Thousand Guineas favouritism after Valley victory
Chad Schofield had been itching to get aboard Gregers and today the star filly emphasised why, trouncing her rivals in the $80,000 Mitchelton Wines Plate (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
It was the first time apprentice jockey Schofield, stable rider for Gregers’ trainer David Hayes, has ridden the three-year-old in a race.
Claiming apprentice Kayla Nisbet was aboard when she resumed with a dominant win at the Valley on 3 August, while Dwayne Dunn rode her at her only two runs in her debut preparation, during the Melbourne Festival of Racing.
Schofield has done plenty of work aboard the daughter of Commands at Hayes’ Euroa base and was not surprised that she was able to amble to a 1-3/4-length win over well-performed Mick Kent-trained filly The Huntress.
“She gave me a great feel,” Schofield said. “She did it very easily. She had a big look down the straight, so she did it very comfortably.
“The horse of Mick Kent’s has a big wrap on it too and for her to smash them like that was very positive and good to see.”
Gregers replaced dual Group 1 winner Guelph at the head of the TAB’s Schweppes Thousand Guineas, at $5, with her dominant victory.
While a barnstorming finish was the feature of her first-up success, which came over 1000m, the $1.35 favourite demonstrated her versatility with her all-the-way success.
“With the bigger races in mind, I would have liked to get cover but she just jumped so well and had too much speed, so I just let her slide across,” Schofield said.
“She had her ears pricked through the race and he has a big look down the straight, so that means she’s done it really easily.
“She’s a very nice filly. She’s doing everything right at the moment and let’s hope she can go forward and contest those big races.”
Schofield, Victoria’s premier apprentice last season, is yet to win a Group race and Hayes said he is likely to get that chance at Flemington on 7 September with the $220,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) her next probable start.
“If she eats up we’ll go towards the Danehill and then back against the fillies in the (Guineas) Prelude and then into the Guineas if all goes well,” Hayes said.
“That can be variable, but we’re well ahead of schedule at the moment. She’s had two lovely introductions to racing this year and hopefully she just gets better as the campaign goes on.”
The Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude is at Caulfield on 21 September with the $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas at the same track on 16 October.
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria
BMW Caulfield Cup entries Now We Can and Very Nice Name head line-up for Group 2 contest in France
With potential Spring Racing Carnival raiders lining up in four meetings across three countries in Europe this weekend, there’s a good chance a leading Cups contender could emerge.
While much of the focus will be around York’s famous Ebor Festival, two well credentialed stayers will be out to boost their chances of a trip to Melbourne in one of France’s feature staying events.
Sunday’s Group 2 Grand Prix de Deauville (2500m) has attracted a classy field of 12 runners, headed by BMW Caulfield Cup entrants Now We Can and Very Nice Name.
Owned by Hong Kong Jockey Club CEO Winfried Englebrecht-Bresges, Now We Can has won five of his six career starts, including an impressive victory in the Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly (2400m) last start.
That 2 June victory, over the likes of Haya Landa, OTI Racing’s Only A Pleasure and Group 1 winner Saonois, qualified Now We Can for the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), a race he is now likely to be entered for when nominations close on 3 September.
Campaigned exclusively in his native France, trainer Nicolas Clement has openly stated a desire to win the world’s richest handicap and has suggested the five-year-old could be the horse to do it.
Very Nice Name, a stayer with vastly different formlines to Now We Can, also tackles the Deauville feature for trainer Alban De Mieulle.
The five-year-old is already a three-time Group 1 winner, having collected the Qatar Derby (2000m), Heir Apparent Trophy (2200m) and the Emirates Trophy (2400m) in Qatar last season.
The French-bred son of Whipper was a credible third behind superstars St Nicholas Abbey and 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden in Dubai’s Group 1 Sheema Classic (2400m) in March before being well held when unplaced behind Novellist in the Group 1 King George VI Stakes (2400m) at Ascot last start.
Racing Victoria’s International Recruitment Officer, Leigh Jordon, said the Grand Prix De Deauville had proved a solid spring form race in recent years and is hoping it can continue on the weekend.
“The race has definitely become more significant in the last few years, particularly with the performances of Masterstroke and (Geelong Cup winner) Gatewood who were the first two home last year,” Jordon said.
“Both Now We Can and Very Nice Name are exciting horses and connections of both have given an indication that they are keen to come to Melbourne.
“I’ll be very keen to see their performances on Sunday because they are a great chance to tackle either the Caulfield Cup, Melbourne Cup or both.”
Cirrus Des Aigles, a winner of the race in 2011, shares the equal 60kg topweight with Now We Can and is still searching for his maiden win of the season despite encouraging runs at his three most recent appearances.
Lady Cecil’s untapped First Mohican, Alain De Royer Duper’s Lago Minto and Godolphin three-year-old Penglai Pavilion are among the other runners of note in the race set down for 11:40pm (AET) on Sunday night.
- James Tzaferis, Racing Victoria
Racing Victoria and Melbourne Racing Club launch marketing partnership for 2013 Spring Racing Carnival
Racing Victoria (RV) and Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) have today announced a marketing partnership for the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and 2014 Melbourne Festival of Racing.
The partnership will see RV and MRC combine forces with a joint campaign to promote and encourage greater participation in thoroughbred racing’s peak periods.
RV has historically marketed the Spring Racing Carnival and Melbourne Festival of Racing brands, whilst the metropolitan race clubs, including MRC, have undertaken separate campaigns promoting their key racedays within.
The joint RV and MRC campaign is an important trial as the industry seeks marketing initiatives to foster new and renewed engagement with the sport.
The partners launch their Spring Racing Carnival campaign today which takes a bold new approach designed to rouse Victorians from their weekend activities and urge them to ‘Get Back on Track’.
Stage one is today’s launch of www.springracingcarnival.com.au, which will be followed over the next week by an extensive advertising campaign that will encompass traditional and new media.
RV Executive General Manager – Strategy and Development, Andrew Catterall, welcomed the collaboration and applauded the MRC for its willingness to engage in the joint approach.
“Together with the Melbourne Racing Club we’ve developed a fresh and playful approach to encourage Victorians to 'Get Back on Track' and enjoy this iconic and unrivalled period on Australia’s sporting, social and fashion calendar,” Catterall said.
“The partnership gives us the opportunity to challenge the status quo of racing marketing and by pooling resources across creative development, media agencies and media buying, we can achieve a better outcome for the industry.
“Partnering with the Melbourne Racing Club also makes sense as the world class Spring Racing Carnival kicks off with Caulfield’s Carnival Preview Day on 21 September.
“When the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival reaches its crescendo on Saturday, 19 October with the running of the Cup, we want more people talking about racing, more people enjoying themselves on the lawn at Caulfield and more people placing a bet on their favourite horse.
“We envisage the momentum built through the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival joint marketing approach, will also help drive interest in the Sportingbet Cox Plate Carnival and Emirates Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“We look forward to a successful partnership with Melbourne Racing Club and our newly appointed agency BWM and to delivering another wonderful Spring Racing Carnival for Victorians and the many thousands of out-of-state visitors to enjoy.”
MRC Chief Executive, Brodie Arnhold, commended the joint venture, describing it as an indication of the Club’s vision of a united racing industry and its associated advantages.
“Embarking on partnerships and merging resources like this is something we believe should be more common in racing to help ensure its ongoing prosperity,” Arnhold said.
“Ultimately, all parties in racing share the goal of growing the sport, which can at times be waylaid by vested interests, which is unfortunate when consistency of messaging would provide all manner of across-the-board benefits.
“Accordingly, we applaud Racing Victoria for recognising the advantage of combining forces, and we would encourage as many organisations as possible within the industry to follow suit. We’re really excited to be working with Racing Victoria both as we approach the Spring Racing Carnival and throughout it.
“Our Club has the unique responsibility of opening the Spring Racing Carnival, and we look very much forward to collaborating with Racing Victoria on setting the scene for the spring via the BMW Caulfield Cup Carnival and pursuing our mantra of getting people back to the track.”
Following a competitive pitch, RV and MRC appointed Belgiovane Williams Mackay (BWM) as its creative agency for its 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and 2014 Melbourne Festival of Racing campaigns.
Carl Ratcliff, Managing Director of BWM Melbourne, said Victoria is the premier State for world class horse racing events and that BWM were excited to play a key role in marketing it.
“Racing Victoria and the Melbourne Racing Club are long established organisations and we're looking forward to working to bring fresh new ideas to the loved Australian sport of thoroughbred racing,” Ratcliff said.
“We're looking to create a real partnership as we take the brand into uncharted territory to achieve new things and get more Australians talking about horse racing.
“Victorians should keep watch over coming weeks for surprise elements of the campaign as we work to encourage the State to better use their hard-earned leisure time and ‘Get Back on Track’.”
The Spring Racing Carnival commences on Carnival Preview Day, Saturday, 21 September 2013 at Caulfield and continues through to the Ballarat Cup meeting on Sunday, 24 November 2013.
For all your Spring Racing Carnival needs, including events calendar, horse, jockey and trainer profiles, fields and form, raceday information, ticket purchases and the need-to-know fashion information, visit the newly launched www.springracingcarnival.com.au.
- Racing Victoria
Boom Kiwi colt hoping for better luck at Valley second time around
You know it’s been a cold winter when a New Zealander is complaining about the weather.
Andrew Campbell is in Victoria with classy colt Cauthen, who continues his BECK Caulfield Guineas quest at Moonee Valley tomorrow, and while he loves being a part of the Victorian racing scene he didn’t know what he was getting himself in for with the weather.
“It’s awesome being here, you live for being a part of this sort of racing,” he said. “I just wish the weather was a bit better.”
The good news for the trainer from Opaki, on New Zealand’s North Island, is that temperatures will soon rise and so too will the action on the track.
Cauthen indicated at his Australian debut, at Moonee Valley on 3 August, that he will be one of the major players when the three-year-old features are being run.
Interfered with midway through a 1000-metre event, the son of Darci Brahma picked himself late to charge into second placing – beaten just a length – behind Clevadude.
He will look to go one better when he renews hostilities with Clevadude and meets the likes of unbeaten gallopers Long John, Charles In Charge and Pyrrolic in the $120,000 Listed Essendon Nissan McKenzie Stakes that is the feature of the eight-event Moonee Valley program.
Campbell said Cauthen had taken no harm from that first-up disappointment and an impressive piece of work at Peter Morgan’s Whittlesea property this morning had him primed for the 1200-metre event.
“I’m really happy with the horse,” Campbell said. “He galloped well on Tuesday and this morning went really well.
“He’s on target. This is his biggest test to date, I just hope he front ups. But he’s happy, his bloods are perfect and he’s fit. There’ll be no excuses from our end.”
Providing he acquits himself well, Campbell said the plan was to progress to the $120,000 Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on 7 September before tackling the $175,000 Group 3 BECK Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) on 29 September.
The $1 million BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) will be run 13 days later.
Cauthen, who has drawn barrier four, is the TAB’s $2.60 favourite for the McKenzie Stakes with Long John ($4, barrier nine), Clevadude ($6.50, six) and Pyrrolic ($7, two) considered the biggest threats.
The Moonee Valley meeting could also prove a good guide to Caulfield’s other Group 1 Guineas – the $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas – with some impressive fillies to go around in the Mitchelton Wines Plate that launches the program.
Last year’s running of the 1200m event was won by Commanding Jewel, who went on to win the Thousand Guineas, and one of the leading contenders for this year’s Guineas is engaged in the 1200m event.
David Hayes-trained Gregers will be out to make it two Moonee Valley wins in a row following a sensational first-up success on 3 August.
The filly who occupies the $6.50 second line in TAB’s Thousand Guineas market is a $1.60 favourite to do so despite the presence of promising Peter Moody-trained filly Pindan Pearl and Mick Kent’s classy performer The Huntress.
Commanding Jewel returns to the meeting for a second year with the Leon Corstens-trained four-year-old to launch a campaign that could include the Sportingbet Cox Plate in the $120,000 Listed 1print.com.au Carlyon Stakes (1000m).
Full fields for all races on the Moonee Valley card are available via the link
- Brad Bishop, Racing Victoria