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Aquanita's runners for Thursday
Price keen to sparkle on Diamond Day

Equine Welfare prgoram expanded

Racing NSW Handicappers now hard at work

Aquanita’s Glamour girl escapes serious injury in Benalla race fall

Imports chasing another Cup
Snitz off Newmarket menu
Sol filly in Guineas race
Quake draw shakes up Diamond

Blue Diamond Stakes Gerald Ryan on Rubick

Amazing total of 1207 Nominations for The Championships


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Following the best run of this preparation, Bernadi steps out at Bendigo for Robert Smerdon on Thursday.

In that effort at Geelong he was in the field but made the move around them and challenged to finish second after being very well backed.

This time again he steps up in distance to a mile and a half. He did finish not too far away over that distance at Caulfield back in July coming from last on the turn.

There are a lot of horses in this with very similar ratings so it should be an even contest.

Simon Miller has four entered for the Bunbury races on Thursday and some interesting three year olds are amongst them.

It kicks off in Race 2 where Make Your Own debuts over 1200m. This is one of those younger horses by Bradbury’s Luck out of a Woodman mare.

He has had three trials in his career, placed in all of them but one recently at Lark Hill to be ready for this. Drawn out a touch, there will need to be a little luck early. Perhaps he is well named.

The following event sees Castle Keep return to the track. She is by Oratorio and began her career back in September when not far away at Belmont.

There were genuine excuses that day during the run over the 1000m and yet she still tried hard. Being the relation to Lords Ransom you’d expect she will be strong late.

They should run along here and as such that will help her cause although from this gate, she may not be that far back.

Oldest of the runners for Simon is the four year old Livorno Express and that mare has been very close now in two runs for the stable.

She laid out a touch at Ascot and only got beaten a head over 1100m. This is slightly further and she gets back so the barrier isn’t so critical.

It may not be overly quick so she will need to unleash a fast final furlong to score but she is racing well.

Harmony Queen is the last of them and she led all the way on her debut at Belmont in July. A good run was expected but you still have to do the job.

She was a little way back in her trial at Lark Hill but from this gate, she can race anywhere Ryan Hill wants to put her.

Taking on the older horses is not so hard from now on in a season so expecting her to measure up.

Price keen to sparkle on Diamond Day

Brad Bishop | Wed, 19 Feb 2014

Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes Day, which will be run at Caulfield this Saturday, has provided Mick Price with some of the extreme emotions of his decorated training career.

Twice it has provided the Caulfield horseman with what, at the time, was his biggest victory.

Samaready _Blue Diamond 500

He celebrated his maiden Group 1 success when Rustic Dream won the 1999 Futurity Stakes, on same day that Redoute’s Choice won an unforgettable Blue Diamond, and four years later his profile reached a new level when Roedean ‘won’ the day’s signature event.

That victory was only fleeting, however, with Roedean subsequently disqualified after testing positive to traces of a banned substance, albeit miniscule, meaning ensuing Blue Diamond meetings couldn’t help but bring back bad memories.

Until two years ago that is, when Price emphatically won Victoria’s premier race for two-year-olds with Samaready.

The good now clearly outweighs the bad on what is Victoria’s only triple Group 1 raceday outside the Spring Racing Carnival and Price is again excited about being a part of his home track’s biggest day of Victorian racing’s “other” carnival.

“If you’re a Flemington trainer you love the big races at Flemington, but if you’re a Caulfield trainer you love the big races at Caulfield, there’s no doubt about that,” Price said.

“It’s a massive day for Caulfield trainers, the track and the club. It’s a very innovative club and the Blue Diamond is a great race, it’s a very prestigious two-year-old race and I’d love to win another one.”

He has two runners in Saturday’s $1 million event with Jabali and Cornrow his hopes of a second win in the race. Both are maidens, but ran well in the Blue Diamond Prelude two weeks ago, which convinced Price to take on star pair Rubick and Earthquake.

“I’ve always thought that at the end of 1200 (metres) both my colts will be strong,” Price said. “They’re both wind-up horses and they’ll be strong at the finish.

“I’m looking forward to the race. I know we’re more or less on the second row of the picks, but who cares, we go in positive.”

Price is much more bullish about his chances in the Diamond Day Group 1 that he is yet to win, the $400,000 Sportingbet Oakleigh Plate (1100m), with Lankan Rupee (pictured) to a start a short-priced favourite in Caulfield’s premier sprint race.

Lakan Rupee (C Newitt )_GAZ_1583 505x 300

The four-year-old is shooting for four wins on end and Price would love for the gelding to elevate himself to the top tier of sprinters on a day that already has special meaning to the stable.

“I haven’t had a lot of runners in the Oakleigh Plate,” Price said. “It’s certainly not a pushover for Lankan Rupee but I think I’ve got the right horse going into the right race at the right time.

“I’m confident he’s good enough. I think eventually he is going to be a Group 1 horse, hopefully he can be a Group 1 horse on Saturday.”

Price is not represented in this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m), which is headlined by Orr Stakes winner Moment of Change, but has Pakal engaged in the Group 2 event that many racing fans look forward to more than some of the Group 1s.

The Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) is a traditional lead-up to next month’s $1 million Darley Australian Cup (2000m) and this year features the past two Melbourne Cup winners, Green Moon and Fiorente.

If Pakal can upstage the big guns he will give Price three wins in the race following earlier wins to Pompeii Ruler (2007) and Heart of Dreams (2011).

There are two other Group 2s on the card, the $220,000 Polytrack Angus Armanasco Stakes (1400m) – which Price won with La Bella Dame in 2003 – and while he is not represented in that race he has Countersnip in the $220,000 BMW Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m), which he is yet to win.

The other Black Type events on the day, which charges just $20 for admission, are the $135,000 Group 3 Sportingbet Zeditave Stakes (1200m), in which Price will saddle leading hope Lion of Belfort, and the $150,000 Group 3 Premier Signs Mannerism Stakes (1400m) that rounds out the program at 6.20pm.

The nine-race Blue Diamond Stakes Day card commences at 1.40pm with the running of the $100,000 Perri Cutten Handicap (1400m).

Wednesday, 19 February, 2014 Equine Welfare prgoram expanded

Racing Victoria (RV) has expanded its equine welfare program with the announcement that pre-race veterinary inspections will be conducted on all runners in Saturday’s Group 1 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.

The compulsory inspections will be undertaken this Friday, 21 February on the eve of the $1 million race – Victoria’s richest and most prestigious event for two-year-old thoroughbreds.

The examination of two-year-olds expands on the pre-race veterinary inspections already conducted by RV on all Emirates Melbourne Cup runners, as well as on each horse engaged in a Victorian jumps race.

The inspection of Blue Diamond runners will be performed by a panel of RV veterinarians, led by RV’s Head of Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services, Dr Brian Stewart, to ensure, as far as is possible, that all horses participating are in a suitable condition to do so.

“While trainers and their veterinarians are responsible for presenting their horses to race in a suitable condition, and generally do an excellent job of doing so, the fact that two-year-old horses are still maturing means we are taking additional steps to ensure the safety and welfare of these young athletes is best protected,” Dr Stewart said.

“Racing and Wagering Western Australia implemented inspections on two-year-olds a number of years ago with good success and acceptance by the industry and we are pleased to now be conducting these checks in Victoria.

“While there are concerns about racing two-year-olds in some circles, the scientific evidence shows that when the training and racing of young horses is managed carefully – and with regard to the physiological adaption of the musculoskeletal system – early training and racing is actually beneficial for the horse’s future racing durability.”

Dr Stewart noted that Victorian racing is structured to be sympathetic to young horses, with no two-year-old races programmed before 1 October each season and no more than 20 two-year-old races conducted in the first three months of the season (1 October – 31 December). Race distances are also capped, with no two-year-old event in Victoria programmed over further than 1600m.

“There is strong evidence that appropriate fast speed exercise in a two-year old horse can improve bone density, increase hyaline cartilage thickness and increase resistance to later tendon injury,” Dr Stewart said. “Studies have also shown that horses which race as two-year-olds have a longer career than those starting at later ages.”

Wednesday 19th February 2014 Racing NSW Handicappers now hard at work

A remarkable 1222 nominations for the 10 The Championships races at Royal Randwick have now been finalised, setting an exciting challenge for Racing NSW's Handicapping Panel with less than two weeks to the release of weights.
Two events in particular – the $3million The Star Doncaster Mile over 1600m and the $1m Schweppes Sydney Cup over 3200m – require hours of painstaking form study to present a fair and equitable list for the combined 234 nominees. Senior handicappers Damien Hay, who will oversee the The Star Doncaster Mile weights and Ben Dunn, who will supervise the Schweppes Sydney Cup weights, have an even harder job this year after nominations closed early. "We had done some preliminary work on the major contenders before the closing of nominations," Hay explained. "We work from the top down and start comparing ratings figures and also go right through the history of the race. "In the Doncaster, weighting the three-year-olds can be tricky. It's much about their previous form in other major races." Hay said this year's The Star Doncaster Mile nominations are some of the best he has seen: "Our team is really looking forward to weighting these horses. You have It's a Dundeel, Boban and Shamus Award, as well as the top three-year-old colt and filly, Zoustar and Guelph. "You can then throw into the mix the overseas gallopers, Gordon Lord Byron (Ire) and Hana's Goal (Jpn). Gordon Lord Byron has serious form overseas and has performed well on the world stage in Hong Kong. Hana's Goal is a high-class mare although on our early assessment she would have to be weighted behind our top mares like Appearance, Red Tracer and Streama. "And what about the Sydney Cup – we have the last two Melbourne Cup winners nominated in Fiorente and Green Moon. It augurs well for a great The Championships." For all ticketing and hospitality options go to and information on The Championships and nominations / form can be found at

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

The fall on the home turn looked tragic with the horse deceased and rider lying motionless on the track together. It was thought Casey had broken her arm but xrays showed two broken bones in her Robert Smerdons number 1 track rider Casey Bruce is bruised and battered from a sickening fall at Benalla recently that has left her with a broken wrist, The fall on the home turn looked tragic with the horse deceased and rider lying motionless on the track together. It was thought Casey had broken her arm but xrays showed two broken bones in her wrist, later examination also revealed broken ribs to add to the pain. Regarded as a heavyweight rider Casey had just retired from the Tasmanian circuit a few days earlier after some 70 winners and leading rider for 5 seasons. Her biggest challenge at Aquanita apart from normal track-work was re-educating and training many of the wayward horses and was responsible for the education of many of the Smerdon teams top jumpers prior to Steve Pateman joining the team, whilst her injury is likely to keep her out of the saddle for 6 to 8 weeks she will continue her role as Race day M.C and fashion on the field host at many of the feature race meetings in Victoria with the help of a bit of make up to hide the bruises. An accomplished horsewoman trained at level 1 Grand Prix dressage Casey also commentates with her Dad at Royal Shows around the nation and the former Champion lady rider has become an integral part of the Royal Melbourne Shows coveted Garryowen Equestrienne event for woman as both interviewer and commentator.wrist, later examination also revealed broken ribs to add to the pain. Regarded as a heavyweight rider Casey had just retired from the Tasmanian circuit a few days earlier after some 70 winners and leading rider for 5 seasons. Her biggest challenge at Aquanita apart from normal track-work was re-educating and training many of the wayward horses and was responsible for the education of many of the Smerdon teams top jumpers prior to Steve Pateman joining the team, whilst her injury is likely to keep her out of the saddle for 6 to 8 weeks she will continue her role as Race day M.C and fashion on the field host at many of the feature race meetings in Victoria with the help of a bit of make up to hide the bruises. An accomplished horsewoman trained at level 1 Grand Prix dressage Casey also commentates with her Dad at Royal Shows around the nation and the former Champion lady rider has become an integral part of the Royal Melbourne Shows coveted Garryowen Equestrienne event for woman as both interviewer and commentator. Lets hope it’s not to long before we see her back in the saddle and also wearing the Aquanita Blue.

Imports chasing another Cup

Brad Bishop | Tue, 18 Feb 2014

Saturday’s Peter Young Stakes could serve as a mouth-watering entree to next month’s Darley Australian Cup (2000m).

Fiorente and Green Moon, the past two winners of the Melbourne Cup, headline the list of 19 horses who were among today’s first declarations for the $1 million Group 1 event to be run at Flemington on Saturday 8 March.

Fiorente 2013 Melbourne Cup 500

The high-profile imports are both slated to resume in the $220,000 Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield this weekend.

It will be the first step in a campaign that could see the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente become the first male horse to complete the Melbourne Cup-Australian Cup double in the same season since the Australian Cup was first run at weight-for-age in 1979.

Hyperno and Shocking both won the Australian Cup after their Melbourne Cup success, but not in the same season.

Foreteller, a Group 1 winner at Flemington, Green Moon’s Sydney Cup-winning stablemate Mourayan, star imported mare Voleuse de Coeurs and Queensland Oaks heroine Gondokoro are the other elite-level winners among the open-age declarations.

A big team of three-year-olds remain in the running to give that age group back-to-back Australian Cup wins, following Super Cool’s success last year, and just their fourth victory overall.

Six three-year-olds remain, headed by Shamus Award, who will become the first three-year-old to complete the Cox Plate-Australian Guineas double if successful.

Victoria Derby champion Polanski, who has been scratched the past two Saturdays, was paid-up for along with Saturday’s C.S. Hayes Stakes winner and Australian Guineas favourite Hucklebuck and Anthony Cummings-trained trio Thunder Fantasy, Surge Ahead and Alpha Beat.

James Tzaferis | Tue, 18 Feb 2014

Saturday’s Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) winner Snitzerland will be denied the chance to emulate the race’s namesake, undefeated superstar Black Caviar, after connections decided not to pay the first acceptance fee for the Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

The first acceptances for the $1 million Newmarket were taken at 12pm and the Gerald Ryan-trained sprinter was not amongst the 30 horses still in contention for the 8 March Flemington feature.

Snitzerland Black Caviar Lightning 500

As a four-year-old mare Black Caviar claimed the first of her three Lightning wins before going on to lump 58 kilograms to victory in the Newmarket Handicap three weeks later.

Despite Snitzerland’s absence, eight of the 12 runners from Saturday’s Lightning, including placegetters Shamexpress and Samaready, remain on track to reappear at Flemington for the Newmarket.

Danny O’Brien’s defending champion Shamexpress remains a chance for consecutive wins after his impressive runner-up effort behind Snitzerland on Saturday while Lightning third placegetter Samaready, also a four-year-old mare, joins Mick Price-trained stablemates Lankan Rupee and Lion Of Belfort among the first acceptances.

Shamexpress would become only the fifth horse in history, and the first since Razor Sharp (1982-83), to claim back-to-back wins in Flemington feature handicap sprint.

A narrow second in last year’s race, connections of last-start C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) winner Moment Of Change have paid the first acceptance fee for the Newmarket, leaving the door open for the gelding to contest the race following Saturday’s Group 1 Cathay Pacific Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

And despite his unplaced effort in Saturday’s Black Caviar Lightning, the John O’Shea-trained Bernabeu could join fellow three-year-olds including Iconic, Sidestep and Thermal Current in attempting to emulate Shamexpress’ win in last year’s race.

Weights for the Lexus Newmarket Handicap will be released by Racing Victoria Senior Handicapper Neil Jennings on Tuesday, 25 February before final acceptances are taken at 10am on Wednesday, 5 March.

James Tzaferis | Tue, 18 Feb 2014

Impressive weekend winner Solicit is the only filly that remains in contention for Saturday week’s Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) after first declarations were taken for the $500,000 feature at 12pm today.

Following a series of Stakes placings during the Spring Racing Carnival that culminated in a narrow third to Kirramosa in the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m), the Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra-trained filly broke through for a dominant win in the Group 3 Vanity (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday.

Solicit _Mittys Vanity _500x 305

The daughter of Street Cry was one of 20 acceptances for the feature event on Flemington’s 1 March meeting with a raft of highly talented males, including current TAB favourite Hucklebuck, Sportingbet Cox Plate champion Shamus Award and Gai Waterhouse’s Bull Point also among them.

Hucklebuck, who was also a Darley Australian Cup (2000m) first acceptor, was an arrogant winner of Saturday’s Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington, defeating Prince Harada, The Quarterback and Criterion, all of whom are also first acceptors in the Guineas.

Shamus Award kicked off his campaign with a solid third behind Moment Of Change and Eurozone, also a Guineas acceptor for Bart and James Cummings, in the Group 1 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 8 February.  

Victoria Derby hero Polanski, twice scratched from races this campaign with a persistent skin ailment, is also paid up for the Guineas, as is Anthony Cummings’ Derby placegetter and first-up Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) winner Thunder Fantasy.

Final acceptances for the Group 1 Australian Guineas will be taken at 10am on Wednesday, 16 February.




18/2/2014 Quake draw shakes up Diamond

Earthquake races away to an impressive Blue Diamond Prelude win

Earthquake no longer outright favourite following Blue Diamond barrier draw

The task for boom filly Earthquake in Saturday’s $1 million Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) has been complicated after drawing barrier 15.

The $2.80 top pick before this morning’s draw, the daughter of Exceed And Excel is now the $3 joint favourite with star colt Rubick, who firmed in from $3.10 after coming up with barrier 10.

Though admitting he was disappointed with the draw, head of Darley’s Melbourne operation Paul Snodwn said he couldn’t be happier with Earthquake going into the race

“I could feel dad’s (Peter Snowden) hands going around my throat when I drew the barrier,” Snowden said.

“There looks a little bit of speed inside us so she just needs to begin well and hopefully there’s enough speed there to be able to slot in somewhere.

“She’s a really good quality filly and she certainly hasn’t gone backwards. She’s ready to run a peak on Saturday and if we can get her there fit and well, hopefully that can cancel the barrier out.”

In contrast to the Darley team, travelling foreman Sterling Alexio, representing trainer Gerald Ryan, was delighted with Rubick’s barrier.

 “We were hoping to draw somewhere between the middle to outside,” Alexio said.  “In a hectic race like the Blue Diamond we thought it was better for our horse.

“Because he has good tactical speed he can get into his rhythm and just follow the speed across from an outside barrier.

“Boomwaa has drawn outside us (13) and he’ll obviously go forward too so we might just get the run of the race hopefully.”

The Mark Kavanagh-trained Chivalry has firmed from $8.50 into $7.50 after drawing barrier five, while impressive Chairman’s Stakes winner Nayeli has also shortened from $11 into the $9.50 fourth favourite after drawing barrier nine.

Promising Team Hawkes colt Nostradamus drifted from $10 out to $11 after coming up with gate 11.

Blue Diamond Prelude runner-up Jabali has also drifted from $17 to $18 despite a seemingly favourable draw in barrier three.

Further out in the market Malaguerra has firmed from $51 into $35 after coming up with the inside barrier, while Top Dolly is $51 out to $61 after drawing the extreme outside (17).

Other key draws include Mohave (barrier six), Cornrow (four), Stratum Star (12) and Francesco (eight).

By Ben Asgari For the latest odds for the Blue Diamond visit

Race 1 - 12:00AM Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200 METRES)
Of $1,000,000.1st $600,000, 2nd $180,000, 3rd $90,000, 4th $45,000, 5th $25,000, 6th $20,000, 7th $20,000, 8th $20,000 GROUP 1
Set Weights, Two-Years-Old, Apprentices cannot claim.
This race carries a SUPER VOBIS Nominators Bonus of $10,000 for qualified horses.

Field Limit: 16 + 4 EM

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 341220 BOOMWAA Robbie Laing Noel Callow 13 56.5kg 70
2 11 RUBICK Gerald Ryan Brenton Avdulla 10 56.5kg 78
3 2x10 MOHAVE Peter Snowden Chris Symons 6 56.5kg 70
4 213 CHIVALRY Mark Kavanagh Stephen Baster 5 56.5kg 70
5 14 NOSTRADAMUS Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Glen Boss 11 56.5kg 70
6 2x2 JABALI Mick Price Damien Oliver 3 56.5kg 71
7 3x25 CORNROW Mick Price Luke Nolen 4 56.5kg 66
8 2x4 ZULULAND David Hayes Mark Zahra 7 56.5kg 63
9 36 FRANCESCO Gai Waterhouse Vlad Duric 8 56.5kg 63
10 19 MALAGUERRA Wez Hunter Brad Rawiller 1 56.5kg 63
11 67 STRATUM STAR Rick Hore-Lacy Craig Newitt 12 56.5kg 63
12 1x1 EARTHQUAKE Peter Snowden Damian Browne 15 54.5kg 78
13 11 NAYELI Gai Waterhouse James McDonald 9 54.5kg 72
14 41x86 GOLCONDA Robbie Laing Daniel Stackhouse 2 54.5kg 68
15 2x8 TOP DOLLY Tom Hughes Craig Williams 17 54.5kg 65
16 3x25 PIACENZA Tony McEvoy Michael Rodd 14 54.5kg 66
17e 08 STATUE OF WARRIORS Jerome Hunter 16 56.5kg

Blue Diamond Stakes Gerald Ryan on Rubick

Brad Bishop | Mon, 17 Feb 2014

From the moment Rubick sizzled around Rosehill in a 900-metre trial early last month, Gerald Ryan has had to deal with questions regarding whether he might be the best two-year-old he has trained.

He’d want to be good to get that nod, given Ryan put the polish on stars including Hurricane Sky, Paint and Snitzel.

But while the Sydney trainer won’t engage in conversation regarding who might be the best, and probably won’t even if Rubick wins Saturday’s Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield, what’s not for debate is who is the fastest two-year-old Ryan has trained.

Hurricane Sky went on a record-setting rampage in late-summer, early-autumn of 1994.

Hurricane Sky 500 (1)

He provided Ryan with his first win in Victoria’s premier juvenile event when he covered the 1200 metres in 1:08.1 to win the Blue Diamond, two weeks after clocking 1:02.6 to claim the Criterion Stakes (1100m) at Flemington.

“He won the Criterion a fortnight beforehand when he ran the quickest time for 1100 metres on turf for a two-year-old anywhere in the world,” Ryan said.

“Then, when he won the Blue Diamond, he did it again. He ran 1:08.1, which was the quickest time for 1200 metres for any two-year-old in the world.

“He held both of those records at the same time.”

Hurricane Sky’s Blue Diamond effort saw him attain the seldom-achieved feat of a two-year-old setting a track record. It was matched by You Remember around the same time and they shared the record until 2007 when Miss Andretti ran 1:07.74 to win the rescheduled Newmarket Handicap.

The Diamond victory was the culmination of a plan hatched before Hurricane Sky, a colt by Star Watch out of Dancing Show, had even turned two.

“He was broken in in the June by Russell McCann and when he broke him he said, ‘this is the best horse I’ve broken in since Zeditave,” Ryan recalled.

“After he’d come back from the breakers Russell said to us that he’d already taken him up to the 1200-metre start at Caulfield and told him that was where he’d win the Blue Diamond from.”

Hurricane Sky, who started at 3/1 – or $4 in today’s odds – made good on McCann’s pledge when, with Steven King aboard, he defeated 5/4 favourite Mr Vitality by half-a-length with Renarchi (9/1) third in what was a stellar season for youngsters.

Ryan and Hurricane Sky’s owner David Moodie didn’t have to wait long for their next star juvenile with Paint winning the 1996 Blue Diamond.

A gelding by Raami, Paint’s talent wasn’t as obvious as early as Hurricane Sky, but he went from winning a Kyneton maiden to Blue Diamond success in the space of 39 days.

He gave Danny Nikolic a dream ride, strolling home by three lengths from Flavour and Our Cashel in the only Blue Diamond run away from Caulfield. The 1996 edition was run at Flemington with Caulfield undergoing track renovations.

“We took him to Kyneton and he won his maiden and then we ran him in the National Stakes in Adelaide and he ran fifth but was probably unlucky.

“Alf Matthews rode him and suggested I put blinkers on him, which I did do at Sunday meeting at Moonee Valley and he bolted in so we paid a late entry fee for him to go into the Blue Diamond and he led all the way.”

Ryan will join the legendary band of trainers to have prepared three Blue Diamond winners if Rubick gets the job done in Saturday’s $1 million Group 1.

Angus Armanasco, Tommy Smith, Colin Hayes and Lee Freedman are all three-time Diamond winners with David Hayes the most successful trainer in the history of the race first run in 1971 with five victories.

Monday, 17 February 2014 Amazing total of 1207 Nominations for The Championships

A staggering number of nominations from right around the globe heralds the inaugural The Championships following today's closing deadline. Nominations have been finalised with 1207 received for the 10 races to be staged during The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday 12 April and Saturday 19 April. The jewel in the crown, the $4million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m on Day 2, attracted 112 nominations with the $3m The Star Doncaster Mile on opening day drawing an excellent 127 entries. A remarkable figure is the 203 nominations for the Inglis Sires' which is more than double the previous two years (99 in 2013 and 97 in 2012). And nominations have been received from every State of Australia plus New Zealand, Japan and Ireland. "We are over the moon with the response to The Championships," said Ian Mackay, CEO of The Championships. "We were hoping for strong nominations and are thrilled to see the total number edge past the 1200 mark. "Owners and trainers have embraced The Championships and it's now full steam ahead for what will be two days of superb racing in April."
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager of Racing, Matt Rudolph, said the quality of the entries placed the BMW Sydney Carnival among the best racing events in the world.
"Horses who traditionally might have targeted international races such as Zoustar or Fiorente, are instead staying for the BMW Sydney Carnival as their grand finals," he said.
"From one of the best crops of two-year-olds in many years, through to a three-year-old ATC Triple Crown winner in It's A Dundeel and winners of all the major Group One races in Australia, there is outstanding quality across all ages and distances." For all ticketing and hospitality options go to and information on The Championships and nominations can be found at

16/02/2014 Wyong Sunday Preview

Jockey, Chris O‘Brien, has worked over night and again this morning to ensure he is fit to ride top weight Merry Christmas in the Tuggerah Lakes Maintenance and Electrical Benchmark 70 (1200m) at Wyong today.

O’Brien had a miraculous escape from serious injury when a horse fell on him in the mounting yard at Muswellbrook yesterday.

He had been legged aboard Are You Sure in the final race when the horse froze and then collapsed, trapping O’Brien underneath.

He was able to crawl out from under the horse but had injured the foot he has problems with and was stood down.

O’Brien limped back to the jockey’s room and immediately iced the foot.

“I spoke to Chris a little later and he was walking a lot better and much happier with the way it was responding to the icing,” Merry Christmas’ trainer, Jason Deamer, said.

“I rang him again this morning and he said he had worked on it during the night, the leg was fine  and that he was right to ride the horse.”

Merry Christmas is O’Brien’s only ride and a big chance despite having to carry 59kgs on a track rated a slow 6.

The race is the last of the day and the racing surface is certain to have been affected by earlier races.

However Deamer is confident the horse will race well, despite his last start failure on the Kensington track.

“I don’t know what was wrong with him but he didn’t seem to want to be there,” Deamer said.

“He was star gazing during the race and not concentrating at all.

“I trialed him the other day to make sure he was alright and he won the trial easily.”

The Paymaster makes a return to racing in this event after 17 months off the scene and under new trainer Don Robb.

The front running stayer’s previous trainer, Jan Cashin, has been ill and owner Gary Truran decided to make the move.

“Gary comes from Warren and wants to try and win the Warren cup with him,” Robb said.

“The horse is 10 years old and this will be his final preparation.

“This race is far too short but we have to kick off his preparation somewhere.”

Robb is at Dubbo today where he has two runners and his foreman, Bradley Johnson, will saddle up The Paymaster.


1-1.10, NSW PARLIAMENT FORMER MEMBERS MAIDEN CUP, 1100m: NORTHERN FLASH 1, Hot Pistol 2, Dylan’s Rojo 3, Tumult 4.

2-1.45, WISEBERRY WYONG REAL ESTATE MAIDEN, 1100m: LONG SHADOW 1, Mesmereyeser 2, Hot Topic 3, Ecstatic 4.

3-2.20, ARIZONA SMASH REPAIRS CLASS ONE, 1350m: IDEAL GUIDE 1, White Devon 2, Jack The Ringer 3, Moss’n Time 4.

4-2.55, GREG MARTIN MEMORIAL MAIDEN, 1350m: PENDIGO 1, Anglo American 2, Mr Lightning 3, Maroota’s Way 4.

5-3.31, TM CONCRETING BENCHMARK 59, 2100m: MONACO DOLL 1, Farm Boy 2, Austin’s Cane 3, Murray Darling 4.

6-4.08, BOB SIMMS MEMORIAL CLASS ONE, 1600m: INVESTIGATES 1, Monsieur John 2, Devil Miss 3, Pup 4.

7-4.46, RENEE BUTCHER 3YO MAIDEN, 1350m: TRUMPED 1, Sonoma 2, Takewing 3, Wonderful Feeling 4.

8-5.22, TUGGERAH LAKES MAINTENANCE AND ELECTRICAL BENCHMARK 70, 1200m: MERRY CHRISTMAS 1, Tableaux 2, Eight Skirts 3, Bousquet 4.

Best Bets: Long Shadow, Investigates.   

Story and tips by Grahame Timbrell


16/2/2014 Snitz blitz in Lightning

Snitzerland on the way to Black Caviar Lightning success

Speedy mare gets deserved maiden Group 1 success in Flemington spring

Neil Werrett didn’t need Black Caviar to win Australia’s premier sprint race after all.

The prominent owner today saw Snitzerland, another mare from his monster team of horses, win the $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (100m) at Flemington.

It was the first running without the mare who now has her name attached to the race that she won three times since 2010 and Werrett said it was a thrill to again visit the Lightning winner’s stall.

“It’s been quite an amazing day,” he said. “To name a race after Black Caviar and then win it has been a real triumph.

“I can’t tell you how great a thrill it is.”

Snitzerland, a daughter of Snitzel who had twice finished runner-up at Group 1 level including the 2012 Golden Slipper, logged her maiden win at the highest level.

The Gerald Ryan-trained four-year-old showed her customary pace out of the barrier to share the speed with Bernabeu and while the spruik three-year-old dropped out shortly after entering the course proper, Snitzerland took control at around the same time.

The $5 chance dashed clear and although Shamexpress ($7.50) finished hard in a typically solid straight-track effort half-a-length was as close as the Newmarket winner got.

Samaready, the heavily-supported $3.10 favourite, was under pressure in the first half of the race but got going late to finish third, a further length back.

Pago Rock ($31) and Unpretentious ($18) both worked home well to finish fourth and fifth respectively in what appeared solid trials for the Newmarket Handicap.

Bernabeu ($5.50 to $4.80) failed to replicate his straight-track heroics from last year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival and finished a long last, while two-year-olds – Bugatty ($31) and Boomwaa ($17) – were never a factor, finishing eighth and 10th respectively.

The victory was the Group 1 win for Sydney-based jockey Brenton Avdulla in his native Melbourne and it said it made an already special day for the family even more significant.

 “That was special,” the 23-year-old said, voice trembling. “It’s a special day today, my pop passed away just before I was born and it’s his birthday today, so it’s worked out alright especially to get my first Group 1 in Melbourne.”

“I knew that we were coming here today with a horse that was on song ready to go and I don’t think Gerald’s had her going any better, even when she ran in the Slipper.

“She’s just been doing everything right I think she’s improved definitely off what she did last prep.”

Snitzerland took her record to eight wins from 17 starts and lifted her career earnings to $1,874,500 with the Lightning win.

One of the first questions put to Werrett, who races Snitzerland with Steven McCann, after the race was whether she would get the chance to add to that at the Royal Ascot Carnival – at which Black Caviar won two years ago – but the part-owner said it “had not been discussed.”

The Black Caviar was the first leg of this year’s Global Sprint Challenge, which carries a $1 million bonus to any horse that can win selected races in three different countries.

“I’ll have a talk to Gerald,” he said. “We’ve got a few more things to win here first.”

The next of those could be the $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m), back at Flemington, on 8 March.

By Brad Bishop


16/2/2014 Steves celebrate return to spotlight

Marcado wins the Talindert Stakes

Long-standing combination happy to have another good one on its hands

Steve Richards and Steven King have combined for much bigger wins than the $120,000 Talindert Stakes, but few have moved them like today’s victory by Marcado.

The Choisir gelding presented them with an overdue trip to the metropolitan winner’s stall after he made the perfect debut in the 1100-metre Listed event.

It was the first city winner for Melbourne Cup winner King, who only recently returned from a nine-month injury-enforced layoff, since December 2012 and Richards had not trained a winner in Melbourne since Playwright won at Flemington in May 2012.

That explains why Richards struggled to compose himself post-race.

“Sorry, I’m a bit emotional,” Richards said. “We’ve had a bad year...but we’ve put a lot of work into this horse. It’s been a tough 12 months.

“Our team of horses, we just didn’t have much there. A Lot of them went wrong, even horses that were bread-and-butter horses had mishaps and we really struggled.”

Richards is hoping Marcado, a $90,000 buy in New Zealand, can be the horse that can have he and King – who celebrated Group 1 success together when Rostova won the 2010 Robert Sangster Stakes in Adelaide – back as a feature-race player.

Richards, who trains around 15 horses, has effectively structured his training around Marcado.

“We sacrificed a hell of a lot for this horse,” he said. “I didn’t go to the sales, I sat at home and I couldn’t leave this horse even for four or five days to go to New Zealand.

“A couple of the guys wanted me to go but I said, ‘I’m not leaving this horse’. I couldn’t move away from him, I’ve lived with him seven days a week and we’ve pulled this off today.

“From day one he’s showed he’s got a little bit a motor there and we’ve just been patient. We were hoping we’d get it out of him as a two-year-old, but we knew whatever he does he’ll be better at three.”

Outstanding timing from King has enabled him to share in the Marcado experience. A foot injury kept him out from 21 April last year until 23 January, when he rode a winner at his first ride back – for Richards – but before he was even out of his moon boot Richards showed off Marcado to get him excited about his return.

“He did that and he always knew he had something there, but obviously you don’t know until you test it out,” King said.

“I’ve been back riding work for two-and-a-half months and I’ve been riding him every morning in work. That gives you an indication of what I think of the horse.”

Marcado justified the faith of King and Richards when, as an $11 chance, he turned in a strong front-running display to get home by three quarters of a length from Orujo ($6) with the heavily-backed favourite Lady Sharapova ($4 to $3.60) 1-3/4 lengths back third.

But while Richards is most excited about what Marcado will produce as a three-year-old, he will give him his shot at Group 2 juvenile victory in the $300,000 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on 8 March.

That’s a race they combined to win with Rostova, who Richards revealed post-race was his previous two-year-old starter before Marcado.

“If he comes through this well we’ll come back here to the Sires’ Produce,” Richards said. “I think that’d be a nice race for him.

“But we’ll get over today first because he’s going to be a really good three-year-old this horse.”

By Brad Bishop


16/2/2014 EL Roca opens Aussie account

Hugh Bowman has El Roca comfortably clear as the Kiwi-trained colt resumes his three-year-old career with a win in the Eskimo Prince Stakes.

The disappointment of the Caulfield Guineas faded for New Zealand trainer Trent Busuttin when El Roca (Fastnet Rock) made his first visit to Sydney a winning one.
The colt was an unlucky fifth in the Guineas won by Long John last spring but showed he would be a force this time around with a stylish victory in yesterday's Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes.
The 1200-metre race is the first of three planned races, with the 1400 metre Hobartville the next step before the Group One Randwick Guineas, over 1600 metres, on March 15.
Ridden by Hugh Bowman, who steered the Busuttintrained Sangster to win the 2011 Victoria Derby, $2.50 favourite El Roca gathered in the leaders and stretched out to beat second fancy Dissident (Sebring) by two lengths with outsider Romantic Touch (Northern Meteor) another threequarters of a length away third.
"I know how good he is but you like to see them do it, especially over here," Busuttin said. "He didn't get his chance in the Caulfield Guineas and I admit I sulked for a bit.
"I would like to think he can get over a distance. His pedigree says a mile pulls him up so we'll see.
"It's all about getting a Group One with him."
While he does have experience of Australian racing, Busuttin admits he has a bit more to learn about the rules after being called in to see stewards twice.
"I mentioned in a radio interview El Roca had a bone chip removed and realised I hadn't told the stewards here," he said.
Stewards questioned him before the race about the bone chip and called him back to discuss the horse's gear. Busuttin had made some adjustments to the tongue tie and buckles
on the reins after El Roca was saddled, delaying the colt's arrival in the mounting yard.
"I will have to brush up on the rules here," a sheepish Busuttin told stewards.

Race ATC Eskimo Prince S. L 1200m
Winner El Roca (Aus) 2010
Owners D A Kneebone, B D Taylor, G W Fielding, K J
O'Brien, L W Stewart, L F Amodeo, M J Bradley,
M C Fenwick, R J Patterson, T C Jones, O Saxton,
G P I Racing
Trainer Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young (Cambridge)
Breeding by Fastnet Rock (Aus) out of Rubimill (Aus) by
Rubiton (Aus)
Breeder P Newsome

16/2/2014 Oaks the target for wandering blueblood filly

Regally bred filly Forever Loved (NZ) (High Chaparral) has added her name to Gai Waterhouse's carnival team with a wayward but definitive win at Rosehill.
The filly is out of Diamond Like, a descendant of grand broodmare Eight Carat, who produced Kaapstad, Octagonal and Mouawad.
The Waterhouse-trained Amanpour had staked her claim for April's Australian Oaks with an all-the-way win at Randwick on Wednesday and James McDonald used the same tactics on
Forever Loved in yesterday's 1500 metre race.
Despite wandering out in the straight and hampering the favourite All Cerise (Redoute's Choice), Forever Loved held her rival by 1¾ lengths with the same margin to Casino Dancer
(Casino Prince).
"She has an impeccable pedigree and she's very good," Waterhouse said. "She'll go on to the Oaks."
Greg and Donna Kolivos, known for racing Pierro, paid $650,000 for Forever Loved at the 2012 Karaka yearling sale.
McDonald said the filly was an ideal staying type and only shifted out because she was on her own.
"She was a long way in front and got a bit lost out there," he said.

James McDonald brings Forever Loved back to scale after yesterday's impressive all-the-way win at Rosehill.

Race ATC Australian Turf Club H. 1500m
Winner Forever Loved (NZ) 2010
Owners G G Kolivos & Mrs D Kolivos
Trainer Gai Waterhouse (Randwick)
Breeding by High Chaparral (Ire) out of Diamond Like
(Aus) by Danehill (USA)
Breeder Sir Patrick & Lady Hogan
Sales 2012 National Yearling Sale, Premier Session; V:
Cambridge Stud, P: Gai Waterhouse; $650,000

16/2/2014 Gai has Cox Plate plans for Ecuador

Following a comprehensive all-the-way win at Rosehill yesterday, trainer Gai Waterhouse said Ecuador (NZ) (High Chaparral) was potentially a Cox Plate horse.
"Of course he'll be in the Doncaster here in Sydney, but I can see him being a Cox Plate horse in the spring," Waterhouse said after the 1400 metre TAB Rewards Handicap.
Well-rated in front by Tommy Berry, Ecuador was never really in doubt of winning after the well-backed second favourite Weary (Astronomer Royal) went back at the start and
settled near the rear. The former UK galloper ran on well to eventually run third but the winner, sent out a $1.70 favourite, was dominant, beating outsider Kaypers (Cape Cross) by three-quarters of a length.
"He is by my favourite sire," Waterhouse said, still buoyant after the win by Forever Loved in the previous event.

Friday, 14 February 2014 Racing Appeals Tribunal decision on Mrs Gai Waterhouse appeal

The Racing Appeals Tribunal delivered its judgments today in the appeals of licensed trainer Mrs Gai Waterhouse in respect of the condition of More Joyous leading up to the 2013 All Aged Stakes and the 2013 Queen of the Turf Stakes.
The Racing Appeals Tribunal upheld the appeals on the basis that Racing NSW had not established on the Briginshaw standard that Mrs Waterhouse was required to report the respective conditions, namely soreness to the neck and lameness of More Joyous, to the Stewards.
Racing NSW intends to appeal those decisions.
Racing NSW Chief Executive Mr V'landys said: "Racing New South Wales is naturally disappointed in the decisions of the Racing Appeals Tribunal which provide no protection for the punters. The confidence of the public, and particularly punters, is critical to the integrity of the industry.
"The requirement to report a condition under AR140(a) is fundamental to the proper regulation of racing on a day-to-day basis. The public is entitled to be aware of all matters that may affect the performance of a horse."
Racing NSW intends to appeal the decisions to the Supreme Court on the basis that they are against the weight of evidence and that the Racing Appeals Tribunal has incorrectly applied the relevant test.

14/2/2014 Shamexpress Bigger And Better

2013 Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress is ready for tomorrow's Lightning Handicap at Flemington

The benefit of extra muscle and the absence of a notable opponent has given trainer Danny O'Brien the confidence to tip a return to top form for his talented sprinter Shamexpress (NZ) (O'Reilly) at Flemington on Saturday.
Shamexpress has been unplaced in three of his four starts since winning last year's Newmarket Handicap, a victory that earned him a trip to England.
The four-year-old returns to racing in the Group One Lightning Stakes (1000m) after a brief spring preparation that indicated his travels had done him no harm.
"He's bigger and stronger than he was last year and he's not taking on Black Caviar," O'Brien said.
"I'm glad he's turning up here on Saturday."
Shamexpress finished sixth to the champion mare in last year's Lightning before winning the Newmarket three weeks later.
He then produced a couple of indifferent efforts in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and the July Cup at Newmarket.
But he turned in a superb effort when second to Buffering (Mossman) in the VRC Sprint Classic at his latest start and according to O'Brien he's held the form this time in.
"He galloped really well last Friday, he's had a great build up to this," he said.
"I'm also fairly certain he's at his best down the straight here at Flemington, so there's a lot to look forward to."
Shamexpress heads to the Newmarket second up and O'Brien will assess his options after that race with a view to another international campaign.

Set to Bern up the straight
Brad Bishop | Friday, 14 Feb 2014

No man was happier to see Bernabeu sizzle up the Flemington straight on Melbourne Cup Day last November than John O’Shea.

The Sydney horseman was naturally happy because the gelding had won a race during racing’s biggest week of the year, but the victory also brought with it an element of relief owing to some big statements from the trainer early in Bernabeu’s career.

Bernabeu 500

“I looked like a bit of a goose early in his preparation because I told his owner he was probably as good a horse as I’ve trained and he was struggling to win maidens and class 1s,” O’Shea told RSN’s Racing Ahead.

“But in the last part of his campaign at Flemington he started to show a little bit of what he’d promised at home.”

That 1000-metre spring sprint, in which he defeated the well-performed Iconic by 3-1/4 lengths in a slick 56.56 seconds (pictured), was proof that he had found his calling as a straight-track specialist.

He gets the chance to confirm that this Saturday when he tackles the $500,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning.

Australia’s only 1000-metre Group 1 has been O’Shea’s aim for the past three months and he rounded out his preparations with a sizzling jumpout at Flemington last Friday.

Bernabeu covered the 800m in 45.37secs, a time that initially had O’Shea concerned so close to his target race, but he has been delighted with the way he has done this weekend.

“When he did trial, he probably exceed our expectations in terms of the time he ran and I was concerned he might have overdone it,” O’Shea said.

“But this week’s he’s thrived. He’s put on weight post the trial, so it hasn’t knocked him around.”

Bernabeu will be striving to emulate his father, Fastnet Rock, the 2005 Black Caviar Lightning champion who was the last three-year-old to win the race.

“As with most Fastnets, when they come to the autumn they’re much more effective and this fella’s no different,” O’Shea said.

 “He’s just grown into himself, he’s a big brute of a thing. He’s 580 kilos, so he’s just filled into his frame and he’s a stronger a conveyance.”

Brad Bishop | Friday, 14th Feb 2014

This trip to Melbourne, for Black Caviar Lightning Day at Flemington this Saturday, is like few Nick Smith has made in recent years.

As the Head of Communications and International Racing for Ascot in England, his job is to recruit overseas competitors for the Royal meeting and Australia is his first port of call when it comes to sprint races.


The brief has been obvious the past few years; get Black Caviar.

But while the legendary mare’s name remains, she won’t be a part of the $500,000 Group 1 Lightning (1000m) for the first time since 2010, leaving Smith to come up with an alternative target.

“It probably is a question of just waiting until the race is run before we actually know this year which is the horse the go,” Smith said.

“It’s a very different field this year than most Lightning Stakes, where there’s maybe one or two feasible results. To me, that’s not the case this year, anything could happen this year.”

The Black Caviar Lightning field is headed by last year’s Newmarket Handicap winner Shamexpress, who flew the Australian flag at Royal Ascot last year, albeit a ninth placing in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m).

Gun mares Samaready and Snitzerland are among the others high on Smith’s radar, along with John O’Shea’s exciting three-year-old Bernabeu.

Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast and Black Caviar have all won at the Royal meeting, which is conducted in June, after winning the Black Caviar Lightning.

“That’s remarkable given we’re talking about a period of just over 10 years,” he said.

“So any horse that wins the Lightning Stakes is a de facto 4 or 5-1 favourite for the King’s Stand.”

This year’s Black Caviar Lightning is again the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, which is entering its 10th year.

Saturday’s winner will be one-third way of the way to securing the $1 million bonus that the series offers with the carrot payable to connections of any horse who wins selected races in three different countries.

Ben Asgari | Thu, 13 Feb 2014

Robbie Griffiths may have gone to the races with two better chances but he’s never been to the races with two better horses than at Flemington on Saturday.

 As well as unbeaten filly Girl In Flight who lines up in the $150,000 Group 3 The Mittys Vanity (1400m), Griffiths also has The Quarterback engaged in the day’s other three-year-old feature the $150,000 Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m).

Girl In Flight Leigh Thomas Gift 500

A prolific trainer of winners, Griffiths is yet to taste success at the highest level but said he is hoping that could change with both The Quarterback and Girl In Flight being aimed towards Group 1 targets this campaign.

“It certainly is very exciting to have two young horses heading in that direction,” Griffiths said. “It’s what we all do it (train) for so we’re hopingthat the excitement becomes reality.

“We’ve been fortunate enough to win at every level other than the highest level so hopefully one or both of these two are the horses to do it for us.  

“They’ve got to prove themselves but they’re lovely progressive types and we hope that they’re the real deal.”

On a path towards the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 1, The Quarterback is second up following a fast-finishing third behind Bull Point in the Manfred Stakes (1200m).

Set to be partnered by Matthew Allen from barrier eight, Griffiths said whatever the son of Street Boss does on Saturday he’ll be even better suited in the Guineas two weeks later.

“If he’s going to be winning the Guineas then he’s probably going to have to stand up and be counted Saturday,” Griffiths said.

 “He doesn’t have to win, naturally we would like him to win on Saturday but as long as he runs a pleasing race he’ll be an even better horse third up at level weights in the Australian Guineas.

 “He’s a very exciting horse and he worked brilliantly Tuesday morning. I do think he can win, I think he’s a super chance but I just think he’ll be even better horse at 1600m.”

The Quarterback is currently rated the $4.80 second favourite in the betting with TAB fixed odds behind Hucklebuck at $3.60.

An impressive winner at her first two starts in the country, Girl In Flight then underlined her class winning over 1700 metres at Caulfield in November.

Likely to be aimed towards either the Group 1 ATC Oaks (2400m) in Sydney on April 19 or the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) in Adelaide a week later, Griffiths said he would make the decision depending on the daughter of Commands’ form.

 “After her third run this campaign in the Alexandra Stakes (1600m) we’ll decide whether she heads to Sydney or Adelaide,” Griffiths said.

Following her run on Saturday she’ll have a three week break into the Kewney Stakes (1400m) and then two weeks into the Alexandra and if we’re really happy with her she’ll head to Sydney for the Vinery Stud Stakes and then into the ATC Oaks.”

Despite Girl In Flight being rated the shorter of the pair in the betting at $4.40 with TAB fixed odds, Griffiths said he was leaning to The Quarterback as the better winning chance.

“I’d lean towards The Quarterback as the better chance because he’s had the run and is a little bit more forward than Girl In Flight who is first up,” he said.

“She’s a beautiful filly but she has only had one 800m trial and she really shouldn’t be the winner, I think she should just run a nice race. I think a horse like Scratchy Bottom should have the upper hand with fitness having already had a run this preparation.”

“Having said that her work has really come on since she was last at the races and it wouldn’t surprise me to see her take another step on Saturday.”

By Ben Asgari

Brad Bishop | Friday, 14th Feb 2014

Brent Stanley has high hopes for Veuvelicious, but the fledgling trainer is not sure that will translate into victory tonight at Moonee Valley.

The daughter of Northern Meteor will make her debut in the $35,000 Quest Moonee Valley Plate that kicks off the Moonee Valley program.

Brent Stanley (and Damian Lane ) 500

The 1000-metre event is an intriguing affair headlined by Blue Diamond Preview fourth placegetter London Lolly and while Stanley thinks the Contract Racing-owned filly has her share of ability he thinks she will be at her best later on.

“She’s there for the education but she’s done enough to go to the races,” he said. “The education will do her the world of good.”

“I think she’ll be a nice three-year-old over 1600 metres, but she’s a two-year-old and you’ve got to start her off in these sort of races.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if she does run a forward race.”

Veuvelicious, a $60,000 yearling, is one of nine unraced youngsters in Friday night’s race. The only other raced member, along with London Lolly, is Tony Vasil’s Salasun, who boasts a Seymour third and a Werribee fourth placing to her name.

Among the others yet to be seen at the races are David Hayes pair Afleet Esprit (by Bel Esprit) and Taste of Money (Not a Single Doubt), while Anthony Freedman will be represented Matilija, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro and Romneya.

Veuvelicious will be Stanley’s only runner for the night with his other acceptor, Beach Front, the mare who provided him with his maiden city winner at the Valley on 20 December, scratched from the Essendon Mazda 55 Second Challenge after being cast in her box.

That leaves a field of six for the night’s feature with capable Darren Weir-trained mare Royal Bender heading a field that includes Umgeton, a two-time winner over the 955m trip, Listed winner Prettyhappyaboutit and last-start Cranbourne winner Athenian Girl.

Thursday, 13 February 2014 Waller's new galloper 'Sizzling' into form

Class galloper Sizzling – a relative newcomer to the Chris Waller camp – will be step out on Saturday week en route to his ultimate goal during The Championships at Royal Randwick. Waller has earmarked the $3million Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday 12 April as the horse's main target this campaign. A former Queenslander, Sizzling had his initial start for Waller last Saturday, finishing an excellent third behind Appearance in the Group 2 Expressway Stakes over 1200m at Royal Randwick. The four-year-old finished full of running and has since pleased the Waller stable. "We couldn't have been much happier with his run," said Waller's racing manager, Liam Prior. "That was the first time he'd raced for us and he has gone along great since. "He will run in the Apollo Stakes on Saturday week and then we'll work out the options for him. The Doncaster Mile is definitely the race we have him aimed at. "He was beaten less than two lengths by Boban in the Epsom last year so the mile at Randwick is going to be right up his alley." Sizzling was previously trained in Queensland by Kelso Wood who won six Stakes races with him including a Group One event, the TJ Smith Stakes at Eagle Farm. "He came to us from Kelso in magnificent order so we had plenty of horse to work with," Prior said. "Full credit has to go to Kelso for the way he prepared the horse." When asked whether a step up in distance could be on the agenda in regards to a start in the $4m Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m on Day 2 of The Championships, Prior replied: "We'll just have to play that by ear. "He has not run past 1600 metres and we still have to work out his ideal distance range. But he's obviously a very smart galloper and we're keeping an open mind. He'll tell us more as his autumn campaign unfolds." For all ticketing and hospitality options go to and information on The Championships can be found at

13/2/2014 Magic Duo Win Tassie Millions Features


LusticaWell bred youngster Lustica proved one of the country's leading syndicators with one of her biggest thrills when successful in Wednesday night's $50,000 Brooklyn Park Magic Millions Tasmanian 2YO Classic in Launceston.

Denise Martin of Star Thoroughbreds described the win of the exciting filly as one of the most satisfying in a career which has landed many of the country's biggest races.

"It is great to get back to Tasmania and win one of the feature races," Martin said.

"I love a Magic Millions win and I've now been able to win both the 2YO and 3YO here at Launceston."

Martin syndicated gallopers have also won Magic Millions feature races on the Gold Coast with Driefontein, Theseo, Kinnersley and Whittington.

Lustica and connections"I bought this filly last year at the Tasmanian Yearling Sale for $50,000 from the draft of Grenville Stud and she's given her owners a big thrill at her second start."

"It was a wonderful ride from Anthony (Darmanin) and as you can expect the owners are very excited."

Lustica is prepared by master local juvenile trainer Barry Campbell, Martin's brother in law.

"She is a very nice filly, with a bit of depth about her and I am confident she will get over more ground later on," Campbell said.

A daughter of Tale of the Cat, Lustica is one of two winners from two named foals for the stakes winner Ehor.

A multiple stakes winner by Val Royal, Ehor is a daughter of the Group One winner Love to Dance and is a half sister to the former Star Thoroughbreds stakes galloper Party Crasher.

Havana StashMeanwhile, talented gelding Havana Stash provided his sale bound half sister with a timely boost thanks to a great win in the $50,000 Tasbreeders Magic Millions Tasmanian 3YO Classic.

Prepared by David and Scott Brunton, Havana Stash proved too good, scoring a strong three quarter length win.

Sent out the $2.40 favourite, Havana Stash proved too stong for minor placegeters Incum Coming and Liberty Heights in the 1200 metre feature.

Havana Stash was purchased by the Brunton family for $20,000 from the draft of Armidale Stud at the 2012 Tasmanian Yearling Sale.

Havana StashArmidale will today present a half sister to Havana Stash as Lot 21. The filly is by leading local sire Savoire Vivre.

Havana Stash is the first runner to date for Grisbi, a multiple Melbourne winner by Perugino and half sister to stakes galloper Zinzin.

Meanwhile, last year's Magic Millions 3YO Classic winner California Wish added anther win it her impressive record when she beat a quality field in the Open Handicap last night.

A half brother to California Wish by Bushranger is Lot 54 in the Brooklyn Park draft at today's Tasmanian Yearling Sale.

The 2014 Magic Millions Tasmanian Yearling Sale commences at 1pm (AEDT) today.


13/2/2014 Fiorente to gallop at Flemington

The Gai Waterhouse trained Emirates Melbourne Cup champion, Fiorente, will gallop between races on Saturday at Flemington’s Black Caviar Lightning Day.

Fiorente will partner with Australian Guineas contender Bull Point for the exhibition, with the jockeys and gallop time to be confirmed.

February 13, 2014: Hawkesbury Thursday Preview

LEADING trainer Guy Walter goes to Hawkesbury today with a bevy of chances and the opportunity to emerge as a new premiership front-runner. In a keenly-contested title to date, a solitary win separates four of racing's "heavyweights". Last year's winner Peter Snowden currently shares the top spot with Gai Waterhouse and John O'Shea - each with eight successes so far this season. But Walter (7 wins) is breathing down their necks. And he has seven acceptors for today's program, with stable rider Blake Shinn booked for five of them. However, Walter's number of representatives may be reduced to six as he is contemplating withdrawing Hussonet mare Mahara from the Coonamble Reunion 8 June Class 2 Handicap (1600m) to wait for "another day". "I might keep her for a restricted race at home at Warwick Farm next Wednesday," Walter said today. "If we do go ahead and run her at Hawkesbury, she will be hard to beat. "She won her maiden impressively first-up at Canberra in mid-December, then unfortunately had a setback. "I was really pleased with her first run back when third over 1300m at Warwick Farm late last month when she drew the outside. "She is a lightly-raced four-year-old mare showing promise." Here is Walter's rundown on his certain Hawkesbury contingent: RACE 1 (TAB Rewards Maiden Handicap, 1000m): ELUSIVENESS (Jeff Penza) - "New Zealand-owned three-year-old filly by Elusive City making her debut. Showing a bit of potential but she has drawn the outside alley and they may be a bit sharp for her at 1000m." TERETINA (Shinn) - Another three-year-old filly by Testa Rossa also making her debut. Has shown plenty of ability in two recent trials and much better drawn." RACE 2 (Jade's Last Hurrah Class 1 Handicap, 1100m): HOLLYWOOD HEART (Shinn) - "Three-year-old filly by Lion Heart who won on debut over 1100m at Wyong last month. Has pace and expecting her to be hard to beat again." RACE 4 (TAB Doonside, Plumpton & Wentworthville F&M Maiden Plate, 1300m): HIGH HARMONY (Shinn) - "High Chaparral three-year-old filly raced by Hawkesbury interests. Another making her debut but trialled nicely on three occasions, including twice recently at Hawkesbury and Randwick. In spite of an awkward barrier, I'm expecting her to run well. " RACE 5 (Hawkesbury Trainers Class 2 Handicap, 1400m): ADORABEEL (Penza) - "Good run first-up when second over 1200m at Canberra late last month. Honest mare who scored over 1800m at Hawkesbury last June at her only start so far at the track." RACE 8 (TAB Rewards Benchmark 65 Handicap, 2000m): OAKDALE ROYAL (Shinn) - "Won a 2000m Class 1 Handicap at Canberra on January 24 beating an average field. That was her fourth run back and distance racing looks to be her forte. Definitely an each-way prospect." Hawkesbury trainer Tony McEvoy opposes Walter's Oakdale Royal with nominal favorite Kourkam (Hugh Bowman) in the 2000m Benchmark 65. The French import made a successful Australian debut in an 1800m Maiden Plate at Hawkesbury on January 30. Kourkam will be McEvoy's only representative at tomorrow's fixture. He has withdrawn topweight Amaranchi from the Class 2 Handicap (1600m) for fillies and mares. . The rail is in the true position for the eight-race card, which begins at 12.45pm. The track this morning was rated a Good 3 (penetrometer reading 4.82). Course manager Jeff Haynes has put 6mm of irrigation on the course proper in the last 24 hours (42mm for the past seven days). No rainfall has been recorded in that period. . Brian Fletcher's selections for Hawkesbury are: RACE 1: OPERA BLU, ChargeWhat, Teretina. RACE 2: KINDLING, Hollywood Heart, Esgrimidor. RACE 3: DOUBTFUL ROYAL, Encoronada, Royal Occasion. RACE 4: ERATO, High Harmony, Moorluv. RACE 5: MISS MILANESE, Adorabeel, Global Dream. RACE 6: BET THEHOUSE ON IT, Dwindle, Magnolia Lane. RACE 7: MAHARA, Peace Force, Red Hot Chillies. RACE 8: KOURKAM, Oakdale Royal, War Horse. SPECIALS: KINDLING, BET THEHOUSE ON IT, KOURKAM.

Ben Asgari | Thu, 13 Feb 2014

Craig Newitt believes Samaready is on track to secure a third Group 1 triumph when the Mick Price-trained mare resumes in Saturday’s $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington.

Making her first race track appearance since suffering an exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage as favourite in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) in October, Newitt said the four-year-old appears to have put the setback behind her.

Samaready Thesharkcomau Stakes 500  

 “She’s going really well and her work has indicated that she’s over the mishap that she had at Moonee Valley,” Newitt said.

“I don’t think she has improved a hell of a lot, but I don’t think she needs to improve. She has only got to recapture her Moir Stakes win and whatever beats her on Saturday would have to win.

“She gets in brilliantly against this field at weight for age, she’s drawn a good gate, she should get a good smother and I think she has only got to turn up at her best and she wins.”

A dominant winner of the $1 million Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) as a two-year-old, Samaready missed almost all of her three-year-old season through injury.

Resuming as a four-year-old last Spring, the daughter of More Than Ready showed she had lost none of her ability with a first up victory at Caulfield before a scintillating win in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) in which she defeated subsequent triple Group 1 winner Buffering by four lengths.

Having been aboard Samaready at all nine of her career starts, Newitt knows the mare well.

Having also ridden 2007 Lightning winner Miss Andretti in 14 of her 31 career starts, including her five Group 1 victories, it carried extra weight when Newitt said Samaready is as good as the former Australian Horse of the Year at her best.

“Miss Andretti was sound, she never had any issues,” he said. “Samready has always had issues even from her late two-year-old days.

“At their best, she’d compare with Miss Andretti. I think she’s the same sort of class.”

Newitt is also well placed to rate Samaready against one of her main rivals on Saturday having ridden Shamexpress to win the Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) last season.

Confident Samaready has Shamexpress covered for ability; Newitt said despite a 29 point difference in the official handicapper ratings he rates emerging three-year-old Bernabeu as her greatest danger.

“Both horses at their best, I think she’s a better horse than Shamexpress,” Newitt said. “But he’s always a threat down the straight because he races so well there.

“I think the horse to beat is Bernabeu, he trialled sensationally down the straight the other day.”

Drawn in barrier four, Newitt said the presence of two-year-olds Boomwaa and Bugatty should ensure a solid tempo which would likely play to Samaready’s advantage.  

“I think the only hope the two-year-olds have got of winning the race is to run the field ragged out in front with only 46kg on their back because they’re not going to be able to out-sprint these older seasoned sprinters,” he said.

“1000 metres will be good for her (Samaready) because they should run the race quickly and she’s a horse that just needs to sit back off the main speed.

“She has got a better turn of foot than any of the horses in the race which is why 1200 is her optimum distance but I can’t see kicking off at 1000 being any drama for her.”

By Ben Asgari

Instrumental Cup victory

Brad Bishop | Wed, 12 Feb 2014

He was the most heavily-represented trainer in last year’s Caulfield Cup, with four runners, and Chris Waller has the first runner into this year’s race following Instrumentalist’s win in the Sportingbet Mornington Cup (2400m).

The Irish-bred gelding secured his Caulfield Cup spot with victory in the $350,000 event, which carries a ballot exemption from the world’s richest 2400-metre handicap – now worth $3 million.

Instrumentalist - Morn Cup 500

Waller’s Melbourne foreperson, Justine Hales, said that while the son of Amadeus Wolf might not be Waller’s leading Caulfield Cup hope, he is now in the race and was likely to be given his shot.

“I think he deserves a spell now, he’s had a pretty big prep, and I can guarantee Chris has probably got everything mapped out already (towards the Caulfield Cup),” Hales said.

Instrumentalist not only collected the Caulfield Cup ballot exemption for his win – the eighth of his 28-start career – the $210,000 winner’s purse almost doubled his pre-Mornington winnings of $241,166.

After settling back in a race that didn’t pan out early how most predicted, with Waller’s other runner He’s Your Man leading the way with Prince of Penzance close up in advance of Gai Waterhouse-trained pair Laidback Larry and Travolta, Instrumentalist powered to victory on the back of a powerful finish.

The $16 chance launched his run out wide and although he took his time reeling in the leaders, he arrived in time to defeat Travolta ($8), who flashed home along the inside, by a short neck. Top-class jumper Macedonian ($101) thundered home out widest to finish just a long head away third.

Prince of Penzance, the $3 favourite, looked the winner when he got the split just before straightening but didn’t show his customary acceleration, while Laidback Larry ($4.40) was beaten at the 600m and dropped out to finish 10th, beaten almost eight lengths.

Winning jockey Craig Newitt said Instrumentalist’s relaxed nature played a big part in the win.

“All he wanted to do the whole race was just go to sleep and relax,” Newitt said. “When they bunched up down the side, 600 or 700 out, he just kept picking up underneath me.

“He got to the outside and he quickened and just sustained it to the line.”


13/2/2014 Licence Suspension Lifted For Bathurst Cup Meeting

Racing NSW today temporarily lifted the suspension imposed on Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing, enabling the Club to run its Cup race meeting on Sunday, 23 February 2014.

At this time, the lifting of the suspension applies only to this meeting and Racing NSW will have personnel on hand to assess the Club on its management of this raceday. At the conclusion of this assessment, a decision will be made as to the future of the Bathurst Club.

"As this is one of the feature meetings of the year for Bathurst, Racing New South Wales understands the importance for the Club of the meeting proceeding,” said Racing NSW Chief Executive, Mr Peter V'landys.

“While we are seriously concerned about the events of 1 November last year and the loss of the race meeting on 17 January which led to suspension of the Club's licence, this provides Bathurst Thoroughbred Racing the opportunity to demonstrate that it has its house in order and can professionally conduct a race meeting for the benefit of punters and participants,” Mr V’landys added

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 Global Sprint Challenge (GSC) kicks off its 10th anniversary series this Saturday

The world's best thoroughbred sprinters will again go head-to-head in 2014 when the Global Sprint Challenge (GSC) kicks off its 10th anniversary series this Saturday, 15 February at Melbourne's
Flemington Racecourse.
Incorporating 10 Group 1 sprint races conducted across six nations, the 2014 GSC will commence with the $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington this weekend and will conclude with the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin in December.
First conducted in 2005, the GSC provides international recognition to its elite performers and a US$1 million bonus to the owners and trainer of any horse which wins a GSC race in three
The bonus – which has not yet been claimed – will be split 75 percent to the owners and 25 percent to the trainer, with the pool shared equally if more than one horse achieves the feat.
The Black Caviar Lightning – which was renamed last year in honour of Australia's undefeated sprinting mare who won six GSC races, including the last three Lightnings – is the traditional launch
pad for the GSC.
With Black Caviar enjoying retirement, the window of opportunity is open for a new Australian star to launch an international career with victory in the Lightning, a race which counts fellow Royal
Ascot winners Choisir, Takeover Target, Miss Andretti and Scenic Blast among its honour roll.
A field of 13 will face the starter in the 2014 edition including Group 1 winners Shamexpress and Samaready, Group 1 placegetters Snitzerland and Aeronautical and the wildcards of the race, twoyear- olds Boomwaa and Bugatty.
"Despite the great sprinters the world has seen in recent years – such as Black Caviar, Lord Kanaloa and Rocket Man – the bonus for the Global Sprint Challenge is yet to be won so this year's
event provides an opportunity for a new champion to make history as the first to claim the prize," GSC Committee Chairman, Leigh Jordon, said.
"In the past two years there have been two sprinters who have won two legs of the competition in different countries so this year provides an opportunity for a new star to claim a unique piece of history in what is our 10th year.
"The Black Caviar Lightning has traditionally been an important springboard for Australian horses contesting later legs of the Global Sprint Challenge and thus Saturday's race will command
attention in racing jurisdictions across the globe.
"The Global Sprint Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the best thoroughbred sprinters from around the world and we're hopeful this year's Lightning winner will follow in the footsteps of Black Caviar and go on to compete successfully on the world stage."
The second event in the GSC will be conducted at Meydan Racecourse in the United Arab Emirates with the Dubai Golden Shaheen (1200m) run on 29 March – Dubai World Cup night.
The series then moves to Japan's Chukyo Racecourse with the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (1200m) on 30 March, before the focus shifts to Singapore for the KrisFlyer International Sprint (1200m) on 18 May.
The United Kingdom hosts a trio of sprints in June and July with the King's Stand Stakes (1000m) on 17 June, the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) on 21 June, both at Royal Ascot, and the Darley July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket on 12 July.
The series then returns to Japan for the Sprinters Stakes (1200m) on 5 October, before the second Australian leg, the VRC Sprint Classic (1200m), is held at Flemington on Saturday, 8 November.
The final chance for sprinters to claim GSC glory comes on 14 December when Hong Kong wraps up the series with the LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) at Sha Tin.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014 The Championships target for Dear Demi

Top class Sydney mare Dear Demi will be aimed at the jewel in the crown of The Championships – the $4million Group 1-Queen Elizabeth Stakes [2000m] – run at Royal Randwick on April 19. Warwick Farm trainer Clarry Conners said he is keen on tackling the prestigious race with last year's Australian Oaks runner-up and 2012 Victoria Oaks winner. The mare is scheduled to start off her autumn program in the $150,000 Gr 3-Wiggle Stakes [1400m] on her home track [Warwick Farm] on Saturday March 8, before heading to the $600,000 Gr 1-Coolmore Classic [1500m] at Rosehill Gardens a fortnight later. Dear Demi will then tackle the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday April 19, on a day that boasts a whopping $8.6m in prizemoney. "I am very pleased with the way she's come back," Conners said. "The Queen Elizabeth looks the perfect race for her this preparation and she goes well at Randwick. She's a horse that thrives on racing and is very sound." Dear Demi had an easy barrier trial over 795m at Warwick Farm last Friday, when she ran home nicely for fourth to her speedy stablemate Satin Shoes with James McDonald aboard. Dear Demi has finished placings in three Group One races at Royal Randwick – the Australian Oaks [2400m, behind Royal Descent], the Flight Stakes [1600m, Norzita] and the Champagne Stakes [1600m, Pierro]. However, the four-year-old is not a bridesmaid at the course, having won the Gr 3-Fernhill Handicap [1600m] in April of 2012. Dear Demi is returning from an excellent spring campaign despite not winning a race in six outings, having finished placings in three Group One events: the Mackinnon Stakes [2000m, to Side Glance], the Caulfield Cup [2400m, Fawkner] and the Underwood Stakes [1800m, It's a Dundeel].

Mornington Cup Preview
Brad Bishop | 12 Feb 2014

The Sportingbet Mornington Cup is Australia’s richest cup race run at a non-metropolitan venue.

The 2400-metre event, worth $350,000, is also the only race run outside the Spring Racing Carnival in Australia that provides the winner with a guaranteed spot in the following spring’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).

Laidback Larry TAB Rewards Hcp 500

And this year’s edition has gathered without doubt its strongest field yet. Headed by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Travolta (60kg), this year’s race also includes rising stars Prince of Penzance, a winner of five of his nine starts, and Laidback Larry (pictured), who has won five from 10.

Racing Victoria’s General Manager – Racing Operations, Paul Bloodworth, said the 2014 Mornington Cup field was evidence that the concept was a winner.

“This year’s Mornington Cup is highlighted by the presence of a number of exciting staying prospects, combined with some established performers, which continues the evolution of the race from a Caulfield Cup point of view,” Bloodworth said.

“Trainers appear to be increasingly eager to get a hold of that lucrative ballot exemption and while the first two horses that were eligible did not take up the option, last year’s Mornington Cup winner Tuscan Fire utilised it and ran a credible race in the Caulfield Cup.

“It would fabulous for the Mornington Cup if today’s winner was there battling it out in the Caulfield Cup in eight months’ time.”

Guyno and Norsqui, the 2011 and 2012 Mornington Cup winners, did not go on to contest the Caulfield Cup, but last year’s winner Tuscan Fire took up his spot and finished 12th behind Fawkner in the Melbourne Racing Club feature.

A Caulfield Cup start became even more enticing last week when the MRC announced that this year’s edition would be run for $3 million – a $500,000 increase on last year.

This year’s Sportingbet Mornington Cup will be the last run in the current timeslot with the race to move to the final Saturday in March from next year.

Bloodworth pointed out that the change of date would open up the race to a new range of horses, going from almost a month before the Australian Cup to a fortnight after it and provided another option for horses coming through established staying series over late summer, early autumn.

“Next year’s Mornington Cup, which will be the feature of a stand-alone Saturday meeting, will allow stayers more time to prepare for the race post their Spring Racing Carnival commitments,” he said.

“It will also provide another feature for horses coming out of the Australian Cup as well as act as a Grand Final for horses coming through the Moonee Valley Night Cup and Roy Higgins Quality.”

The Darren Weir-trained Prince of Penzance, last-start winner of the Mornington Cup Prelude, heads TAB’s market at $3 from the Waterhouse-trained Laidback Larry ($4.60).

Laidback Larry’s stablemate Travolta, a dual Listed winner this campaign who heads the weights at 60kg, is a $5.50 chance with the Robert Smerdon-trained four-year-old Cooldini ($7.50) and Chris Waller-trained imports He’s Your Man ($9) and Instrumentalist ($11) also in contention.

The Sportingbet Mornington Cup is the headline act on a bumper day that offers $1 million in prizemoney.

It also features the $250,000 Inglis Premier (1200m), in which Paul Perry’s Modoc ($3) and local hope Grande Rosso ($3.40) head betting, while the other Black Type event is the $120,000 Listed Iveco Hareeba Stakes (1200m) with Knoydart ($3.40) and Richie’s Vibe ($3.60) battling out favouritism.

11/2/2014 Latest trackwork from the Gai Waterhouse stables
Article courtesy of trainer Gai Waterhouse Trackwork Sat 8th and Monday 10th Feb 2014

As well as winning four races on Saturday, Gai was of course up at 2am to see the majority of her good horses go through their paces at the morning's trackwork. Here is a brief rundown of the Saturday trackwork and also a few of the better gallops from this morning 10 February.
Saturday Aussies Love Sport (Redoute's Choice x Miss Jakeo) was Tommy Berry's best. Star Thoroughbreds Equator (Northern Meteor x Sun Maid) was 'very nice' according to Brad Pengelly. Spurtonic (Flying Spur x Platonic) earned a 'fantastic' call from Blake Spriggs. Sweet Idea (Snitzel x Flidais) received a smiley face Tommy. Under The Sun (No Excuse Needed x Sleaking) was Tommy's second best. Tenby Lady (Anabaa x Bluebird Day) was Hugh Bowman's best. Vaquera (High Chaparral x The Mighty Lions) was Tim Clark's best. Liberty's Choice (Redoute's Choice x Liberty Rose) was Nash's best. Ragged Keys (Commands x Boca Chita) was Adam Hyeronimus' best. Pitcrew (Sebring x Pine Away) was Adam's second best. Precia (Testa Rossa x Involve) was Brad's best. Sheezalady (Duporth x Famous Courtisan) was Blake's best.
Monday 10 February Blake Shinn's best this morning was Raunchy Rocker (Fastnet Rock x Ranchy) who worked nicely over 600m coming home her last 200m in 11.5 seconds. It was a nice piece of work from the striking bay filly. Some of the other nice gallops this morning came from… Star Thoroughbreds Exceleine (Exceed And Excel x Vicereine) Star Thoroughbreds Masahiko (Haradasun x Saffie Darling) Rock Painter (Fastnet Rock x Paint By Numbers) Forever Loved (High Chaparral x Diamond Like)

Sam Doran | Mon, 10 Feb 2014

The $502,000 Group 1  Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) has lost none of its lustre after nominations closed today despite the race’s namesake being absent for the first time in three years.

And while a trio of Group 1 winners headline the nominations for the feature Flemington sprint, this year’s race is likely to spark plenty of debate with a pair of two-year-olds amongst entries. 

Boomwaa 500_305 (3)

Since Gay Vista took out the inaugural running of the Lightning Stakes in 1955, only three two-year-olds have been successful in the famous sprint classic. Misting (1958) the first and only colt to be triumphant, Ritmar (1959) the first filly, with Desirable (1976) carrying 43kgs the most recent.

Cranbourne trainer Robbie Laing had previously declared his intention of running Boomwaa (pictured) in the Lightning since the gelding’s runner-up placing in the Inglis Classic (1200m) at Randwick in mid-January so his appearance in the entries came as little surpirse.

However it is the nomination of the Team Hawkes galloper Bugatty that has created a stir.  A winner of two of his three career-starts, the son of Dreamscape tasted defeat for the first time on 1 February when second to Nayeli in the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

The pair, who will carry 46 kilograms under the weight-for-age scale, could face seasoned sprinters, including Group 1-winning mare Samaready from the Mick Price stable.

The daughter of More Than Ready has not been sighted since finishing down the track in the Group 1 Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) during the Spring Racing Carnival but boasts excellent fresh form with the outstanding record of two wins from three attempts.

Fellow Caulfield trainer Peter Moody has nominated three-year-olds Thermal Current and filly Brilliant Bisc. 

Flemington trainers are well represented with Mike Moroney entering African Pulse; Danny O’Brien nominating last year’s Group 1 Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) winner Shamexpress along with the David Hayes trained gelding Pago Rock. 

Bernabeu, a horse that had Shamexpress’ measure in a recent Flemington jumpout, is also prominent in the nominations for John O’Shea, with the gelding likely to return to the scene of his impressive Emirates Melbourne Cup Day win last spring.

Adelaide based horseman John Hyam is looking at the Lightning Stakes for his eight-year-old Esprit De Bullet.

Sydney trainer Lionel Cohen is likely to bring down Aeronautical.  The son of Encosta De Lago is no stranger to Melbourne having run third in the 2013 Newmarket Handicap behind Shamexpress.  Gerald Ryan has nominated Snitzerland while Guy Walter has entered Streama.

The Black Caviar Lightning Stakes is the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge and the highlight of a nine-race card on Saturday that includes the Listed Talindert Stakes (1100m), the Group 3 C.S Hayes Stakes (1400m) and the Group 3 Mitty’s Vanity (1400m).

First contested in 2005 the Global Sprint Challenge is a series of 10 Group 1 sprints across six racing jurisdictions.


Ben Asgari | 11 Feb 2014

Darren Weir has confirmed this morning that Prince Of Penzance will accept in Wednesday’s $350,000 Listed Mornington Cup (2400m).

Though a final decision hasn’t been made, Weir said it appeared likely that the exciting four-year-old would take his place on Wednesday in favour of the Launceston Cup (2400m) two weeks later.

Prince Of Penzance - Morn Cup Prelude 500

“The final decision will be left to his owner but at this stage Mornington is looking good,’ Weir said.

“He’s come through his win really good. Michelle (Payne) galloped him yesterday and he went well.”

 Though the Mornington Cup offers a ballot exempt position into October’s $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) for the winner, Weir said it hasn’t played a role in the decision.

“The plan was put in process a long time ago to head to either the Mornington or Launceston Cup,” he said. 

“Obviously if we did go to Mornington and he could qualify for the Caulfield Cup that would be a bonus.”

An impressive winner of the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m) at Caulfield last start, Prince Of Penzance is currently rated the $3.00 Mornington Cup favourite with Sportingbet.

Other key nominations in the lucrative country feature include the Gai Waterhouse-trained pair of Laidback Larry and Travolta, Chris Waller’s import duo He’s Your Man and Instrumentalist as well as Lord Stakes (1600m) winner Oregon Spirit.

One horse that definitely won’t be lining up for Weir at Mornington is exciting two-year-old Japhils.

An eye-catching winner on debut at Moonee Valley, Weir said the daughter of Choisir won’t be taking her place in Wednesday’s $250,000 Inglis Premier (1200m).  

“She’s just had enough this time in and is off to the paddock,” he said.

By Ben Asgari

11/2/2014 Scenic Blast a Special Guest at Perth MM Barrier Draw

Former Australian Racehorse of the Year Scenic Blast will have heads turning in Perth on Tuesday when he makes a special appearance at the inaugural Magic Millions Perth Barrier Draw function in the city.
The barrier draws for both feature Magic Millions races, boasting $350,000 in prizemoney, will be held at Forrest Place this Tuesday from 12 noon (Perth time). Final fields for both races have just been released and can be viewed HERE.
Scenic Blast, a former graduate of the Perth Yearling Sale, won Australia's two leading Group One sprint races in Melbourne - the Lightning Stakes and Newmarket Handicap - before flying to England and beating the best sprinters Europe could assemble in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Quality fields have emerged for both the $250,000 Magic Millions Perth 2YO Classic and the $100,000 Magic Millions Perth 3YO Trophy, with both races holding Restricted Listed black type.
Amongst the 15 acceptors for the Magic Millions Perth 2YO Classic are five last start metropolitan winners including the unbeaten Palace Intruder. Whilst the field of 14 for the Magic Millions 3YO Trophy is headlined by multiple stakes winner Petrol Power.
Star gallopers to have emerged from the races in past years include Scenic Shot, Playing God, Luckygray, Night War and Petrol Power.
What: Magic Millions Perth Barrier Draws
When: Tuesday, 11 February - 12 noon (Magic Millions Perth 2YO Barrier Draw to commence at 12.30pm and Magic Millions 3YO will follow thereafter)
Where: Forrest Place, Perth City (between Myer and old Post Office)
Who: Former Australian Horse of the Year and Perth Yearling Sale graduate Scenic Blast, leading trainers and jockeys and racing and breeding officials

Brad Bishop | Mon, 10 Feb 2014

When Stephen Baster heard there would be two-year-old representation in this year’s Black Caviar Lightning, to be run at Flemington this Saturday, he couldn’t help but think back to 1993.

That was the year that the jockey, a claiming apprentice at the time, partnered a juvenile in Australia’s only 1000-metre Group 1 event.

Schillaci And Clever Zoe (1993 Lightning , C Bull ) 500

Baster partnered the John Leek Jnr-trained Clever Zoe into second place, beaten by champion grey Schillaci (pictured), in what was the last time a two-year-old contested the Lightning.

He remembers it clearly for not only almost defeating a champion, but because of the shock to the system that it was for a young jockey who had never experienced weight-related issues.

“I reckon I would have been walking around probably 47 kilos at the time and she had 43 kilos but I rode her one over at 44,” Baster recalled.

“I think I only had a week’s notice and I’d never dieted or wasted in my life, so I had to try and drop four kilos in a week, which is a hell of a lot.

“But I did it OK. Obviously it would have dropped off me pretty quickly because I’d never done it before and I don’t remember feeling too bad.”

Baster went into the race with a plan to try and make use of the weight advantage. He scooted along in the lead aboard the daughter of Pompeii Court and it was only in the concluding stages that they were reeled in, narrowly denying Clever Zoe her spot in history.

The Colin Hayes-trained Desirable, the 1976 Lightning winner, is the last two-year-old to win the race.

“She flew along in front at a 100-mile-an-hour and the mighty Schillaci came up alongside me and got me probably at the 100m mark,” Baster said. “She did a good job.

“I haven’t seen many two-years-olds like her. She was more like a three-year-old, she a big strong thing and she was quite mature for a two-year-old.”

Clever Zoe, a nine-length winner of the Debutante Stakes on debut, had just three more starts after the Lightning. After choking down in the Blue Diamond Stakes she underwent a throat operation but her racetrack career was aborted after two unsuccessful comeback runs.

Baster is happy to leave the wasting to others this year with Dean Yendall to ride confirmed starter Boomwaa in the $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning, while Dean Holland will have the job aboard Bugatty if the Hawkes Racing colt runs.

“It’s always hard for the two-year-olds against the older sprinters, because they’ve got race experience on their side,” Baster said.

“That makes it hard, but the weight does make a big difference.”




Monday, 10 February 2014 Kiwi El Roca headed for The Championships

Exciting New Zealand three-year-old El Roca will jet into Sydney tomorrow primed for a crack at the huge prizemoney on offer during The Championships to be held at Royal Randwick in April.
Cambridge-based trainer Trent Busuttin is keen to tackle The Championships but is yet to decide on the exact path El Roca will follow.
"We have to remember this bloke has only had four starts so we're still a little unsure on his distance range," Busuttin said from New Zealand.
"I've pretty much entered him for everything – The Doncaster Mile [1600m], the Derby [2400m], the Sydney Cup [3200m]. You name it; I even entered him for the TJ Smith Stakes [1200m]."
El Roca is a highly-promising colt by Fastnet Rock who won his first two starts back home [Taupo, Ruakaka] before heading to Melbourne last spring where he was very competitive.
First-up he was second to Eclair Big Bang in the Group 3-Caulfield Guineas Prelude [1400m] before a sound fifth [beaten 6.2 lengths] to Long John, Divine Calling and subsequent WS Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in the Gr 1-Caulfield Guineas [1600m].
"We are very happy with him and he trialled nicely at Avondale last week," Busuttin said. "He'll land in Sydney tomorrow and will have his first run in the Eskimo Prince on Saturday [Rosehill Gardens, 15th February] with Hughie [Bowman] aboard.
"From there he will most likely go to the Hobartville a fortnight later [Rosehill] and then we'll play it by ear whether he steps right up in distance or not. Ideally we'd like him to be having his fifth start this campaign in the Doncaster Mile during The Championships."

Gosford Sunday Raceday Preview

Gary Harley’s Raceday Preview – February 9, 2014

Outstanding Kiwi jockey James McDonald, now firmly established amongst Sydney’s best, has seven rides at Gosford on Sunday with the Hawkes family’s Happy Meteor clearly his best. Happy Meteor will line up in race 6 the Mossy Maiden Plate (1100m) in which he is a short priced favourite.

A 3 year old son of the ill fated Northern Meteor, the gelding has only raced once and that was at Gosford in August. He sat outside the leader to the home straight where he raced clear only to be nailed on the post. Happy Meteor with McDonald aboard, easily won a recent barrier trial at Rosehill and he will prove difficult to catch over the 1100 metre trip.

Another jockey very busy on Sunday is Hugh Bowman who has a full book of eight rides. He rides Supreme Bella for Kim Waugh in race 2 the Flores Flava Class 2 Hcp (1200m) and the mare has a good chance.

Supreme Bella came from a long way back when runner up to Lyric on this track on 17 January but then she disappointed at Hawkesbury last start. The mare races well at Gosford and she has indicated that she is ready for the step up to 1200 metres on Sunday.

Bowman has also been booked for the Kris Lees trained Long Lasting in the final event the Ken Hawking Mariners Members Class 2 Hcp (1200m). Raced by Australian golfing legend Jack Newton and his rugby league playing son Clint amongst others, Long Lasting’s first up run at Wyong two weeks back was meritorious. It was the 4 year olds first run in more than a year and he finished second behind subsequent city winner Knight Templar. Long Lasting’s second up record is good and he is the one to beat.

Clarry Conners speedstar Kudero resumes from a spell in race 7 the Oooosssing Benchmark 65 Hcp (1000m) and he will be hard to catch. Tommy Berry rides the 3 year old for the first time and he was aboard when the gelding won a recent Warwick Farm barrier trial. Kudero was a winner on the track back in May.

My selections
Race 1 7 3 8
Race 2 2 1 4
Race 3 4 5 2
Race 4 13 14 1
Race 5 7 1 2
Race 6 5 4 2
Race 7 2 4 8
Race 8 2 5 7

9/2/2014 Orr Stakes Change of fortune

Moment Of Change keeps his perfect Caulfield record in tact

Run-of-outs broken with deserved Group 1 victory

Luke Nolen and Moment of Change celebrated a triumphant return to the Group 1 winner’s stall today at Caulfield.

The three-time Victorian Metropolitan Jockeys’ Premiership winner and consistent gelding both broke frustrating elite-level droughts with their victory in the $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).

It was Nolen’s first Group 1 since partnering Black Caviar to victory at her final racetrack appearance, in the T.J. Smith Stakes at Randwick last April, and Moment of Change’s first since his Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes win the previous September.

The five-year-old son of Barely A Moment survived a late charge from Eurozone score narrowly and provide Nolen, who only recently returned from a five-week freshen up, with his 34th Group 1 success.

“It’s been pretty well-publicised that I took a bit of time just to gather the thoughts – it probably was a good time to step away for a bit – so it was good to bounce back with a winner on a Group 1 day,” Nolen said.

It was the fourth time in the past five years Nolen has partnered a Moody-trained runner to Orr Stakes success, following back-to-back wins with Typhoon Tracy in 2010/11 and Black Caviar’s win two years ago.

Moment of Change deservedly joined them on the honour roll after a consistent run that saw him register seven top-four finishes at Group 1 level in between elite-level victories.

The Orr Stakes was the first time he’d started beyond 1200m since the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and Moody was pleased to see that result in breakthrough win.

“He’s had three runs at seven furlongs here now and he’s undefeated, so that probably speaks for itself,” Moody said.

“It has been a frustrating 12 months, when you get beat 10 times in Group 1s, but the horse has always returned a cheque and always done us very proud and to have him back here at home under these conditions today, it was good to see him salute.”

Moment of Change, who led at a solid tempo, scored by a short-half-head from Eurozone, narrowly denying Bart and James Cummings their maiden Group 1 success together with Shamus Award half-a-length back third.

The Cox Plate winner trailed Moment of Change in the run and did his chances no favours by hanging in in the straight but the colt’s trainer Danny O’Brien was satisfied with the effort.

“He probably just peaked a little bit late, which you’d expect when you’ve done all that work up on the speed,” O’Brien said.

“His target is the Guineas. He’s in great order for it now and he’ll more than likely go straight into that race now. He has had a tough run today, so three weeks into the Guineas will probably be perfect for him.”

The $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) is at Flemington on 1 March, while Moment of Change will next be seen in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) back at Caulfield seven days earlier.

The Orr Stakes success was part of a running double to close out the day for Moody and Nolen, who later combined to win the $150,000 Group 3 Routley’s Bakery Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) with A Time For Julia.

That victory completed a winning treble for Moody, who earlier produced underrated mare Spirits Dance to notch a winning hat-trick in the $135,000 Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m).

By Brad Bishop

9/2/2014 Diamond gems stand tall

Big guns fire to set up a “vintage” Blue Diamond Stakes

Mike Symons didn’t have a whole lot to smile about midway through this week, but the Melbourne Racing Club chairman was sporting a huge grin with good reason today at Caulfield.

The Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes meeting that appeared in jeopardy due to predicted temperatures of 40 degrees proceeded – from the earlier start time of 11am – without incident and the two most important horses, from the Blue Diamond marketers’ perspective at least, both won.

Boom Sydney youngsters Rubick and Earthquake both justified the hype with victory in their respective $150,000 Group 3 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preludes.

The efforts have the MRC understandably excited about the two weeks leading up to the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes on 22 February.

“It is exciting and I reckon we’re in for an absolute vintage Blue Diamond,” Symons said. “The two-year-old depth this season is just phenomenal.

“I think we’ll look back at 2014 and say yeah, ‘that was a vintage year’. It certainly feels like a vintage year, anyway.”

Rubick and Earthquake, who were both having their first start in Melbourne after brilliant Sydney debut wins either side of Christmas, were contrasting in their efforts but equally as impressive.

Earthquake overcame being posted wide early and wobbling around the turn to dominate her rivals late, while Rubick’s put a gap on his rivals early in the straight despite working hard for the first 400m to retain a prominent position.

Remarkably, they covered the 1100 metres of their Preludes in the identical time of 1:03.71.

In most other years Rubick’s trainer Gerald Ryan, a man who celebrated Blue Diamond victory with Hurricane Sky and Paint in the mid-1990s, could start planning the victory party for Blue Diamond night.

But not this year.

“We’ve got a really good colt and a really good filly, I reckon,” Ryan said. “It’s not done and dusted yet.

“You’re never across the line, especially in a Group 1, but he got a good pass mark with plenty of ticks today. He’ll improve off it.”

Rubick ($1.55 fav), a son of Encosta de Lago who was ridden to victory by Victorian-raised, Sydney-based jockey Brenton Avdulla, scored by one length from a game Jabali ($21), while Chivalry ($14) flashed home out wide to finish three-quarters-of-a-length away third.

Earthquake had 2-3/4 lengths to spare over Eloping at the end of the fillies’ Prelude, her final 200m – which rounded out a 34.33secs last 600m – the most impressive part of her race.

Trainer Peter Snowden was thrilled with the effort given things didn’t go to plan prior to straightening and is excited about what Diamond Day might hold.

“I was a bit surprised she wanted to wobble around the corner, she had her ears pricked and wanted to lay out a bit, which surprised me because she’s been down here about three weeks,” Snowden said.

“But she’ll take a lot from today’s run. The benefit from being around here (Caulfield) will be a big plus for in a fortnight.”

Earthquake, the $4.80 Blue Diamond second favourite with the TAB prior to the Preludes, is now the $2.40 top pick with Rubick in to $2.70 from his pre-Prelude quote of $2.80.

Last week’s Chairman’s Stakes winner Nayeli, who won’t start again before the Diamond, is at $10, with Chivalry and Nostradamus, the fourth placegetter in the colts and geldings’ Prelude, sharing the $12 fourth line. 

By Brad Bishop



8th February 2014
Simon Miller tries to make it back to back Listed wins with his mare Hussy By Choice on Saturday.

She runs in the Cyril Flowers over the 1200m in a race which is not that much different to that of the Miss Andretti Stakes when she trounced them.

Bouncing straight to the front that day from a wide draw, she has to do the same thing here but carries the same weight.

The daughter of Hussonet just does not know how to run a bad one.

The Blue Diamond series is hotting up now and Robert Smerdon has Lumosty engaged in the Fillies Prelude.

She was excellent on debut when up the inside and finishing a length from the winner. That horse Eloping had already had race experience so Robert’s Fastnet Rock filly was giving that away too.

In an opposite set of circumstances she draws out this time and this will be a much stronger edition than the Preview was.

It will provide a good pointer as to her prospects in the big one a fortnight later.

Tony Vasil’s Saturday runner is Salasun at Bendigo.

With the heat in Victoria over the weekend, the races have all been brought forward and it goes off around noon.

Over the 900m, this is the shortest race she has faced but she led and ran very well at Werribee in what was probably a stronger race.

Only one third of the big field has race experience so showing speed and being in front of most of them will only be a positive.

8/2/2014 Smoking Aces investigation

Racing Victoria (RV) has today announced its investigation into allegations of impropriety in connection with the race won by Smoking Aces at Cranbourne on 27 April, 2011, has concluded and that no charges will be laid under the Australian Rules of Racing.
Circumstances surrounding the Smoking Aces race resulted in the Victoria Police Purana Taskforce investigating criminal allegations of race fixing and money laundering.
RV's investigation into the Smoking Aces race commenced in August 2012, but was required to give precedence to the Victoria Police investigation until its conclusion in July 2013.
Victoria Police announced on 15 July, 2013 that that no criminal charges would be laid.
RV's investigation continued at this time and in September 2013 its investigative team received the information that Victoria Police could legally share with RV.
RV's investigation included more than 40 individual interviews, together with extensive analysis of wagering service provider records and the information provided by law enforcement agencies.
"Our investigation into the Smoking Aces race has concluded and no charges will be laid under the Australian Rules of Racing," RV's Chief Executive, Bernard Saundry, said.
"I would like to commend the work of our investigative team who have worked tirelessly and diligently on this case and I would also like to thank Victoria Police for their support during our investigation."

8/2/2014 Caulfield changes welcomed

Racing Victoria (RV) has welcomed the significant enhancements to the Caulfield Cup Carnival racing program announced today by the Melbourne Racing Club (MRC).
The MRC has unveiled a number of major changes to the October Carnival including increasing the Caulfield Cup prizemoney purse to $3 million, extending the payment of prizemoney from eighth to 10th position, and the installation of the Club's second $1 million three-year-old race.
RV's Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said MRC's investment in its flagship Carnival supported RV's Strategic Plan for the industry and would ensure the continued growth of the event both locally and internationally.
"Racing Victoria welcomes the Melbourne Racing Club's announcement and we congratulate the Club on its decision to reinvest its profits back into the industry with these prizemoney increases," Mr Carpenter said.
"The industry's three-year Strategic Plan released last November called for innovation of our racing calendar to promote growth across a number of sectors, including wagering, attendance,
prizemoney, viewership and the industry's digital assets, and this is an important and encouraging step in that direction by MRC.
"The Caulfield Cup is a world class race and the changes to its prizemoney structure will ensure that it remains one of the jewels of the Australian racing calendar.
"The changes to Caulfield's three-year-old features are innovative and we believe they will enhance the overall program for three-year-olds during the Spring Racing Carnival.
"The move of the Schweppes Thousand Guineas to BECK Caulfield Guineas Day will further strengthen what is traditionally an outstanding program which will now boast four Group 1 races."
Key changes to the MRC's Caulfield Cup Carnival racing program include:
• An increase of Caulfield Cup prizemoney to $3 million from $2.5 million, as well as an extension of prizemoney payment to 10th position (previously paid to eighth);
• A second $1 million MRC three-year-old race, to be called the Caulfield Classic (2000m) and held on Caulfield Cup Day, which revitalises the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m).
It will carry prizemoney of $750,000 and offer a further $250,000 bonus to the winners of the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m) and $500,000 Group 1 Schweppes
Thousand Guineas (1600m) if they can complete the double;
The Schweppes Thousand Guineas will move from its traditional position on the Wednesday to BECK Caulfield Guineas Day, four days earlier, to enable fillies the opportunity to run in
both classics;
• The feature of the Wednesday meeting, the second day of the three-day Caulfield Cup Carnival, will become the $250,000 Blue Sapphire (1200m) which was previously run on Guineas Day.

Shamus no Spring chicken
Ben Asgari | 07 Feb 2014

Craig Williams is particularly excited to be back aboard star three-year-old Shamus Award ahead of Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Though Williams wasn’t aboard the son of Snitzel when he famously broke his maiden in the Sportingbet Cox Plate, the globetrotting hoop did ride the colt at his first three runs during the Spring Racing Carnival.

Shamus Award Cox Plate 500

Having partnered him in both his work and trials leading into Saturday’s first up run, Williams said he can’t believe the physical improvement the three-year-old has made during his break.

“It’s amazing the way the horse has come back and the progression that he has made even from four weeks ago to this week,” Williams said. “I’m really looking forward to the race.

“He’s just a much more solid horse than he was all through his Spring campaign. He has just matured and has really filled out compared to how he was before.”

Despite being drawn in the outside barrier (eight), Williams said the draw buoyed his confidence rather than dented it.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Brad Bishop | 07 Feb 2014

Playing God’s swansong campaign is over before it began with the quality Western Australian galloper today scratched from Saturday’s Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield with a tendon injury.

The $400,000 Group 1 was scheduled to be the first start in a farewell campaign for the Neville Parnham-trained six-year-old, who will head to stud later this year.

Playing God 500

“I was looking forward to Saturday,” Parnham said. “He worked extremely well at Mornington on Tuesday morning but yesterday evening I wasn’t super happy and this morning we scanned his leg and confirmed he’s got a lesion there in the tendon.

“It’s one of these things that happen in the race game. We don’t like it, but it happens.

“He’s be retired now. He’s been a wonderful performer for the stable, he won almost $1.7 million and I’m happy to say we benefitted from having him in the stable.”

Playing God raced 42 times for eight wins, including back-to-back Kingston Town Classics in 2010 and 2011, while he was placed at Group 1 level in Melbourne in the Australian Cup and Australian Guineas, Turnbull Stakes and Orr Stakes.

A field of seven will now contest the Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes, which is Race 8 on the Caulfield card, to be run at 2.45pm.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Ben Asgari | 07 Feb 2014

Robbie Laing believes Polanski is a faster horse than when he won the AAMI Victoria Derby ahead of his return in Saturday’s $220,000 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m).

Though his best performance to date was in the classic staying test for three-year-olds, it’s hard to argue with Laing on the strength of Polanski’s recent barrier trial at Cranbourne.

Polanski Victoria Derby 500

Up against a quality field of sprinters that included Lankan Rupee, Unpretentious and Bel Sprinter, Polanski hit the line strongly to finish third just over three lengths behind the winner over 800m.

Drawn in the outside barrier of the ten horse field on Saturday, Laing said he was encouraged by the son of Rakti’s ever-improving speed.

“His speed has gotten better as he has gotten older, he’s getting quicker but that’s good because it means he might be a weight-for-age horse,” Laing said.

“Barrier ten of ten is not flash, he’s probably going to have to go forward but he trialled well enough and he has got enough ability to put himself right in it.

“First up last preparation in the Danehill Stakes (1200m), if you watch a replay of the race he was clipping the heels of the leaders and he could have led.”

Admitting he had originally thought of resuming in Saturday’s $400,000 Group 1 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m), Laing said there were a variety of reasons which swayed him to keep the colt against his own age.

“The Autumn Stakes is three hours earlier so it won’t be as hot and in the C.F. Orr nearly every horse is rated over 100 where as in his race apart from a couple at 78, all the other runners are rated 70 or below,’ he said.  

“I thought the Orr may have come up slightly weaker and I thought the Autumn Stakes would have been stronger.

“He’s out there to win but it won’t be a crushing first up run and he won’t have to burst his boiler against those weight for age horses like Moment Of Change and Shamus Award.”

After opening at $4.40 with TAB fixed odds, Polanski has been the best supported horse so far in the early betting firming into his current price of $3.

Despite losing promising sprinter Lord Of The Sky, who is set to head to the paddock, Polanski won’t be Laing’s only feature player over the upcoming weeks.

Laing confirmed Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) winning two-year-old Boomwaa will run in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 16, where he will carry just 46kg.

“When we saw how good the Blue Diamond was shaping up we thought we go back to the original plan and give him a crack at the Lightning down the straight,” Laing said.

“He’s won down the straight carrying 56.5kg so it will be a fair weight turnaround at weight for age.”

By Ben Asgari

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

7/2/2014 Baker eyes bigger prizes with Celtic Prince

Fresh from capturing his 100th win since arriving in Australia, trainer Bjorn Baker is looking to his homeland to provide the platform for his first Group One winner with progressive stayer Celtic Prince (NZ) on track for a tilt at the Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie on March 5.
The son of O'Reilly will step out in the Liberty International Underwriters Handicap (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday, with the race a crucial stepping stone to the two mile feature.
Baker left his co-training partnership with father Murray to chase "the riches of Australian racing" two years ago, and recently tasted his biggest win in his own right when Unencumbered (Testa Rossa) took out last month's $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic.
"Gee it'd be something to go back home with a horse that's done all his racing here and win the Auckland Cup," Baker said.
"There'll be a bit of banter between Dad and I no doubt, but it'd be fitting for my first Group One winner to be in New Zealand with a horse I've had from the start." Baker says Celtic Prince reminds him of former Group One galloper Harris Tweed (NZ) (Montjeu), who performed at the highest level in Australia for three seasons.
"Harris Tweed was exactly like this bloke. A scrawny sort of thing that wasn't the best eater but then as he got older he starting enjoying the feed bin more and more and turned into a machine.
"He ended up running second in a Caulfield Cup and fifth in the Melbourne Cup on two occasions.
"The resemblance between these two is uncanny."
The four-year-old has won four races this preparation, something that Baker says is testament to the ability the gelding possesses.
"What we've learnt this campaign is he is a true stayer.
So you need to assess his overall record over the staying trips and aside from the Queensland Derby where I think he should've run second to Hawkspur (Purrealist), his record only
has one blotch on it and that was his final run last campaign when he'd had enough," Baker said.

7/2/2014 Silent Achiever on target for Gr.1

Roger James has major autumn goals in Sydney for Silent Achiever (NZ) (O'Reilly), but not before she attempts to add to her Group One record at Ellerslie.
The Gr.1 New Zealand Stakes on March 8 is her first target and the O'Reilly mare trialled pleasingly over 1200 metres at Avondale on Tuesday in preparation for her return to racing.
"She won quite nicely and had her ears pricked," James said. "The track was nicely-watered and it was a good hit-out for her –she's coming to hand well."
Silent Achiever will resume at Ellerslie over 1500 metres on February 15 as a lead-in to the NZ Stakes and then on to Sydney.
"She'll run in the Ranvet, two weeks later in The BMW and then the Sydney Cup," James said.
The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Youngtrained El Roca (Fastnet Rock) was the high-profile winner of the other 1000 metre heat at Avondale.
He is expected to resume in the Listed Eskimo Prince Stakes at Rosehill on February 15 with his first Group One test to come in the Randwick Guineas a month later.

6/2/2014 Wyong Race Club Limited – Appointment of temporary administrator

Racing NSW has appointed Mr John Rouse as temporary administrator of Wyong Race Club Limited pursuant to section 14(2)(g) of the Thoroughbred Racing Act 1996 (NSW) effective from 9am on Thursday 6th February 2014.
The appointment of Mr John Rouse is temporary pending the outcome of a Show Cause Notice which will address a number of concerns that have arisen with Wyong Race Club.
Racing NSW is committed to ensuring that the right outcome is reached for the Board of Wyong Race Club, its members and the NSW thoroughbred racing industry. In order to ensure that Wyong Race Club is afforded proper procedural fairness and natural justice, Racing NSW will not be commenting on this matter any further at this stage


The sidelining of Kerrin McEvoy for another week because of his ongoing knee injury has opened the way for Tim Clark to take the ride on the Peter Snowden trained Aspen in the NBN Cannonball (1350m) at Wyong today.

McEvoy has been aboard Aspen in eight of her 10 starts including her close up sixth behind Champollion in the Group Three Baillieu at Rosehill last April and again at her latest start when third behind Define and Mr Jackman in Saturday class at Randwick last month.

That run was a good pointer to this race with the filly racing in second place for most of the trip, a change from her recent pattern.

Today she should again be able to adopt a similar pattern from gate two.

Local interest will be focused on the Stephen Schofield trained Beaveroo (Serg Lisnyy) and the Jeff Englebrecht trained Power Shot (Grant Buckley).

Beaveroo has been racing consistently in easier company than this but his last start third at Newcastle was a good pointer.

He ran into some interference at the 900 metres then had to switch around the heels of another runner in the straight yet was still beaten only one and a half lengths.

Power Shot was specked in the market at a Wyong meeting last month but was scratched at the barrier when she became fractious and struck her head.

She has since trialed satisfactorily, finishing third at Newcastle last Monday.

Hugh Bowman was to have ridden Power Shot in that race but has switched away from her today to ride the Paul Perry trained Guderian, a winner at Newcastle three starts back.


1-1.20, EATON BUILDING MATERIALS 3YO C AND G MAIDEN, 1000m: MON GATEAU 1, Eager 2, Sweet Moochi 3, Loyal Toast 4.

2-1.55, METAL BY THE METRE MAIDEN, 1200m: MR RAINMAKER 1, Never Fazed 2, Strength 3, Azzurayer 4.

3-2.30, WYONG MAZDA 3 CLASS TWO, 1600m: VIVA LISBOA 1, The Explorer 2, Rivariva 3, Double Power 4.

4-3.05, GOSFORD AIR CONDITIONING MAIDEN, 1200m: EMERGE 1, Glenbawn Dame 2, Electra 3, Oxford Art 4.

5-3.40, MEGASAVE CHEMIST 3YO FILLIES MAIDEN, 1000m: CASTIGATE 1, Glenbawn Dame 2, War Princess 3, Asscher 4.

6-4.20, NBN TELEVISION CANNONBALL, 1350m: ASPEN 1, July Opera 2, Fast And Sexy 3, Beaveroo 4.

7-5.00, SUNNYLAKE SHORES CLASS ONE, 1100m: WONDERBOLT 1, Fimatino 2, Jack The Ringer 3, Destiny Rising 4.

8-5.40, NBN CENTRAL COAST TELEVISION CLASS ONE, 1350m: IL MIO DESTINO 1, Cassano 2, Electrician 3, Mendelssohn 4.

Best Bets: Mon Gateau, Wonderbolt.   

By Grahame Timbrell

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

History Says – Orr Stakes

Brad Bishop | Wed, 06 Feb 2014

History says, to borrow a saying popular with tipsters, whatever beats Shamus Award home in Saturday’s Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield will win the $400,000 Group  1.

No three-year-old might have won the Orr and Cox Plate, as Shamus Award famously did in October, in the same season since the Orr attained Group 1 status in 1993 but not many have had a crack.

All Too Hard - Orr Stakes 500

In fact, Savabeel is the only one to have tried, finishing second behind Elvstroem in 2005.

Most of the older Cox Plate winners who have contested the Orr in the past two decades have also finished top-two.

Four other Cox Plate winners have had a crack at the Orr in that time and Northerly’s fourth behind Yell in 2003 is the only time one hasn’t filled a quinella spot.

Northerly also resumed in the Orr in 2002, following his initial Cox Plate success, finishing second to Barkada, while Saintly and Maldivian are the other Cox Plate winners to run in the Orr in the same season since 1993 and they both completed the double.

All up, eight Cox Plate winners have won the Orr Stakes – which was first run in 1925 – in the same season, although filly Surround is the only three-year-old to have achieved the feat.

All Too Hard registered a win for the three-year-olds last season (pictured), arresting a nine-year drought for the generation that won all six Orr Stakes between 1998 and 2003.

Eurozone is the only other three-year-old engaged in this year’s Orr following Robbie Laing’s last-minute decision to keep Polanski to his own age group in the Autumn Stakes.

Eurozone and Shamus Award are both first-up and that has been the winning formula in the Orr Stakes in recent years with seven of the past 10 winners being first up from a spell.

The other three were second-up after resuming in the Group 2 Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley, a formline Moment of Change takes into this year’s race.

The Peter Moody-trained Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner opened favourite with the TAB and the Orr has also been a fabulous race for favourite backers with 18 of the past 31 winners starting popular elect, including the past four.

One of the support races has also been good to those who fancy runners at the top of betting charts with five of the past six winners of the $220,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) going around favourite.

Victoria Derby hero Polanski is likely to occupy that honour this year but you have to go back to King’s High (1989) to find the last VRC Derby winner to win the Autumn Stakes.

It’s also uncommon for the Autumn Stakes to be won by a horse resuming from a spell. Since it became a 1400m race in 1987, only three winners have been first-up with the past six winners all having had at least two runs back.

Last-start Tasmanian Guineas placegetter Countersnip is the only one of this year’s field of 10 who enters the Autumn Stakes with at least two runs under his belt, while Peter Snowden’s Carillo is the only other runner not having his first run back from a break.

The other Group 2 on the Caulfield card is the $175,000 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m), which will be run at Group 2 level for the first time this year, and the past 11 editions of the set-weights-and-penalties event have been won by a horse carrying saddlecloth one, two or three.

The Rubiton Stakes has also been a race for seasoned campaigners with all but one of the past 12 winners at least five years of age, including Bomber Bill, who won it as a 10-year-old in 2006.

Excelorada (6yo), First Command (8yo) and Pocket Rockets (6yo) are those older than four in this year’s race with Perth raider Excelorada (No 2) the only one in the top three names listed in field order.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Stunning Orr Stakes Day assembly

Brad Bishop | Wed, 06 Feb 2014

It wouldn’t be often the first-up runs of the Cox Plate and Victoria Derby winners have to take a back seat to the appearance of a couple of lightly-raced youngsters, but it could be the case at Caulfield on Saturday.

Buzz Sydney two-year-olds Rubick and Earthquake will put their Blue Diamond credentials on the line when they tackle a couple of fascinating Sportingbet Blue Diamond Preludes.

Rubick (bradleyphotos .com .au ) 500

The pair, who both recorded similarly exciting debut wins in Sydney, will round out their preparations for Victoria’s premier juvenile event in their respective $150,000 Group 3 events.

The Gerald Ryan-trained Rubick, an explosive winner on debut at Randwick on 25 January (pictured), tackles a colts and geldings qualifier that has brought together the four males most prominent in the TAB’s Blue Diamond market.

Nostradamus ($10, barrier 18), Chivalry ($13, 16) and Francesco ($15, three) will lock horns with the $3 Diamond favourite, who will start from gate two, along with Blue Diamond Preview winner Mohave ($18, six).

The colts and geldings Prelude is Race 6 (at 1.35pm) on a Caulfield card that has been brought forward due to an expected top temperature of 40 degrees with the first race to be run at 11am.

The fillies’ event, which is Race 5, heralds the appearance of $4.80 Blue Diamond second favourite Earthquake – from barrier five – who has not been to the races since her dazzling win at Randwick on 9 November.

The Peter Snowden-trained daughter of Exceed And Excel also has slick field to contend with, including unbeaten Preview winner Eloping (three), Listed winner Golconda (seven), highly-rated South Australian Piacenza (two) and Singularity (10), who finished close behind Earthquake in a Cranbourne trial last Thursday.

The Diamond Preludes add intrigue to a card headlined by the first Group 1 of the year, the Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m), in which Shamus Award will have his first start since his upset win in last year’s Cox Plate.

The Danny O’Brien-trained colt will launch a campaign aimed at the $500,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in the $400,000 Orr, in which he has drawn the outside barrier in the field of eight.

The three-year-old is one of five Group 1 winners in a field that also includes last year’s beaten Caulfield Cup favourite Hawkspur (barrier one), his Chris Waller-trained stablemate Foreteller (two), Victoria’s Moment of Change (seven) and Western Australian Playing God (four).

Zipping Classic winner Sertorius (three), last-start John Dillon Stakes winner Finishing Card (five) and Bart and James Cummings-trained three-year-old Eurozone (six) round out the Orr field.

Derby winner Polanski was expected to also line up in the Orr, but trainer Robbie Laing made a last-minute decision to switch to the $220,000 Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes on the same card.

The $4000 buy will now renew hostilities with Derby third placegetter Thunder Fantasy, another talented Sydneysider in Rock Hero and untapped locals Accord, Pyrrolic and Bardem in the Autumn Stakes, which is also over 1400m.

It is not the only Group 2 on the Caulfield card, with Oakleigh Plate contenders Better Than Ready, Lankan Rupee and Lion of Belfort heading the field for the $175,000 Sportingbet Rubiton Stakes (1100m).

The Group races don’t end there with the $150,000 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m), $135,000 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) and $150,000 Routley’s Bakery Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) to be run at Group 3 level.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

6/2/2014 Owner issued with two charges

Stewards have issued charges against a registered part-owner as part of their investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds

Racing Victoria (RV) has today issued the first charges arising from its extensive investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds and the conduct of its racehorse ownership business.

Registered owner Joe Zaiter has been issued with two charges by RV Stewards for alleged breaches of the Australian Rules of Racing.

Mr Zaiter has been charged with two breaches of AR 175(gg) which reads: “The Committee of any Club or the Stewards may penalise any person who makes any false or misleading statement or declaration in respect of any matter in connection with the administration or control of racing.”

The particulars of Charge 1 allege that Mr Zaiter failed to declare a criminal conviction when registering his part-ownership of six horses between about 1 April 2010 and 1 September 2013.

Under the Fitness and Propriety Section of the Horse Registration or Transfer of Ownership Forms, all individuals are required to notify the relevant Principal Racing Authority if they have been convicted of or have a pending charge against them for any offence involving violence against a person or dishonest or criminal activity in the past 10 years.

In about 2006, Mr Zaiter was convicted of a criminal offence related to the importation of cocaine into Australia and was sentenced to one year imprisonment.

The particulars of Charge 2 are that Mr Zaiter made false and misleading statements regarding his criminal history to RV Stewards during the course of their investigation.

The charges against Mr Zaiter will be heard by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary (RAD) Board on a date to be fixed.

RV’s investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds remains on-going. To date over 40 people have been interviewed and more than one million pieces of data, including emails, financial transactions and company documents, have been collected for analysis by RV investigators who are working with forensic IT and financial specialists.  


5th February 2014
Robert Smerdon has one runner at home on Wednesday in the form of Jade’s Boy.

He ran so well at Flemington when leading and drops back to a midweek race against seemingly inferior opposition.

The colt does go up in weight and to the mile for the first time but he’s had a little soft trial in between and will be primed.

Many Encosta De Lago’s thrive on racing and often once out to the mile as well.

Simon Miller has three Ascot runners and they come up in the last three races.

The first of them is Livorno Express who is second up and is off a month’s break. At her first run for the stable, she sat second last and rocketed home over the 1000m.

This time she is over 100m further and in a slightly easier race but that means she has to carry the 58kg.

Dry ground seems to be what she needs to show her best.

Next up is the debuting Eurosun. Straight into a RS1MW race, the gelding by Haradasun has had two trials for this.

He draws a nice middle barrier to go wherever needed which will be important in such a big field. There should be good speed on and most Haradasun’s are looking for more of that.

In a very even race, he can run well.

Finally to Jolly Moss who is simply flying at the moment. He backed up from last week when he sat wide all the way and thrashed a Rst68 line-up.

On that performance, the extra furlong looks to be no drama as he nearly ran that on the day.

A winner of three of his last five, he goes best sitting up on the speed and accelerating and that option looks a good one to follow again.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Price pair set for Rubiton clash

Ben Asgari | Wed 05 Feb 2014

Mick Price has confirmed progressive three-year-old Lion On Belfort will clash against stable mate Lankan Rupee in Saturday’s $175,000 Group 3 Rubiton Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield.

Price said the pair could potentially meet in their next four races including a trio of Group 1 sprints.

Lion Of Belfort Blue Sapphire Stakes 500

 “I can’t split their programs at this stage because the Rubiton leads into the Oakleigh Plate (1100m), which leads into the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) which leads into the William Reid Stakes (1200m),” Price said.

“There’s good racing in Melbourne for these horses with the four sprint runs but I suppose we’ll just have to feel our way with them.

“I was going to try and run Lion Of Belfort in the Hareeba to split them apart but it wasn’t working with how I wanted to plan his preparation.

“He galloped this morning and had a bit of a blow which is another reason why I wanted to keep him for the Hareeba but if I keep him for the Hareeba it makes everything a bit messy.

“They’ve both only had one trial each so they might be a little vulnerable first up but that’s OK because they’ll both improve a lot.”

After winning his maiden at Geelong in September, Lion Of Belfort underlined his potential stringing together three victories in his first preparation before finishing third behind  Zoustar in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Derby Day.

Lankan Rupee on the other hand has been a revelation since returning as a gelding in October.

In four runs over the Spring Racing Carnival the blueblood son of Redoute’s Choice recorded a narrow victory over Snitzerland at Flemington before a dominant win in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield, with his only “miss” coming when he pulled up with the thumps.

Coming off an impressive trial victory at Cranbourne on Friday, Price said he was narrowly leaning to Lankan Rupee ahead of his younger stable mate.

“I think Lankan is will put himself there to win, he’s more forward and is going to hit the line well,” he said.

“He’s a four-year-old gelding so he’s uncomplicated and he’s big and strong and sound and tough. He also carries no issues apart from the fact that he needs to be fit enough.

“He flies the gates and puts himself there like a good sprinter but I’d just love to see him relax a little bit better and not be compromised at the finish.”

Lion Of Belfort is currently rated a $9 chance with TAB fixed odds in the $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8, with Lankan Rupee at $13.  

Among a particularly strong team of runners on his home track, Price will also be represented by imports Pakal and Bit Of Hell in Saturday’s Group 3 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m).

A six length first up winner over the same course and distance in August, Price said Pakal was on a path towards the Group 1 Darley Australian Cup (2000m).

“He’s had a 1550m trial and Glen Boss worked him on the course proper this morning where he beat Bit Of Hell,” Price said.

“I don’t think he’s as fit as when he won first up during the Spring but if he can relax and just be held up for one last burst then he’ll run really well.”

By Ben Asgari 

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Ben Asgari | Wed, 05 Feb 2014

Adelaide-based trainer Lloyd Kennewell believes Silent Whisper may be the horse to upset the favourites in Saturday’s $150,000 Group 3 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (1200m) at Caulfield.

Sixth in the $250,000 Inglis Banner (1000m) on debut, the son of I Am Invincible then finished third in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1200m) before resuming from a brief spell with a third place finish at Morphettville behind the promising Duckworth and Piacenza.

Lloyd Kennewell And El Magico 500

Though he has yet to win in three starts, Kennewell said the son of I Am Invincible’s record should read better than it does.

“He has probably got himself beaten a couple of times through greenness,” Kennewell told RSN.

“He has always shown us a fair bit of ability and he probably should have won on debut at Moonee Valley.

“Each start he has been slowly away from the barriers and that has been his biggest problem.”

Set to be partnered by South Australian hoop Joe Bowditch on Saturday, Kennewell said he was banking on a key gear change to help get the gelding across the line.

“The big key Saturday will be getting him to jump cleanly hence the reason the blinkers are going on first time,” he said.

“He had a really good hit out this morning where he ran really good time and it was basically the best work he has done so far. He had the blinkers on and he seemed to be much sharper and really concentrating.

“I wanted to save the blinkers for this sort of race. He’s the sort of horse that if he can stalk the leaders and get a good run on the back of the speed around Caulfield, if there’s any chink in the armour of the favourites he’ll be the one finishing off over the top of them hopefully.”

Likely to face the likes of boom Sydney colt Rubick, impressive debut winner Nostradamus and Mark Kavanagh’s Chivalry, Kennewell said he wasn’t underestimating the size of the task at hand.

“He’s going to need to be on his game Saturday because it’s probably the best Blue Diamond Prelude in twenty years,” Kennewell said.

“If we can finish strongly in that, we should be able to finish strongly in the Blue Diamond.”

Silent Whisper is currently rated an $81 chance in the Blue Diamond Stakes with TAB fixed odds, who have Rubick rated the $3 favourite ahead of Earthquake ($4.80), Nayeli ($7.50) and Nostradamus ($10).

By Ben Asgari

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

5/2/2014 Latest trackwork from the Gai Waterhouse stables
Article courtesy of Gai Waterhouse stables Trackwork [03/02/2014]

Amanpour (Northern Meteor x Newscaster) continues to work well and this morning was no exception. The filly was 'very good' according to jockey Tim Clark in her work over 1400m culminating in an 11.5 second final 200m. Amanpour is reproducing her trackwork at the races and another win is not far away. Tim gave the old boy Star Thoroughbreds Kinnersley (Al Maher x Miss Radiant) a smiley face after the gelding worked well over 1400m coming home his last 200m in 11.6 seconds. 'Super' was the word Tim used on jumping down from seven-year-old who is primed for a great run most likely on Saturday at Randwick. He has really improved over the last few weeks. 'Flying' is what Steve O'Halloran said after getting off Our Desert Warrior (Desert King x High Heels). The gelding indeed did fly this morning over 1400m coming home his last 200m in a scorching 10.9 seconds. This gelding has plenty of 'boom' about him and he will be back at the races very soon. Tommy Berry feels Order of the Sun (Encosta de Lago x Sequin) is 'ready' after the colt worked really nicely over 1400m coming home his last 200m in 11.4 seconds. Long Shadow (Lonhro x Grand Mosque) continues to thrive this time in with a stunning gallop this morning over 1400m. Steve rated the work as 'very good'. Steve was especially impressed with the last 200m which was completed in 10.8 seconds. This mare is getting very close to a win and belongs in the blackbook. 'Feels great' is what jockey Jason Lee said after dismounting from Star Thoroughbreds Mr Jackman (Northern Meteor x Miss Broadway) this morning. This boy has been lugging huge weights lately and he has been running really well. This morning the gelding worked over 1200m coming home his last 200m in 11.5 seconds. Upon dismounting from Star Thoroughbreds Law (Denman x Lady Cat), Steve said one word and that word was 'wins.' This is great news for one of the most talented youngsters around. Law is nominated for Saturday at Randwick, but we will have to wait until Wednesday to see where Gai goes with the Breeders' Plate winner. Twirl (Lonhro x Cirque du Soleil) has 'come through her run well' according to Tommy Berry who rode the filly over 600m coming home their last 200m in 10.9 seconds. Yes, Twirl ran into a smart one on debut, but she sure did run on well and she will continue to improve with more experience. Nash Rawiller declared that Valentia (Fastnet Rock x Smart Company) 'feels great' which is fantastic news because like Twirl, this colt was very impressive on debut behind a really smart one. The son of Fastnet Rock worked over 600m coming home his last 200m in 11.4 seconds. If trials are a good indication for the future then Hampton Court (Redoute's Choice x Roses 'N' Wine) belongs on page one of the blackbook. And he will not have to be in there for long either because he is entered to race on Wednesday. In his first trial, this colt finished an inch behind impressive debut winner Mr Cha Cha. Then in his second trial he beat Law and Twirl. He will be exceptionally hard to beat on Wednesday based on these trials and his ever improving trackwork.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Tuesday, 4 February 2014 Red Tracer barrier trials well at Rosehill

Ultra-consistent mare Red Tracer showed she is right on target to tackle one of the feature races at The Championships in April, with an excellent barrier trial performance at Rosehill Gardens this morning.
Red Tracer is prepared by premier trainer Chris Waller who had a trio of classy mares compete in heat three today with the 900-metre trial won by speed machine Snitzerland, who scored by six lengths in 52.3 seconds.
Red Tracer – a dual Group One winner of $2.1million – is being aimed at the $1m Group 1-Queen of the Turf Stakes [1600m] run on day two of The Championships at Royal Randwick on Saturday 19 April.
"She is as honest as they come," Waller's racing manager, Liam Prior, said today. "Her trial was great [finishing 5th]. We didn't ask her to do much over the latter stages and Nash [Rawiller] let her run to the line at her own steam.
"She will possibly resume in the Breeders Classic on February 15 then go to the Millie Fox on March 1 with the Queen of the Turf during The Championships her main goal."
Red Tracer trialled with stablemates Catkins [Hugh Bowman, 4th] and She's Clean [Jay Ford, 6th]: "We were very happy with Catkins' trial. She is also marked down for the Breeders Classic and down the track maybe the Coolmore Classic," Prior said.
"Hugh was very pleased with the way She's Clean let down in her trial. She is going really well and is likely to run in the Triscay Stakes on February 22. All three mares have returned in great shape and we're looking forward to them resuming."

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

In Orr of Caulfield entries
James Tzaferis | Mon, 03 Feb 2014

Seven Group 1 winners, including the winners of last year’s Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m), Victoria Derby (2500m) and Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), feature among a select list of entries for Saturday’s Group 1 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Danny O’Brien’s star three-year-old Shamus Award could return to the races for the first Victorian Group 1 feature of 2014, potentially providing punters with their first glimpse of the horse since he sensationally broke his maiden in October’s Cox Plate.

Shamus Award Cox Plate 500

Fairytale colt Polanski, a $4000 yearling buy who claimed the Group 1 Victoria Derby for Robbie Laing during the spring, is also expected to kick-off a campaign aimed at adding the Group 1 ATC Derby (1400m) to his growing list of triumphs.

A trio of Chris Waller-trained gallopers, including dual Group 1 hero Foreteller, one-time BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) favourite Hawkspur and recent stable acquisition Sizzling, feature in the potential line-up for which entries have been extended until 10am tomorrow.

Adding intrigue to the potential final field are popular Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) winner Sertorius, untapped Bart and James Cummings-trained colt Eurozone and consistent sprinter Moment Of Change, Group 1 placed at his last three starts.

While the Orr Stakes carries top billing on Caulfield’s feature-packed nine-race program, the Group 3 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) for the colts and geldings looms as another obvious highlight.

Current TAB Blue Diamond favourite Rubick, a debut winner at Randwick for Gerald Ryan and Brenton Avdulla, is expected to make his much-anticipated Melbourne debut as is the Gai Waterhouse-trained Wanted colt Francesco.

Team Hawkes’ blueblood Nostradamus is set to reappear after an effortless Flemington debut on 18 January, as is Mark Kavanagh’s leading Diamond hope Chivalry who has enjoyed some time in the paddock following his stunning Moonee Valley win on 28 December.

Other juveniles of note among the 23 entries for the race include Robbie Laing’s Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) winner Boomwaa, unbeaten South Australian galloper Duckworth, Darley’s impressive debut winner Mohave and Jabali, out of the astute Mick Price yard.

Darley filly Earthquake commands the most attention in the fillies division of the Blue Diamond Prelude after a stunning Randwick debut in November.

A narrow runner-up in a Cranbourne trial last week, the daughter of Exceed And Excel is one of 12 entries for the race that has also attracted the likes of last-start Listed winner Eloping, Stakes-winning filly Golconda and exciting daughter of Denman, Piacenza.

The $175,000 Rubiton Stakes (1100m), to be run at Group 2 level for the first time on Saturday, has attracted a list of entries indicative of its status upgrade.

The exciting Mick Price-trained pair of Lankan Rupee and Lion Of Belfort headline Victorian interest in the race alongside new stablemate, former star Western Australian sprinting mare Power Princess.

Stakes-winning Queenslander Better Than Ready could begin another preparation aimed at Melbourne’s feature Group 1 summer-autumn sprints on Saturday, while consistent South Australian speedster Pock Rockets is also prominent in the 11 nominations.

The $222,750 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m) also carries Group 2 status and, in addition to dual nominees Polanski and Eurozone, has attracted entries from unbeaten Mick Kent-trained duo Accord and Pyrollic, as well as Victoria Derby third placegetter Thunder Fantasy.

Other highlights on the Caulfield Family Day card that kicks off Relaxed Racing are the Group 3 Kevin Hayes Stakes (1200m) for the three-year-old fillies, the Group 3 Herald Sun Carlyon Cup (1600m) and the Group 3 Programmed Property Services Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) for the mares.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

James Tzaferis | Mon, 03 Feb 2014

South Australian-based jockey Dominic Tourneur is looking forward to the next month of racing in Melbourne after the return win of exciting three-year-old Hucklebuck.

Tourneur partnered the Phillip Stokes-trained gelding to an impressive first-up victory in the Dominant Handicap (1200m) at Morphettville on Saturday with the son of Elvestroem on track for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on 1 March.

Hucklebuck _Gothic Stakes _500x 305

Tourneur took great satisfaction from the win, noting class was what saw an underdone Hucklebuck stave off a challenge from promising rival Kushadasi, with the pair clearing out on the rivals in the closing stages of the race.

“He was a bit soft going into it and that’s probably where we drew a bit of concern from but his class carried him a long way on Saturday,” Tourneur told RSN’s Shane Anderson.

“Kushadasi in his own right is a very good horse and has got good form around him from last preparation.

“Both horses spaced the rest of the field by a long way and ran good time so I think they both have a good future.”

Tourneur is confident Hucklebuck will derive benefit from the run ahead of his next start in Melbourne, likely to be the $150,000 Group 3 C.S. Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on 15 February.

The Group 1 Guineas, in which he is an $11 TAB fancy, is the logical target for Hucklebuck who also holds a nomination for the $1 million Darley Australian Cup (2000m) on 8 March.

“He’ll take a lot of benefit from the run and I think he’ll continue to take bigger steps going towards the Guineas,” Tourneur said.

“We’ll probably see him (line up) in the C.S. Hayes (Stakes) in a fortnight.”

A winner of four of his six racetrack appearances, Hucklebuck claimed the Listed Gothic Stakes at Caulfield during the Spring Racing Carnival before narrowly going down to Paximadia in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) on Derby Day.

2014 Autumn Tipping Comp Enter Here

Update on BC3 Investigation

RV’s investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds is unprecedented in terms of the volume of evidence being analysed

Racing Victoria (RV) Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Dayle Brown, has labelled its investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds the biggest undertaken by the sport’s principal authority.

RV’s investigation into the conduct of BC3 Thoroughbreds’ racehorse ownership business has seen a vast amount of evidence gathered and analysed since it commenced at the start of December.

“We have gathered over one million pieces of data during the course of our investigation and have had forensic IT and financial experts working alongside our investigators to analyse it,” Brown said.

“The analysis of this data has taken considerable time, but we are nearing completion of this phase of the investigation and are building an intimate picture of BC3 Thoroughbreds and its racehorse ownership business.

“In addition to this analysis our investigators have interviewed over 40 people and will be required to conduct further interviews as directed by the analysis of the evidence at hand.”

With two RV investigators working full-time on the case, Brown said RV was looking to complete its investigation in a timely manner, but implored stakeholders and fans to be patient.

“We are keen to complete this investigation as swiftly as possible, but it’s important that people understand the magnitude and complexity of the work being undertaken,” Brown explained.

“Our investigators are working tirelessly to establish all the facts and this phase is critical to ensure we understand what happened at BC3 Thoroughbreds.

“We will bring this investigation to its conclusion as soon as possible without compromising the outcome.”

Brown also sought to update the industry on the current status of former BC3 Thoroughbreds Chairman, Bill Vlahos, amid some criticism that no action had been taken against him to date.

"Racing Victoria has a well established and proper disciplinary process set out in the Rules of Racing. Once sufficient evidence has been collected to substantiate a charge under the Rules of Racing only then can an individual be penalised by the Stewards or the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board,” Brown explained.

“Mr Vlahos is central to our investigation into BC3 Thoroughbreds and we are continuing to examine the evidence obtained regarding his activities as Chairman of the company.

“As it stands, any horses owned by Mr Vlahos or BC3 Thoroughbreds are subject to the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy trustee or company administrator so he derives no benefit if they compete.”

Dream filly on track for Oaks
May's Dream (pictured winning at Caulfield in September)

May’s Dream targets Group 1 autumn feature

Thousand Guineas (1600m) runner-up May’s Dream is on track for a tilt at the Group 1 Schweppes Oaks (2000m) at Morphettville in Adelaide on April 26.

An impressive winner of the $130,000 VOBIS Gold Elvstroem Classic (1300m) at Swan Hill as a two-year-old, the daughter of New Approach created a big impression during the Spring Racing Carnival with a fast-finishing Thousand Guineas second behind star filly Guelph.

A very small and light filly during the Spring according to trainer Darren Weir, Weir said the three-year-old has strengthened considerably during her time away from the races.

“She has come on and developed really well during her spell,” Weir said.  

“Everything is great with her. She’s been back in work for four weeks now and we’re heading towards Adelaide with her.

“She was immature and light (during the Spring) and she probably needed to go out to the paddock a bit earlier than what she did. The signs were there that she was training off leading up to the Oaks but (owner) Worrall Dunn, who is unfortunately not with us anymore, was keen to run and we pushed on. It was a good result as far as everyone was concerned from that point of view.”

Though Weir is yet to pick out a first up target for May’s Dream, the current Melbourne premiership leading trainer said she was around four weeks away from a return to the track.

By Ben Asgari

Politeness set for sprints


Politeness wins her maiden by a space at Sale

Promising filly to be aimed towards autumn sprint feature

Trainer Robert Smerdon has revealed one-time boom filly Politeness will likely be kept to sprint races during her upcoming autumn preparation.

Backed sensationally for the Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) before she had even made her debut as a two-year-old, the daughter of Street Sense was also one of the early favourites for the Thousand Guineas (1600m) following two impressive provincial wins during the Spring.

Though he is yet to determine a first up target for the three-year-old, trainer Robert Smerdon said Politeness’ main aim was likely to be the Group 2 Sportingbet Classic (1200m) in Adelaide on May 3.

“She has been back in work for some time now and she has come back in great order,” Smerdon said.

“At this stage I think we might end up in Adelaide for the Euclase Stakes (Sportingbet Classic) where over 1200m she could sit off them as a run-on sprinter.

“It’s a tough 1200m so she’ll have a least one, maybe two lead up runs which will probably be in Victoria.

“I always felt that she could stretch out over a bit more distance but nothing has worked out for her.”

Following a fast-finishing third in the Group 2 Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield in September, Politeness then had little luck when a disappointing seventh as favourite in the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in October.

Third and seventh respectively in her next two starts at Listed level in November, Smerdon said Politeness appeared to be in career-best shape ahead of her impending return.

“She has always been a bit of a light filly but I think that’s just the type of filly that she is,” he said.

“She does look better this time than I’ve seen her look before, each preparation she looks a bit better than the one before.

“She’s a got good scope and plenty of ability but she has just got to put it all together. The wheels fell off in the Spring after the Edward Manifold so hopefully she can bounce back and redeem herself.

“She’s about three weeks away from a half-mile (600m) trial so she’s probably about five weeks away from her first up run.”

By Ben Asgari

Launceston Cup beckons Prince

Wangoom trainer Darren Weir is tossing up between a Mornington or Launceston Cup start for Prince Of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire), winner of Saturday’s Sportingbet Mornington Cup Prelude at Caulfield.

Weir noted that getting Prince Of Penzance to relax had played a pivotal part in the horse finishing off his races. He said that while it had been frustrating early in his campaign, Prince Of Penzance is now emerging as a quality horse, describing the four-year-old as a “nice staying prospect”.

Prince Of Penzance (NZ) (Pentire)

“To be honest, I think the Launceston Cup would be great for the horse,” he said. “I reckon it might make him grow up a bit. You have to fly over there and get to a new stable and I think that brings horses on a lot.

“But, if you happen to win the Mornington Cup, you get a free go at the Caulfield Cup. We have a bit of thinking to do but we are in a good position.”

Beautifully ridden by Michelle Payne, Prince Of Penzance – solid in the betting at $4.80 after drifting from $4.60 to $5.50 – scored by three-quarters of a length from outsider Oregon Spirit (Bel Esprit), with one and a quarter lengths to the twenty-to-one shot Extra Zero in third.

Laidback Larry (NZ) (O’Reilly), who brought strong Sydney form to the race and started a $1.90 favourite, worked early to find the front but was under pressure as soon as he straightened and finished fifth.

One interested spectator was young local trainer Henry Dwyer, who outlaid $110,000 for the winner’s sister on the second day of the Select Yearling Sale at Karaka, with the form of Prince Of Penzance a telling factor in the sale.

“I really like the look of her older full-brother as he is a very progressive stayer in the making,” Dwyer had said after making his purchase. “If he can go on and win a stakes race then she will look a pretty astute buy.”



Race MRC Mornington Cup Prelude L 2000m

Winner Prince of Penzance (NZ) 2009

Owners A McGregor, A T Broadfoot, Galadi Holdings Wilawl Go Racing Synd, Dalton Racing, Men In Hats Synd, Winning Five Synd

Trainer Darren Weir (Wangoom)

Breeding by Pentire (GB) out of Royal Successor (USA) by Mr Prospector (USA)

Breeder Jungle Pocket Pty Ltd and Rich Hill Thoroughbreds Ltd

Sales 2011 National Yearling Sale, Premier Session; V: Rich Hill Stud, P: John Foote Bloodstock Pty Ltd; $50,000