Race 1: Maribyrnong Plate (1000m)
1st Power Trip – Craig Williams
2nd Flying Artie – Dale Smith
3rd Gloriette – James McDonald
Flying Artie was up in the air after the gates opened and was last out. The field split with War Hero,Power Up Rise, Gloriette and Flying Artie staying towards the inside and Power Trip, Dalradian andValliano beyond the middle of the track. War Hero and Power Up Rise had the lead coming to the 400m with Gloriette climbing over their backs inside Flying Artie. Power Trip was well clear of the other two near the outside fence. About 300m out there Flying Artie grabbed War Hero and Gloriette had to wait to get into the clear. Power Trip was right with them wide out and he and Flying Artie drew away to fight it out. Nothing in it on the line but Power Trip prevailed narrowly over Flying Artie, the start probably cost him there, and Gloriette picked up good ground, also a bit unlucky. War Hero weakened and Valliano was next on the outside fence. Dalradian may not have handled the conditions.
Follow: Flying Artie and Gloriette put in excellent debut efforts.
Race 2: Starlight Children’s Foundation (2000m)
1st Divan – Damien Oliver
2nd Velox – Craig Williams
3rd Have Plenty – Steven King
Okahu Bay crossed pretty easily to lead Distillation and Pacific Heights. Sysmo worked over from his wide alley without much trouble to settle outside Divan with Prizum and Have Plenty behind that pair. Distillation moved alongside Okahu Bay and kept him busy and the leader kicked up again to run clear. Pacific Heights was getting a nice run behind them with Divan moving into the box seat. Sysmo eased out before the turn and Prizum moved wider, Have Plenty was held up on the fence and Velox started to track up from near the back. Distillation was first to crack and Pacific Heights claimed Okahu Bay at the top of the straight. Divan was looking for a run between them an wide out Sysmo and Prizum loomed. Velox raced a bit flat footed and lost a bit of ground under the whip. Divan took the gap and sprinted to the lead at the 300m and Have Plenty followed him. Sysmo was tightened up a bit and had to change course inside Pacific Heights and Velox started to wind up right out near the outside fence. Divan was clear, though, and he held Velox pretty easily in the last 100m for a strong win. Impressive type. Velox ran his race in patches but hit the line and Have Plenty’s run was honest. He’s clearly flying at the moment. Sysmo had a few excuses but 61kg didn’t help his cause.
Follow: long term Divan is a name to remember.
Race 3: Queen’s Cup (2600m)
1st Dandino – Ben Melham
2nd Secret Number – James McDonald
3rd Don Doremo – Vlad Duric
Bonfire rolled to the lead out of the straight with Don Doremo behind him and Secret Number up without cover. Dandino had his back, Beaten Up settled three back on the fence with Like A Carousel outside and a couple to Bold Sniper. Very little change for a long way in the small field. Bonfire looked to be going a bit hard in the lead and Secret Number crept closer about 1000m out. Dandino kept stalking him around Don Doremo. Like A Carousel was the first to try and make a move but he was under pressure and causing a bit of grief for Beaten Up who was looking to shove him out of the way. Secret Number hit the lead near the 300m but was quickly under siege as Dandino pounced and Don Doremo went up on his inside. Bonfire couldn’t go with them. Dandino dashed past Secret Number but ran in and tightened him up very badly and he lost a couple of lengths. Don Doremo was sticking on and got a length clear of Secret Number in the scrimmage. Dandino had a couple of lengths to spare at the finish as Secret Number got going again to grab second from Don Doremo and they spaced the rest headed by Like A Carousel. It might have been interesting had Secret Number finished within a length of Dandino as to whether there’d have been an objection.
Follow: none, end of the line for most of these this spring.
Race 4: Hilton Hotels Stakes (1400m)
1st Palentino – Michelle Payne
2nd Demonstrate – James McDonald
3rd Ngarimu – Glen Boss
Les Darci broke best but didn’t want the lead and handed up quickly to Secret Prophet crossing from wider out with Apoloboom between them. Demonstrate was only fairly out but went forward and Ngarimulanded in a pretty good trail. Behind him were Kracken, Songo D’Oro and Palentino three deep. Demonstrate kept his move going and went up outside Secret Prophet about 800m out. Les Darci tucked in behind them with Apoloboom who eased three deep coming to the turn, forcing Palentino four out. Demonstrate went straight past Secret Prophet at the 400m and kicked away. Apoloboom was under the whip and Les Darci and Ngarimu were trying to run on on the inside. Palentino warmed to the task and he set out after the leader with purpose. Demonstrate looked strong at the 200m but by the 100m was gone and Palentino swept by for quite a nice win for Michelle Payne. Demonstrate was game after working a bit early and Ngarimu finished his race off pretty well. They got away from Secret Prophet. Les Darci had his chance.
Follow: Palentino and Ngarimu look to be promising.
Race 5: Antler Luggage Handicap (1600m)
1st Rhythm To Spare – Damien Oliver
2nd Defiant Angel – Dominic Tourneur
3rd Setinum – James McDonald
Only Petrology and Setinum wanted nothing to do with the early lead and after about 300m Rhythm To Spare took up the running with King’s Dance on his outside but the latter horse eased and Elmantoshkicked up on the fence. Inspector settled in the box seat and they ran four lengths clear of Defiant Angel. Rhythm To Spare stayed off the fence but led comfortably over Elmantosh and King’s Dance. It looked as though Rhythm To Spare had a couple of easy sectionals before the turn and he clicked up and ran a couple clear into the straight with King’s Dance under pressure chasing him. Inspector was in the clear but one paced. Setinum and Defiant Angel made their runs together down the outside while Petrology tried to pick up with a run on the inside of Inspector. Rhythm To Spare looked a sitting duck at the 200m but the others weren’t making an impact and he edged away again late for a strong, and overdue, win. He hasn’t had a lot of luck lately and appreciated the sting out of the ground. Defiant Angel worried Setinum out of second place and King’s Dance just weakened the last bit.
Follow: none in particular, though King’s Dance was only second-up so could still improve.
Race 6: Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m)
1st Delectation – James McDonald
2nd Chautauqua – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Terravista – Hugh Bowman
Buffering made his intentions clear early and led on the outside fence with Tiger Tees and Srikandi up handy to him. Lumosty was on his back with Flamberge. Closer to the inside were Chautauqua andTerravista while Delectation and Boban had plenty of cover at the back. Tiger Tees was the first under pressure and Buffering travelled pretty well. Srikandi was being held together with Chautauqua on her back and Flamberge on her outside. Lumosty followed Buffering and behind them Delectation started to improve. Terravista was last and under riding at the 400m. Buffering was still going strong at the 200m but they were starting to close. Delectation on his inside and Terravista made a dash from the back and loomed on the outside. Chautauqua got past Srikandi and was starting to rally. Terravista momentarily looked like he’d swamp them but Delectation dug in and held him off while Chautauqua tried hard to match him. Less than half a length between them on the line but Delectation had his head out for an upset win after being a bit unlucky a week earlier. Chautauqua was honest but perhaps his sprint was dulled in the wet and Terravista looked to be back to his best. Game effort from Buffering and on that run he’ll take some beating in Perth. Srikandi wasn’t disgraced but she’s probably not a straight track horse.
Follow: none. However, Chautauqua and Terravista probably go to Hong Kong for next month’s G1 Sprint and can be competitive.
Race 7: Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m)
1st Turn Me Loose – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd Politeness – Craig Newitt
3rd Rock Sturdy – Dominic Tourneur
Ecuador broke well but Turn Me Loose wanted the lead and came over with Coronation Shallan. Dispositionwent forward this time and found a good spot between Lucky Hussler and Arod. The next line was Sons Of John on the inside of Rock Sturdy and Bow Creek, who was only fair to begin, wound up midfield. Turn Me Loose was allowed to do his own thing in front and steadied the pace enough to have a break but not be pressured. Coronation Shallan was being niggled at a fair way out while Ecuador waited. Disposition was niggled at before the turn and passed by Arod while Lucky Hussler went back to the inside on the bend. Bow Creek was tracking up but also being pushed along. Lucky Hussler made a bid to run Turn Me Loose down on the inside at the 300m and may have drawn level but certainly couldn’t get past. Ecuador battled and Rock Sturdy came out of the pack looking a threat with Politeness weaving through from the back. Magic Artist appeared on the scene late along the fence while He Or She ran home well right down the outside. Turn Me Loose was there to be beaten in the last 100m or so but fought on bravely to hold off Politeness, who might not have needed much more ground, and Rock Sturdy produced a career best for third. Magic Artist found the drop back to a mile against him and He Or She was close up. Lucky Hussler wasn’t quite up to the task this time but has had an excellent prep. Bow Creek was a big flop.
Follow: don’t be surprised if Turn Me Loose develops into a WFA performer next prep.
Race 8: Matriarch Stakes (2000m)
1st Lucia Valentina – Damien Oliver
2nd Manageress – Chris Parnham
3rd Casino Dancer – James McDonald
Long Face Grace was able to find the lead over Imperial Lass crossing from a wide gate. Casino Dancerdropped in for a trail with Zarzali holding the fence. Ponderosa Miss was trapped wide midfield so improved giving Ungrateful Ellen some cover around No Tricks. Ring Da Belle was next inside Sure You Can and Manageress in the three wide line. Lucia Valentina settled second last. They were off the fence well before the turn and Imperial Lass cornered in front from Long Face Grace and Zarzali getting up on the inside with Ring Da Belle. Wider out Ponderosa Miss looked to be ready to pounce but didn’t and right out wider Ungrateful Ellen and Manageress were winding up. Close to the outside fence Lucia Valentina started her run. Zarzali had burst to the front down to the 200m but there were plenty of chasers. Manageress and Lucia Valentina closed in out wide and Casino Dancer chimed in too alongside Zarzali. Lucia Valentina on the outside fence finished the race off best and her class prevailed. Manageress ran to her best in a game second and had the rest covered with Casino Dancer a nice third just ahead of Ungrateful Ellen, who again hit a flat spot then charged late. Zarzali, Sure You Can and No Tricks were close up.
Follow: if she can put her mind on the job Ungrateful Ellen has a win in her.
Race 9: Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m)
1st Malaguerra – Ben Melham
2nd Reldas – Chris Parnham
3rd Gracious Prospect – Michael Walker
Malaguerra jumped well but Gracious Prospect kicked up to hold him out for the lead. Mirage pushed forward three out and Chile Express eased into the box seat. Flow Meter sat outside him. A couple toLongeron three out around Reldas and Ulmann. Mirage took over off the fence from Gracious Prospect and Malaguerra just easing to the outside of the new leader. Flow Meter came four out while Ulmann ran up into a pocket coming to the turn. Again, they were well off the inside into the straight. Gracious Prospect regained the lead at the 400m from Mirage under pressure. Malaguerra was a couple of lengths away getting a bit wider, tightening Flow Meter for a stride or two, and Reldas made his run inside him with Ulmann who couldn’t match him. Gracious Prospect was giving a good sight but Malaguerra and Reldas gathered him up at the 100m and Malaguerra finished by far the better to make it two wins during Cup week. Reldas ran well (remember his best is at Moonee Valley) and Gracious Prospect held third comfortably. No excuses for anything there.
Follow: Gracious Prospect is ready to win.
Specials from the meeting: Flying Artie, Gloriette, King’s Dance, Gracious Prospect.
1st Slots – Lester Grace
2nd Ryker – Christian Reith
3rd High Esteem – Regan Bayliss
A small field of four got them under way in the first at Canterbury and Ryker came out well and was pushed a bit to go across and lead from High Esteem. Slots settled third with Kristy Lee back last. The speed slowed and they ended up racing in pairs with High Esteem and Kristy Lee leaving the fence. Up around the turn, High Esteem was putting it to Ryker and back behind those Slots was being urged along but not as much as Kristy Lee who was shown the persuader. At the furlong Ryker got away from High Esteem and Slots was making some ground but it didn’t look like being enough until the final 100m where Ryker sat down a bit and Slots put in its best work to get past Ryker in the final 50m of the race.
1st Morton’s Fork – Sam Clipperton
2nd Babooshka – Jay Ford
3rd Amber Isle – Kathy O’Hara
The two-year-olds were up next and when they settled into stride Gitan had the lead on the inside with Rather Sweet striding up to match it on the outside. Sleek took a nice trail in third spot back a couple of lengths, with a couple more lengths back to Amber Isle inside of Morton’s Fork. Around the turn, Sleek came three wide and Morton’s Fork traveled into it ok out four wide. Up to the furlong Morton’s Fork was still coming with its run, but Babooshka looked to be finishing of better out wider on the track. Gitan kept kicking on along the inside until the final 100m where Morton’s Fork and Babooshka drew to the front and it looked like Babooshka may gain the day, but Morton’s Fork dug in and got there about a neck on the line. The rest of them lined up for third with Amber Isle getting that decision.
1st Spatsizi – Lester Grace
2nd Torgersen – Jason Collett
3rd Feast For Eyes – Sam Clipperton
It was a decent line out in the third with Feast For Eyes pushing on from a wide gate to take it up and Last Witness moved across into second. Spatsizi took up a nice spot just behind the pace on the fence. Mid race, Feast For Eyes set up a couple of lengths break in front and the pace looked ok. Before the turn, Feast For Eyes had taken off and set up about a fourth length break. Last Witness was in trouble and being urged along with Spatsizi coming up along its inside to set out after the leader. Inside the furlong, Feast For Eyes still had a good break but shortened stride noticeably at the 150m mark and Spatsizi andTorgersen had it on toast with Spatsizi doing the better work in the final part to narrowly get the money. The tiring Feast For Eyes held third with the rest of the field putting in very ordinary performances.
Follow: None to follow
1st Bullpit – Brodie Loy
2nd Freeze The Charges – Kathy O’Hara
3rd Mr Manhattan – Josh Parr
Another small field of four in race four and Bullpit ran to the front today from the short priced favourite Mr Manhattan. Freeze The Charges was slow out today and third on the fence after flying along in front last start. Before the turn, Bullpit looked to travel very nicely in front with the rest of them being urged along and those who took the shorts about Mr Manhattan were already on the way to the bar for stiff drink. Up to the furlong, he raised and effort and almost got on terms with Bullpit, but Bullpit responded to riding and again drew away hard up against the fence and was never really in doubt of losing. Freeze The Charges got home ok to get past the very disappointing Mr Manhattan who held third.
Follow: None to follow
1st Shadow Affair – Christian Reith
2nd Tony The Pony – Jay Ford
3rd Lion Of Africa – Tim Clark
Back to the 1550m start for race five with a few of them contesting the early lead. Stoic from an outside gate pushed across and led from Darts Away on the outside of Vee Eight Sixty. The favourite in the affair was Ashjata who got back to second last and gave the speed about ten lengths. They packed up a bit towards the turn with Stoic still traveling ok, and Shadow Affair coming out of the one out and one back trail to be in a striking position as they turned. Ashjata was still back last and in plenty of barney rubble. At the furlong, Shadow Affair came up and claimed Stoic with nothing else running on strongly enough and the race looked over. In the final part Tony The Pony finished off well and claimed second along with Lion Of Africa who took third spot from well back. Ashjata closed off from last well enough to get a pass mark, but was never a threat today.
Follow: Lion Of Africa
1st Nevagotavote – Samantha Clenton
2nd Sebrina – Brenton Avdulla
3rd Berrimilla – Tye Angland
The small fields kept coming, and there were five starters in race six. Nevagotavote took it up with Pythagorean moving around the outside into second and Berrimilla got a nice run on the fence in third. Speaking of nice runs, Nevagotavote had it all its own way in front and by the time they got to the 600m mark, looked hard to beat as the others chopped and changed and many of them pulled in the run. Around the turn, Nevagotavote was traveling well as its rivals were all scrubbed along. At the furlong, Nevagotavote still had it and was being asked for the effort as Berrimilla and Sebrina were working home fairly. In the run to the line, Nevagotavote found plenty and had a length and a half to spare over Sebrina who got away from Berrimilla in what was a fair effort for second.
1st Rule The River – Jason Collett
2nd Festivity – Jordan Childs
3rd Magnajoy – Lester Grace
Skripchenko went straight back to last in race seven. There were four of them all looking for the lead early on. Eventually that became two of them that paired off in front with Festivity holding the fence inside of Magnajoy going stride for stride.Butterboom was in third outside of Rule The River who took a nice sit on the fence behind the speed. Around the turn, the two in front were still going together with Butterboom moving up three wide to challenge. At the furlong, Rule The River got a lovely rails run and sprinted very nicely to go up and hit the lead and sprint away from that point onwards. Festivity and Magnajoy didn’t shirk the task, fighting on for second and third respectively. Butterboom died on its run, but held down a distant fourth.
Follow: None to follow
1st Quick Strike – Jason Collett
2nd Song And Laughter – Brenton Avdulla
3rd Olympic Academy – Tye Angland
A good line out for race eight over the 1900m and they took a little while to sort themselves out, but by the time they got to the post on the first occasion it was Sabkhat taking it up with Song And Laughter moving into second after coming across from wide out. Zaboss and Olympic Academy got the soft runs behind the speed in third and fourth. The eventual winner, Quick Strike got back to second last but looked to settle beautifully with its head on its chest. At the 600m mark, he was woken up by Jason Collett and started to make a move into the race three wide. Into the straight, Sabkhat was the fist one beaten as Song And Laughter strode to the front. The rest of them were being pushed along hard, but it was Quick Strike who put in a resolute finish to hit the front and draw away in the last 100m to win it by over a length from Song And Laughter who held second ahead of the other very average opposition . Bardiya was one of the better of those, finishing its race off ok for fourth. The winner ran some good races in better class as a three-year-old and now that he has won this one, I think he can put a couple of wins together. It was a good effort to sustain a long run today.
Follow: Quick Strike
1st Better Not Blue – Jess Taylor
2nd Sanzio – Sam Clipperton
3rd Surfin’ Safari – Tye Angland
Five runners again to finish the card off over the 1250m and they all came out as one. Sanzio took it up when they settled down from Next Level in second and Surfin’ Safari in third. Better Not Blue didn’t appear to like being restrained and was pulling hard early in the piece. Around the turn, Sanzio still traveled well in front with a few of its rivals off the bit behind it. Sanzio gave a good kick after they turned for home and still maintained a lead inside the 100m mark with Better Not Blue looking the danger. Those two came to the line locked together with Better Not Blue doing just enough to gain the judges decision. They put a gap on Surfin Safari’ who got going late after being under pressure on the line, and the run of All Salsa was ok to finish off from last to just miss third.
Follow: None to follow
Specials from the meeting: Quick Strike
Overall note for the meeting: A wet track and small fields throughout the day, be very wary of the form out of this meeting.