Flemington Review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Dunkley & Lee Handicap (1400m)

1st Most Wanted – Damien Oliver
2nd Jacksay – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Bon Aurum – Mark Zahra

Jacksay wasn’t the best out and was out the back early with Dream On Monty. Bon Aurum and Red Alto shared the lead with Starsi outside them. Colonel Custer was in the leading bunch and Downhearted was just off them. Most Wanted drove up on the inside of him and Gredington and Al Shameel around midfield. They didn’t look to be going very hard and Bon Aurum loped along in front. Red Alto and Colonel Custer made a line of three on the bend. Most Wanted revved up behind them waiting for a gap while Downhearted and Starsi poised outside him. Red Alto tried hard to level up with Bon Aurum but the leader had his measure. Most Wanted took a big gap on the inside to challenge and Downhearted couldn’t do any better. Most Wanted sprinted to the lead inside the 200m and broke away. Bon Aurum and Red Alto were beaten but Jacksay had got to the outside and was starting to close in late. Courtesy of the rails run and doing everything right, Most Wanted posted a solid debut win. Excellent effort from Jacksay while Bon Aurum and Red Alto had their chance. The latter might be a better horse next prep. Nothing else made an impact.
Follow: Jacksay measured up to Melbourne in good style.

Race 2: Polgar & Vance Handicap (1400m)

1st Charmed Harmony – Tom Sadler
2nd Extra Zero – Dylan Dunn
3rd Happy As Hell – Dean Holland

Desert Jeuney blew the start badly and was tailed off. Charmed Harmony landed in front as widely expected and ran along at his leisure. Dylan’s Promise was left in second place with Ihtsahymn on his outside. Happy As Hell raced inside Extra Zero but were a long way off the lead. Charmed Harmony was completely uncontested as he rolled along three or four lengths clear. By the 600m Desert Jeuney had tacked onto the field. Charmed Harmony had them off the bit at the top of the straight and Ihtsahymn was the first to try and pull some ground, Dylan’s Promise was one paced while Happy As Hell got up on the fence. Extra Zero started to run on down the outside. Shaken up for about 100m before being allowed to cruise home, Charmed Harmony was never going to be beaten. Nice first-up run from Extra Zero who isn’t known for firing fresh. Have to be disappointed with Ihtsahymn, despite racing without cover he didn’t find much and forgive Desert Jeuney, though he’s getting costly if you’re following him.
Follow: none.

Race 3: Yates & Dann Handicap (1400m)

1st Niminypiminy – Damian Lane
2nd Letmedowngently – Christine Puls
3rd Herstory – Dwayne Dunn

Herstory broke the line first but Letmedowngently kicked up underneath her to hold the lead. At The Weekend was left out three wide and Barely A Scent wider as Smokin’ Al and Leia held their ground on the inside. Letmedowngently wasn’t wasting any time and she ran a couple clear before the turn with Herstory just happy to follow. Leia and Smokin’ Al had improved to be just behind them with Leia staying on the inside. Niminypiminy worked up behind Herstory. Leia may have momentarily hit the front on the inside but Letmedowngently wasn’t done with and Herstory hadn’t been called upon. Niminypiminy eased across Herstory’s heels at the 300m and got into the clear to run on. Herstory couldn’t get past Letmedowngently at the business end but Niminypiminy had them both covered pretty easily and broke away for a soft win after a run of placings and near placings. No excuses for the placegetters while Northern Saint made some late ground to run fourth without every looking a threat.
Follow: watch for Northern Saint to improve if she can draw well next time.

Race 4: Aldridge & Norton Handicap (1700m)

1st Shenzhou Steeds – Ben Melham
2nd By The Grace – Chris Parnham
3rd Onpicalo – Dwayne Dunn

Yenhaab bounced in front early and Onpicalo was quickly up on the speed too. Abbasso found himself caught three wide after only jumping fairly and kept striding forward around Tax Evader and Shenzhou Steeds clear of By The Grace in open spaces. Abbasso kept the run going to take the lead but had done quite a bit of work to get there as Yenhaab and Onpicalo kept him busy. They opened up a few lengths on Tax Evader by the 800m before backing off a little. Abbasso seemed to have Onpicalo under a fair bit of pressure on the turn and kicked away but at the same time was starting to be felt for and by the 200m was a spent force. Onpicalo first first to pick him up while Shenzhou Steeds was hitting the line along the inside and By The Grace out wide, Tax Evader couldn’t make any impact. In a driving finish, Shenzhou Steeds just held on from By The Grace while Onpicalo was just tipped out between them. Albonetti was finishing very hard from well back into fourth but a fair way off the first trio. Abbasso had to be ridden upside down and best to forget that run.
Follow: none, not a strong race.

Race 5: Beckmann & Young Handicap (2000m)

1st Refulgent – Brad Rawiller
2nd Prizum – Tom Sadler
3rd Black Tomahawk – Jake Bayliss

Heavy was on the back foot at the start and passed a couple early. Lightenuff showed his usual pace to find the front and Gingerboy followed him across clear of Commanding Time and Black Tomahawk. Falago settled midfield one off which kept Prizum three wide. Refulgent was on their inside. There wasn’t a lot of change down to the 800m as they raced in pairs behind Lightenuff a length clear of and Gingerboy. Black Tomahawk was first to ease out and Falago pulled off his back in plenty of time. Refulgent ran up behind them and worked into the clear in between, Heavy was behind him and Prizum the widest into the straight. Gingerboy took over and went for home at the 400m with Black Tomahawk in pursuit, Refulgent and Falago closing in and Prizum also winding up. Refulgent was let down at the 200m and started to edge away from a wall chasing him to make it two straight. Prizum arrived in time to grab second and Black Tomahawk again rallied after hitting a flat spot. Every chance Falago and Gingerboy and they were a mile in front of the rest.
Follow: none, these are all well exposed.

Race 6: Kelly & Viney Handicap (1400m)

1st Del Prado – Tom Sadler
2nd Cross Of Gold – Dylan Dunn
3rd Bon Rocket – Craig Newitt

Grand Sai Wan was ridden hard to find the lead and Free Of Doubt went with him. So Does He eased into third with Cyclone Andy out wider. Liberty Island settled on the fence ahead of Spanish Love. This Is The Show took off around them and put some spice into the race, running to the front and opening up the field. That run was short lived as he was headed early in the straight by Grand Sai Wan kicking back on the fence while Cyclone Andy and Free Of Doubt came on down the outside. They were all sitting shots. Liberty Island got through nearer the inside to challenge Free Of Doubt who had hit the front with Cross Of Gold looming and further out Bon Rocket and Del Prado were finishing hard. Del Prado got to Cross Of Gold at the 100m and started to forge away. Bon Rocket safely held third ahead of So Does He who was a little unlucky in the early part of the straight but didn’t give it up. That quartet broke away with Spanish Love making some late ground alongside Lord Da Vinci, running on as he always does. Liberty Island dropped right out after seemingly having every chance.
Follow: there’s improvement in Spanish Love who was first-up.

Race 7: Aurie’s Star Handicap (1200m)

1st Shiraz – Damien Oliver
2nd Play Master – Craig Newitt
3rd Le Bonsir – Dwayne Dunn

Decircles bounced in front on the inside section with Pago Rock up handy and Shiraz tucking in behind them for a trail. Further out Le Bonsir wasn’t far away and the widest was Trust In A Gust. Play Master and Lonrockstar had cover in midfield. Decircles started to drift towards the centre of the track and that presented Shiraz with a run through and they made a line of four with Pago Rock and Le Bonsir. Play Master waited in behind them while Trust In A Gust looked in trouble as Lonrockstar got past him. Decircles dropped off as Shiraz hit the front with Le Bonsir going with him. Play Master got the run through near the clock tower and looked to be finishing the race off the better. Play Master definitely had his head in front getting close to the line but Shiraz kept fighting and stuck his nose out at the right time to scramble in. Play Master is in career best form while Le Bonsir and Pago Rock seemed to have their chance. Decent gap to the rest of the field headed by Lonrockstar. Trust In A Gust wasn’t pushed in the last 50m and while he will obviously be fitter that was the worst performance of his 19 starts to date.
Follow: stick with Shiraz and Play Master.

Race 8: O’Mara & Jolley Handicap (1000m)

1st Sunday Escape – Dwayne Dunn
2nd Churchill Dancer – Michael Walker
3rd Tansy – Damian Lane

Earthly Tiger was one of the best away from the inside gate and was joined by Antarctic Missile gathering speed. Corsica Lad went with her and further out Churchill Dancer and Sunday Escape past the middle of the track. A line behind the front runners included Klishina, Wonderbolt, Just For Starters, Tansy and Beleeup. Antarctic Missile ran to the lead at the 400m but soon after was being put under pressure as Churchill Dancer and Sunday Escape began to close. Corsica Lad was one paced and Wonderbolt passed him but also under duress.Tansy started to run on while Klishina couldn’t go with them closer to the inside. Sunday Escape took over about 200m out and was holding them safely this time, ridden a little more conservatively, and was too good for Churchill Dancer and Tansy ran into third. Wonderbolt was close up and Corsica Lad came again, perhaps the straight wasn’t to his liking, while Sir Berus charged home late as he often does.
Follow: nice first-up run from Churchill Dancer.

Race 9: Sanderson & Hansen Handicap (2000m)

1st Manageress – Michael Dee
2nd Boogielicious – Damien Oliver
3rd Musica Royale – Chris Parnham

Miss Mossman broke best from the inside and held them out to lead Artistic Lass coming over ahead of Melaleuca. Iteration was straight into a nice spot and Boogielicious was also handy. Manageress followed Iteration while First Bloom was stuck three wide around Hula Lua before getting across eventually. Very little change down to the home turn as Miss Mossman ran them along evenly. Artistic Lass and Melaleuca made a line of three as runs started to come, Boogielicious out wider, Manageress ran up behind the leaders and Iteration was the first horse beaten. Miss Mossman had a bit of a kick but by the 300m was starting to weaken and Manageress burst through the centre to challenge. Artistic Lass was boxing on and Boogielicious ran to second but Manageress speared away in the closing stages for a dominant win. Boogielicious just held on for second over the fast finishing Musica Royal who came from last and the others just battled. Iteration was very disappointing after having the run of the race.
Follow: Musica Royale ran a much improved race.

Specials from the meeting: Jacksay, Northern Saint, Churchill Dancer.