By RAY HICKSON
Race 1: Friends Of Epworth Handicap (1200m)
1st Artie Dee Too – Brad Rawiller
2nd Tenappy Ladies – Katelyn Mallyon
3rd Trenchant – Craig Williams
Tenappy Ladies wasn’t the best out but drove through on the fence to lead Vegas Strip and Back To The Bowler easing between them. Mistoffelees sat outside him and Artie Dee Too was caught three wide. Trenchant and Party Bag were the next pair a couple back. Tenappy Ladies tried to edge away from Vegas Strip about 500m while Artie Dee Too slid up outside them and that trio skipped a few lengths clear of the rest. Mistoffelees and Back To The Bowler were under pressure and Trenchant started to improve between them. Vegas Strip was the first of the leading group to come off the bit and Tenappy Ladies ran a length clear. Artie Dee Too was asked to go and he joined in strongly on the turn. Trenchant was still making ground andLiberty Song was following him through. Artie Dee Too hit the lead about 100m out and started to kick clear in the last bit for a strong win. Tenappy Ladies had his chance but stuck on and Trenchant wasn’t a bad effort in the context of a day where it was hard to make ground wide out.
Follow: Trenchant showed good improvement and could pick up a race soon.
Race 2: Pantry Packer Handicap (2040m)
1st Schockemohle – Michael Walker
2nd Black Stardom – Stephen Baster
3rd King Way – James Winks
Nobody looked overly keen to lead and Schockemohle rolled to the front outside of King Way. Try Four was up handy between Black Stardom and Rio Perdido. Lord Ore was on their backs around Nesbo. Schockemohle took plenty of time to cross to a solo lead and Rio Perdido ran up to second going into the back. Black Stardom held onto the box seat while King Way came one off for a trail. Very slow tempo up front. Nesbo improved to be three back on the fence. They bunched about 1000m out but Schockemohle started to put the foot down in front soon after and was only the only horse travelling coming to the turn. Rio Perdido was holding second but King Way and Black Stardom were still there and Nesbo made a dash but couldn’t sprint any faster. Schockemohle burst away in the straight and won as he was entitled to with the run he had in front. Black Stardom got up along the fence for second and King Way worried Rio Perdido out of third. A gap to Nesbo who was outsprinted. Winner is heading for the jumps, be forgiving of this form to some degree.
Race 3: Vital Healthcare Property Trust (2040m)
1st Longeron – Dwayne Dunn
2nd Alcohol – Craig Williams
3rd Backbone – Craig Newitt
Took some time before Sandhill Chief mustered and went looking for his usual front running spot. Sysmo tried to keep them all off the inside but eased and Alcohol crossed him with Longeron while Turnitaround was looking for some cover but Backbonekicked up and kept him three wide. Sandhill Chief ran a couple clear up the back and Longeron was happy to sit up second around Alcohol. Turnitaround was stranded deep and crept forward but had no hope of getting in. Little change in the order but they bunched up by the 800m and Sense Of Occasion started a run right around them. That put Alcohol under some riding. Sandhill Chief was asked to go and Longeron eyeballed him travelling better. Turnitaround was gone and dropping back while Sense Of Occasion tried to stick on. Alcohol responded and was coming on behind them with Backbone. Longeron was asked to tackle the leader from the 200m and took over with Alcohol getting off the fence and making a bit with Backbone and Sysmo a couple back. Longeron had the run of the race and was entitled to win, he held Alcohol and Backbone fairly comfortably. Sandhill Chief gave a sight. Turnitaround was chasing five straight wins but had a tough run and may have come to the end of his prep as he dropped right out.
Race 4: Zouki Handicap (1600m)
1st Clemency – Ben Thompson
2nd Lahqa – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Ma Jones – Chris Parnham
Another race where nobody seemed to eager to lead, ironically considering the pattern that emerged, and Zakayla eventually took it up from Lahqa who waited for her to go before moving into second around Brinkley Bliss and Dig A Pony. Clemencywas about midfield around Ma Jones sneaking up on the inside. Zakayla was pressured a little by Laqha before the 600m and that horse had to do a bit of work to get up on her outside. Brinkley Bliss moved three wide and that flushed Clemency out four deep and Khutulun was even wider trying to get into the race. Ma Jones was caught up between horses. Lahqa had the better of Zakayla on the turn and Brinkley Bliss couldn’t go with her. Clemency was there at the right time and Khutulun was further out. Ma Jones found herself badly held up on the turn. Lahqa looked to be holding them inside the 100m and she’s known to fight hard but Clemency stuck the head out in the last couple of strides to nail her. Ma Jones charged at them late and would have won in another couple of hops. Behind them was Every Faith who made ground without threatening.
Follow: Ma Jones should have won.
Race 5: Oneview Healthcare Handicap (1000m)
1st Petite’s Reward – Jordan Childs
2nd Sky Dazzle – Stephen Baster
3rd Doc’s Hero – Jake Bayliss
Petite’s Reward had plenty of pace and was able to lead easily from Doc’s Hero on her outside. A line of three next withPowerful Story around Snitzel Music and Sky Dazzle. Strykinglee sat just off them from Dream Food around J’Star andProntezza had cover. Petite’s Reward had Doc’s Hero off the bit well before the turn and Powerful Story started to edge closer three out. Sky Dazzle waited on the fence and Strykinglee was forced to go four deep and Dream Food wider. Snitzel Music found herself in a pocket as the field bunched right up with Prontezza the widest. Petite’s Reward kicked away on straightening with Powerful Story the immediate challenger. Doc’s Hero was still there and Sky Dazzle tried hard on the fence. Snitzel Music was battling on and from the back Deconi and Certain Ellie made ground on the inside. Petite’s Reward was too speed and suited by the on pace bias. Sky Dazzle poked through on the fence to grab second from a plucky Doc’s Hero and Powerful Story. Not a bad effort behind them from Certain Ellie who ran out of room late. Strykinglee and Prontezza weren’t ever a hope but perhaps forgive considering the pattern.
Follow: Certain Ellie was nice first-up.
Race 6: Silver Thomas Hanley (1000m)
1st Chiavari – Jake Bayliss
2nd Hotel Sierra – Jordan Childs
3rd Bella Capri – Craig Williams
Appalachian Annie seemed to find the lead pretty easily from Pink Perfection and Hotel Sierra three out. Magnagem landed in the box seat from Chiavari who had Kalabek and Zambezi Diamond trapped wide. Bella Capri improved along the fence ahead of Sharatan. Appalachian Annie ran along and had Pink Perfection chasing before the turn. Hotel Sierra was tapped up to improve while Magnagem came off the bit. Chiavari was sneaking up behind them and Kalabek was wide on the turn. Bella Capri also made some ground closer to the inside. Appalachian Annie went from travelling easily to shot duck in about 100m and was picked up by Hotel Sierra and Chiavari letting down, Bella Capri was also running on while Sharatan made a dash down the outside. Chiavari finished the race off a bit better than Hotel Sierra, who had to work, for a game win while Bella Capri just held off Sharatan for third and Sagabella did a big job to run fifth after being last at the 400m. Hard to believe Appalachian Annie missed a place considering the easy lead.
Follow: Sagabella might be worth another look.
Race 7: Kane Constructions Handicap (1200m)
1st Firsthand – Dwayne Dunn
2nd Prince Of Brooklyn – Ben Thompson
3rd Bassett – Daniel Stackhouse
Firsthand was first to the fence but they made him work in front with Wind Force up three wide and Charlie Garçon punching between them. Bassett was a couple back with the drop on them and Staghorn and Dash For Georgia made a line of three. Tan Tat Charger and Equinova were next and Prince Of Brooklyn was awkwardly placed on the fence at the back. Firsthand had no peace in front and the two outside kept serving it up to him until they started to crack at the 400m. Bassett was right behind the leader with Equinova pulling out and Prince Of Brooklyn ran up behind Bassett as they packed up. Firsthand moved off the fence slightly on the turn and Bassett tried to take the inside run, but it shut on him near the 100m. Prince Of Brooklyn came off their backs to chime in and Well Sighted made a run at them right down the outside. Firsthand had to dig very deep and just held off Prince Of Brooklyn who went down very narrowly. Bassett picked himself up to hold third from Well Sighted and a gap to the rest.
Follow: Firsthand was softened right up and still held on while Prince Of Brooklyn was huge first-up.
Race 8: GJK Travis Harrison Cup (1600m)
1st Onpicalo – Ben Thompson
2nd Fast And Free – Craig Newitt
3rd Kenjorwood – Dylan Dunn
Kenjorwood broke the line first to take the early lead but Onpicalo was on a mission and took over by the first turn. Guest Of Honour came over with him and Rugged Cross was up handy with Spreadeagled. Lord Durante was stuck wide aroundChance To Dance and Fast And Free. Onpicalo wasn’t waiting for anyone and he strode out from Kenjorwood with Guest Of Honour easing back a length or so with Rugged Cross on his inside. Spreadeagled was in the clear and Lord Durante was forced to race wide throughout. Kenjorwood got within half a length of Onpicalo before the leader took off again about 500m out. A wall was forming behind them with Kapour wide out around Lord Durante and Spreadeagled, Guest Of Honour was dropping off and Rugged Cross struggling. Onpicalo waved them goodbye on the turn and raced clear of Kenjorwood, Fast And Free had made ground on the fence and Rugged Cross was still there. Those out wide dropped off quickly. Onpicalo was safely holding them and easily beat Fast And Free and Kenjorwood. Rugged Cross was next and a couple of lengths to Chance To Dance who hit the line very strongly from well back and not a bad first-up run after two years by Almandin. Bias ruined the chances of many. Fair to say Spreadeagled disappointed though.
Follow: Chance To Dance can win a race if he strikes a fair track.
Race 9: DI Office Design Handicap (1200m)
1st Voodoo Lad – Chris Parnham
2nd Duke Of Brunswick – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Kievann – Craig Williams
Gracious Prospect jumped best but was eased slightly and Kievann went looking to cross Riziz and Voodoo Lad on the fence.Nicoscene jumped well but also drifted off the pace around I’m Ablaze and Duke Of Brunswick. Pilly’s Wish was next aroundMagnus Reign. Kievann crossed to the fence but Voodoo Lad wasted no time in switching spots and sitting up outside. Riziz was stranded around them and Gracious Prospect came up four deep again. I’m Ablaze and Nicoscene were a couple back and Duke Of Brunswick was starting to make ground on the fence, passing that pair. Voodoo Lad had Kievann covered on the turn as Riziz and Gracious Prospect called it a day. Duke Of Brunswick kept pinching ground on the fence from I’m Ablaze and Nicoscene pulling out wide. Voodoo Lad went for home at the 200m and got away from Kievann. Duke Of Brunswick came off the fence and stormed into second but Voodoo Lad had it easier in the run and was too strong for him. Kievann held on for third and Magnus Reign made some ground in behind them.
Follow: nice run from Magnus Reign, he’s an improver.
Specials from the meeting: Chance To Dance, Prince Of Brooklyn, Trenchant, Ma Jones.