Flemington review Race 3.     1400M    VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes RUNNING TALL         BEN MELHAM      1st  $11 DECIRCLES              DWAYNE DUNN   2nd  $81 GRAND BRITANNIA   DAMIEN OLIVER  3rd  $8.50

This race was turned on its head at the barriers when the favourite Helmet was scratched. He was the likely leader in the race and an important part of the in running positions. The show must go on though and it did. Running Tall was a horse I thought was a good rough chance in the Blue Diamond and he certainly showed his liking for the 1400m and pulled away for a good win. Melham is riding so well at the moment and gave him a great ride in transit to get the job done. Stablemate Decircles also showed a liking for the 1400m. He had just the two runs leading into this and they were both over 1000m and on both occasions he wasn’t disgraced. Grand Britannia is a get back run on type who hit the line well for third. He is likely to continue to improve as he gets to a mile plus. Delago’s Lad who was the horse I fancied jumped and was never able to get in. Being caught three wide at Flemington over 1400m is unforgiving and he faded badly to finish last.

Race 4.     1600M    Blamey Stakes WHOBEGOTYOU   DAMIEN OLIVER   1st $1.50F DAO DAO              DWAYNE DUNN    2nd $6 FANJURA              CRAIG WILLIAMS  3rd $41

Thought this was a real danger from a punting perspective and Whobegotyou was well under the odds in my opinion. All of that aside he won albeit narrowly and in the last stride. He certainly is an exceptional miler and looks well placed to push on this campaign and challenge for the Doncaster Handicap. His sectionals were again sensational but as we know his racing pattern means he isn’t always rewarded by how hard he can get home. I thought Dao Dao was terrific. He is a very consistent horse who always seems to run very well. Thought this was his biggest chance in a while to win as the SWP conditions were in his favour. Good to see Fanjura return with a slashing third. I know the stable has a very high opinion of him and he just didn’t seem to fire in the Spring. He is a runner that I am sure will get under the guard of a few heading forward here and he can’t be excluded in anything he does this Autumn/Winter. Spacecraft I thought was disappointing. Just going through his form I expected him to go much better at the mile and under the weight conditions. I’m not sure where the stable goes from here with him as he is a Group 2 horse.

Race 5.     1400M    Kewney Stakes DO RA MI                MICHAEL WALKER   1st $15 BRAZILIAN PULSE   CRAIG WILLIAMS      2nd $3.20F DIVORCES              MARK ZAHRA           3rd $8

The money here was strong for the resuming Oaks winner Brazilian Pulse and it almost paid off. She was given a perfect ride by Williams and despite a slight problem getting a run early on she had her chances to win here but wasn’t good enough. Still it was a great effort first up over 1400m and she is certainly one to follow. The winner Do Ra Mi was simply sensational. In her short career she won a couple by dominating from the front and this time was able to settle towards the tail of the field and dominate again. She got home in 33.28 and won by a few lengths. They did run along and allow them to get home but you cannot knock the win nor the versatility. Divorces looked like she was going to win for a while there also but was  unable to produce a sectional good enough to pick up Brazilian Pulse. Outside those three I thought the run of Willow Creek was sensational. She raced on the pace and held on to finish sixth. No other on pace runner finished in the top 10.

Race 6.     1200M    Lexus Newmarket Handicap BLACK CAVIAR       LUKE NOLEN           1st $1.18F CRYSTAL LILY        STEPHEN BASTER  2nd $71 BEADED                 CRAIG NEWITT        3rd $21

This win rubber stamped Black Caviars standing in Australian racing. She needed to get a win like this under handicap conditions and she certainly did that and did it brilliantly. Her ability to cruise at such a high speed through the middle parts of these sprint races is unprecedented and she can then sprint when it counts. They have a WFA program mapped out for her for the remainder of her campaign and only very bad luck or injury will end her winning run. From an owners perspective you can understand why they won’t go overseas but from a racing fans perspective it is certainly something we want to see. Crystal Lily who had been out of form bounced back with a tremendous effort and Beaded who is a super mare finished off well for third. Oakleigh Plate winner Eagle Falls did absolutely nothing and his international quest must be in some doubt. Star Witness was again very disappointing I thought and I still can’t believe they ran him first up over 1300m that day, it may have bitten them in the backside.

Race 7.     2000M    Dubai Australian Cup SHOCKING        COREY BROWN   1st $8.50 LINTON              MICHAEL RODD   2nd $9 PLAYING GOD   CRAIG NEWITT    3rd $6.50

Shocking pencilled himself in as a horse that will be remembered aside from his Melbourne Cup after this win. He can go on and win more WFA races from 2000m+ and finish up there with some of the best. The race was initially ran pretty slowly until Mourayan rounded Ginga Dude and set a very solid tempo. That made life pretty hard for the first bunch of runners throughout and it showed with where they finished past the post. Brown settled Shocking back where he likes to be from the start and ensured he was able to get clear running straight up the middle of the straight. He ran his last 800m in 45.85 and his last 200m in 11.95. It’s worth noting no other runner was able to break 12 seconds for the final 200m. Linton had the blinkers on for the first time and raced a little closer than Shocking. In my eyes it was a breakthrough effort in his short career. This is a bona fide WFA performance at the top level and he has a very promising career ahead. Playing God was always going to find it tough in my opinion and performed a little better than I thought he would. He is certainly one of the more promising types of 3yos around and it’s good to see a trainer have a crack. Scenic Shot was always going to run well. He had been lumping huge weights in handicaps over distances to short. Back to WFA and out to a trip were perfect for him and his effort was great. He will no doubt be back again for another shot at the riches of the Spring. Precedence was the unlucky runner. He was caught wide and back and is a total forgive. Had he had a good run in transit I think he was the only one that could have beaten Shocking. His run was much better than the 5 in the form guide suggests and when your doing the form you can probably pretend it was a 2 or 3. For the favourite punters and Mick Price that tried to convince themselves Heart Of Dreams could run 10 furlongs it was the same old story, he can’t. He is a great miler in my opinion and can pull out a good run at 1800m. Cedarberg and Laristan did well to pretty much hold there positions throughout. Moudre in my opinion is a horse that needs to be ridden dead cold and when they raced mid field I think he was always going to struggle. Had he settled back with Shocking I am sure he would have finished much closer. Not the horses fault but more so the tactics employed and I’m sure they won’t do that again.

Warwick Farm review Race 6.     1600M    TURNPOINT GUINEAS ILOVETHISCITY     BRENTON AVDULLA 1st   $1.90F SKILLED               KERRIN MCEVOY      2nd  $4.60 LIGHT BRIGADE    NASH RAWILLER      3rd   $17

Ilovethiscity was heavily backed throughout the week and again on raceday and the punters were looked after. It was another gun ride by Avdulla who is a gun. He was able to settle well and work himself into clear running rounding the turn and proved too strong to the line to hold off the fast finishing Skilled. They will push onto the Doncaster Handicap with him now where I think he will struggle to make an impact albeit with a light weight. I was a little surprised to see Skilled trying to run down the winner as I thought it would be the other way around. I like Skilled as a horse. His run the start prior was a tenacious effort and I really liked the way he hit the line although he missed out. Light Brigade made a run at them late but was unable to get close enough. He had been there abouts his first two starts certainly appreciated the step out to 1600m. The one that I think caught the eye of most was Absolutelyawesome from the Moroney yard. In my opinion I have no doubt he was the best horse in the race and if they ran it again in two weeks he would have them all covered quite easily.  That was just his sixth career run and he was second up from 1400 to 1600. With natural improvement, fitness and experience he is only going to continue to improve and with even luck will be beating these if they run into each other again anytime soon.

Follow: Shocking, Absolutelyawesome, Do Ra Mi.