Race 1: Benchmark 84 Handicap (1600m)
1st Dulverton – Craig Williams
2nd Champagne Cocktail – Chris Symons
3rd Baby Don’t Cry – Regan Bayliss
Takeover was first to find the fence but pressure came from the outside so handed up to Nigelissima and Baby Don’t Cry, who was a bit slow out. Champagne Cocktail let them go and settled one off the fence with To Be Honest stuck outside. Bonnie Belle was midfield on the inside of Choice. A couple back to Kaniana and Elusive Catch. As the pace slackened Dulvertonwhipped up three wide and moved past Kaniana. Nigelissima was joined by Baby Don’t Cry as they packed up and To Be Honest tried to join in three wide, putting Champagne Cocktail in a pocket. Takeover had to wait and Dulverton was getting a perfect trail into the race and Kaniana worked onto her back. Baby Don’t Cry took the lead on the turn and went for home. Dulverton made her move as To Be Honest struggled. Kaniana was being held together wider out and Champagne Cocktail was being held up. Dulverton claimed Baby Don’t Cry about 100m out and forged clear for an easy win. Champagne Cocktail may have been a little unlucky as she got through late to snatch second. Kaniana was fair but lost her chance when the winner went around her early and Elusive Catch finished well in an improved effort.
Follow: Champagne Cocktail has another win in her.
Race 2: Craig Opie Cup (1600m)
1st Mihany – Regan Bayliss
2nd Sadaqa – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Foundry – Steven Arnold
Mihany flew out of the gates and had little trouble crossing to the fence. Sadaqa worked over to be a clear second ahead ofFoundry and Last Wish. The favourite Raw Impulse settled midfield on the fence with Master Zephyr outside his stablemate.Observational and Shamkiyr were the next pair. Mihany was able to dictate the race and slipped away from Sadaqa nearing the turn. Foundry eased three wide but was flat as was Last Wish while Master Zephyr, also under pressure, came out four deep. Raw Impulse was able to get a gap between Last Wish and Foundry and into the clear but he couldn’t sprint and Mihany gapped them, racing well clear in the last 150m to record an easy win. Sadaqa kept battling away and held a clear second while there was a line up for third. Foundry just snatched third with Raw Impulse inside him and Observational finishing off okay. Master Zephyr was right on their backs, finding it too short. Raw Impulse a big disappointing, thought he was entitled to at least run second.
Follow: Master Zephyr is ready now at 2000m onwards.
Race 3: Quest Moonee Valley Handicap (1514m)
1st Hey Doc – Dylan Dunn
2nd Rocketeer – Michael Dee
3rd Lord Macau – Michael Walker
Plenty of pace in the run to the first turn and Lord Macau worked to take it up from Brookwater keeping him honest. Havildarlanded in a good spot from Larrikin and Northern Lion in the clear. Hey Doc found himself three wide without cover aroundCongressional and Rocketeer in the centre. There was some shuffling in the second half of the field as the leaders pulled up in front. Lord Macau still held it from Brookwater but Havildar moved three wide. From the back Ontoff Ofthe World strode around them midrace to be up with the first few and Hey Doc had to check a bit as he made that move. Larrikin and Congressional were hard at it, Benny Goes Berzerk was also wide out trying to make ground and Rocketeer was relegated right back to second last. Lord Macau and Brookwater were still at it around the turn and just as Lord Macau started to get the better of him Hey Doc sprinted quickly down the outside to join in. Ontoff Ofthe World couldn’t go on while Rocketeer weaved his way through to get into the clear a couple of lengths off Hey Doc who had momentum up. Hey Doc was able to hold Rocketeer, who took ground off him, to score a strong win. Lord Macau was game holding third from Benny Goes Berzerk, who didn’t have a great day out, and they gapped the rest. Might be a strong race through the first four.
Follow: Rocketeer was a victim of circumstances and is on the way up.
Race 4: United Refrigeration Handicap (1514m)
1st Vostok – Damien Oliver
2nd Mr Individual – Ben Thompson
3rd Moss ‘N’ Dale – Regan Bayliss
There was a prize at the first turn as Oscar’s My Mate Pa and Zahspeed clapped on the pace early. Twisting Typhoon was right there with them and wider out Mr Individual was stranded out there and had to press forward. Living Large settled on the fence and Moss ‘N’ Dale had a perfect sit. A couple to Wheatsheaf Flyer and Vostok improving to be midfield on the rail. Zahspeed was the first of the leaders to struggle and Oscar’s My Mate Pa got away with Mr Individual moving to second out wide. Living Large and Moss ‘N’ Dale were waiting while Vostok started to get off the fence and into the race. Twisting Typhoon was under pressure wide out and Wheatsheaf Flyer also hard at it to chase. Mr Individual took the lead on the turn from Oscar’s My Mate Pa but Moss ‘N’ Dale made his move out very wide on the track and Vostok worked into it strongly. Mr Individual refused to surrender after the hard run and it took ages for Vostok to get to him but he finished a bit the better. Moss ‘N’ Dale had every chance but stuck on. A couple of stayers caught the eye running on, particularly The Bandit who was slow out and made ground on the fence before looking strong late. Steggler ran an improved race too.
Follow: like to see The Bandit again.
Race 5: McEwen Stakes (1000m)
1st Wild Rain – Stephen Baster
2nd Furnaces – Craig Williams
3rd Heatherly – Damian Lane
Heatherly was playing up in the gates and missed it by half a length or so. Sheidel beat them out but was restrained allowingWild Rain and Furnaces to kick up on her inside. Shakespearean Lass was up there early but also eased settling outside Alpha Miss. Heatherly was next then moved into the three wide line on Sheidel’s back. Wild Rain was able to dictate a bit in the middle stages with Furnaces staying over a length away. Sheidel three wide was working and Heatherly swung around her heels to run on nearing the turn. Furnaces tried to get to Wild Rain early in the straight but by the 100m she was holding him. Heatherly kept coming and almost claimed second but Wild Rain was far too good. Sheidel’s natural speed wasn’t utilised here yet again but she wasn’t disgraced in running fourth just ahead of O’Malley who ran on but was never in the hunt.
Follow: none in particular.
Race 6: Atlantic Jewel Stakes (1200m)
1st Merriest – Damien Oliver
2nd Whispering Brook – Chris Parnham
3rd Sweet Sherry – Steven Arnold
Athena Lass and Piccadillies jumped best and Whispering Brook also began well and was looking to get across. Merriest andSweet Sherry were in that group and Tan Tat Beauty had the inside. She’s Positive and Sword Of Light were caught wide in the early stages as Whispering Brook took up the running. Athena Lass kept her off the fence for a while but the WA filly crossed to the fence and Merriest moved up to second. She’s Positive kept creeping forward wide out with Sword Of Light. Piccadillies enjoyed a good run while all that was going on and Sweet Sherry was shuffled back a pair. Whispering Brook and Merriest got away from the rest around the turn and staged a two horse war to the line. Merriest was going to win clearly but Whispering Brook kept fighting on and there was only a small margin on the line. Athena Lass was in the clear in plenty of time but was flat out, Piccadillies battled while Sweet Sherry worked to the outside and charged home to get within about a length and a half on the first two. Big gap to the remainder headed by Athena Lass and Sebring Dream made a little bit of ground late but a long way off the winner.
Follow: Whispering Brook and Sweet Sherry are in for a big clash in the Guineas Prelude later this month.
Race 7: SAJ Fruit Supply Stakes (1200m)
1st Voodoo Lad – Chris Parnham
2nd Keen Array – Dwayne Dunn
3rd Sebring Sun – Craig Williams
Voodoo Lad inexplicably missed the start and settled last. Up front Passing Shot held out Tudor to lead with Rich Jack wider out. Sebring Sun landed in a good spot in behind them keeping Well Sprung wide and Rough Justice punched up on the fence.Keen Array settled better than midfield ahead of Fast Cash out deep and Taddei Tondo. Voodoo Lad was second last on the fence. They pulled right up in the middle stages and Voodoo Lad was getting his head up as he was restrained to get into clear running but it relegated him to last. Passing Shot and Tudor were still duelling on the turn with Well Sprung trying to match them wider out. Rough Justice ran up behind the leaders and Sebring Sun pushed into the clear as Keen Array was presented down the outside. Voodoo Lad was a couple of lengths behind him as they cornered and the widest runner. Keen Array didn’t even get the chance to hit the lead as Voodoo Lad descended on him and put them away in an amazing performance against his normal style. Keen Array was solid first-up and Sebring Sun had every chance but ran into a nice third. Well Sprung was far from disgraced running fourth after covering plenty of ground. Not much to say about the rest.
Follow: couldn’t rap anything but the winner who is just a good horse.
Race 8: Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m)
1st Awesome Rock – Stephen Baster
2nd Real Love – Chris Parnham
3rd Set Square – Luke Nolen
Excess Knowledge was one of the best to begin and found the fence but they came across from wide out with Suavito the first to cross him then The Cleaner rolled to the lead with Mahuta on his outside. Miss Rose De Lago wasn’t the best out but was sent forward and eventually moved to third and three wide. Tavago wasn’t far away around Jacquinot Bay and the next bunch included Tosen Stardom between Set Square and Awesome Rock. Jameka was stuck four deep by the 800m. The Cleaner ran them along like he always does and Mahuta was out of his comfort zone a fair way from home. Miss Rose De Lago also had to be ridden up and Excess Knowledge and Suavito were also hard at it. Jacquinot Bay had a battle with Tavago to get off the inside and Awesome Rock took his spot with Real Love coming through closer to the fence. Set Square was widest running on and she kept Tosen Stardom in a pocket with Jameka also out there. The Cleaner led for home and he had Mahuta’s measure but Awesome Rock shoved Suavito out of the way and started to sprint quickly. Set Square wound up down the outside while Jameka still caused Tosen Stardom trouble. Behind them The United States worked to the outside after being near last on the turn. Awesome Rock sprinted to the lead inside the 100m and charged away. Real Love and Set Square were doing the chasing from Tosen Stardom finally getting into the clear. The Cleaner weakened and wide out The United States and Jameka ran on well. Plenty to take out of this race and some of those well beaten didn’t do badly.
Follow: Tosen Stardom was excellent, The United States a nice effort and no knock on the first three home.
Race 9: MSC Signs Handicap (2040m)
1st Killarney Kid – John Allen
2nd Lord Durante – Darren Gauci
3rd Aloft – Damien Oliver
Lord Durante was ridden for speed this time and he held out Pin Your Hopes with Bold Sniper coming over from the deep.Killarney Kid landed in a good spot inside Almandin. Aloft was behind them with Swacadelic and as they strung outTooleybuc Kid and Tall Ship were just off midfield. Bold Sniper found himself caught wide so was allowed to stride clear of Lord Durante. Pin Your Hopes was left without cover and Killarney Kid continued to get a cheap run. Bold Sniper really strung them out and appeared to resent being held back to the field and Lord Durante rejoined him at the 600m. Pin Your Hopes had to move three wide and Almandin four deep while Killarney Kid stayed on the fence and waited. Aloft was being pushed along with Swacadelic and not much coming from the back. Lord Durante went straight past Bold Sniper, who could offer little, and Killarney Kid came off the fence to start his move on the bend. Almandin was out wider while Pin Your Hopes and Aloft were having a bump as the latter tried to get clear. Killarney Kid took over about 100m out and while Lord Durante fought on he was a bit too strong. Aloft worked through for a nice third first-up from Swacadelic. Almandin had every chance and Bold Sniper was next so anything behind him can be counted as disappointing.
Follow: Aloft doesn’t look a star but he made a promising local debut.
Specials from the meeting: Master Zephyr, Rocketeer, Tosen Stardom, Champagne Cocktail.