Race 1 – TFE HOTELS FERNHILL HANDICAP (1600m)
1st PRIZED ICON – Hugh Bowman
2nd CROWN HIM – Jason Collett
3rd LASQUETI SPIRIT – Winona Costin
Super start out of the middle by Crown Him to lead, with Prized Icon and Gravitate also out well. None of the small field attempted to find the rail however, which allowed Costin on Lasqueti Spirit to punch her mount through to the front on the inside. Crown Him and Prized Icon remained outside her with the latter being held up by Bowman to shift back alongside Bring Me The Bling in fourth. Next was Gravitate, then a gap to Hutcho and Reinforced bringing up the rear.
Mover at the 800m was Hutcho, Dunn taking him around the outside to run up to third outside Prized Icon, with Reinforced following suit immediately behind. Lasqueti Spirit held the rail and the lead into the straight, but a well-placed Prized Icon was immediately on her flank and putting pressure on. Just to their outside and back was Crown Him and Bring Me The Bling, however both were being slapped along by their riders and didn’t look any match for Prized Icon, Bowman getting him home by a couple of lengths.
Race 2 – MCGRATH ESTATE AGENTS SOUTH PACIFIC CLASSIC (1400m)
1st HANDFAST – James McDonald
2nd SANTA ANA LANE – Hugh Bowman
3rd SERENE MAJESTY – Kerrin McEvoy
Reasonable start aside from Tulsa who missed it badly to be left behind, whilst at the other end King’s Troop won it from out wide and came across to take up the lead. Mawahibb settled second just in front of Kimberley Star on the rails, Look To The Stars next outside of Suspense, then Handfast, Santa Ana Lane and a length to Serene Majesty.
They cornered in a throng with King’s Troop still holding them off, but the mob soon swamped with Santa Ana Lane looking keenest out wide. Kimberley Star fell away and was overtaken by Handfast, McDonald weaving him through to make it a race in three. Santa Ana Lane was still looking likely but Handfast got to him and went straight past, claiming an impressive win by a couple of lengths. Further back, Serene Majesty and Craiglea Wandoo found the line well.
Watch: Handfast, Serene Majesty, Craiglea Wandoo.
Race 3 – THE PROVINCIAL CHAMPIONSHIPS FINAL (1400m)
1st DANISH TWIST – Damien Oliver
2nd POWERLINE – Brett Prebble
3rd HIS MAJESTY – Blake Shinn
Reasonable start from the big field of country goers with His Majesty immediately collared back and to the fence by Shinn. Powerline rolled across to lead with Zestful moving up on his outside, and Electric Power following suit wider again to move up to third. Marble Miss was back on the fence from Dream Lane whilst Better Not Blue also attempted to round them out wide. They held a very tight bunch with By Golly Molly next with Paaray and Danish Twist tucked in behind on the rail.
All got moving around the side as the mob continued to move together, Powerline taking the lead into the straight with Prebble jumping about all over him. It looked for more than a moment like he might do it, opening up a gap until the 200m when the chasing pack came in the form of Dream Lane, Zestful, His Majesty, and Danish Twist. The latter two – fourth and fifth at the 100m – absolutely rattled home with the huge run from Danish Twist on the outside being enough to edge them out. Further back, Hetty Heights also hit the line well after a less than ideal run.
Watch: Danish Twist, Powerline, Hetty Heights
Race 4 – IG MARKETS PERCY SYKES STAKES (1200m)
1st MISSROCK – Hugh Bowman
2nd PROMPT RESPONSE – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd SPRIGHT – Tommy Berry
Favourite Thyme For Roses was booted out of her wide gate by Clark, who kept pushing and pushing from deep until able to get across and claim the rail. Geneteau had also started well and was in second, followed by Prompt Response in a handy position, Missrock caught a little deep outside Twist Tops, likewise Soviet Secret outside Najmaat, then Emphatically, Spright, Palomino and So Serene. Upon reaching the front Clark attempted to slow his mount with only moderate success, the favourite over-racing as the hit they side of the course.
Thyme For Roses emerged in the lead with Clark still keeping a hold, however it wasn’t long after they fanned out that she was hit by the wall – Prompt Response, Missrock and Soviet Secret forming a line to sprint to the finish. Twist Tops was just behind them but never found a route, Missrock finishing the best the claim the chocolates. Spright ran on nicely for third.
Race 5 – ARROWFIELD 3YO SPRINT (1200m)
1st JAPONISME – Hugh Bowman
2nd COUNTERATTACK – Craig Williams
3rd TAKEDOWN – Brett Prebble
Fairly even start with Takedown and Kinglike getting the best of it and going out hard, along with Spill The Beans on the fence and Petit Filous out wide. Bowman pushed the favourite Japonisme through the middle of the field between Eqyptian Symbol and Bassett, with Hellbent behind on the fence and Counterattack caught deeper.
Kinglike claimed the lead around the turn and took it into the straight, just holding off Takedown and Japonisme, with Bowman sitting dead silent on the favourite. Egyptian Symbol found the fence and followed up the inside, McDonald had pushed Ghisoni forward through the traffic but was never finding a route past the leaders, and Williams had Counterattack raiding from the outside. Ultimately he would fail by the slimmest margins to run down Bowman and Japonisme.
Race 6 – JAMES BOAG’S PREMIUM AUSTRALIAN OAKS (2400m)
1st SOFIA ROSA – Hugh Bowman
2nd AMBIENCE – James McDonald
3rd BELIEVE – Kerrin McEvoy
Slow start at the 2400 with Capella notably taken straight back and across, and Oliver doing likewise on the favourite Jameka. At the front it was four-way go for the lead heading into the first turn, Ambience pushing forward to have the rail from Honesta, Valley Girl and Self Esteem in a line outside her. Believe and Chaboud were next from Diamond Made, then Sophia Rose on the outside of Sacred Eye, a gap to Happy Hannah, Alaskan Rose and Single Gaze caught deep.
Up front Valley Girl had pushed forward to find the rail, but most willing was Self Esteem, Zahra happy to give her her head and let her run away. The lead got to around four lengths around the back of the course, Valley Girl still second from Ambience and Honesta caught wide without cover. First major mover was Believe at about the 1400, McEvoy taking her around traffic to move up to a clear third. Bowman was the next to do so further back on Sofia Rosa, whilst Oliver followed suit from even further back on the favourite Jameka.
By the 1000m Self Esteem was back with the field as Believe had shifted up to second, the mob bunching as they hit the side of the course. The pace picked up into the final turn with Shinn getting Happy Hannah moving around the outside in midfield, with Single Gaze following suit until a horrific looking fall just before the straight (horse and rider relatively ok). Up front Valley Girl had the rail and claimed a tiring Self Esteem, who nonetheless kept punching on. Ambience and Believe would claim her as well, but wider again it was Sofia Rosa and Jameka coming – the former with a super finish to claim the win. Nice finishes also from Jameka, who just had too much ground to make up late, and Chabaud and Capella.
Watch: Sofia Rose, Jameka, Chabaud, Capella.
Race 7 – SCHWEPPES SYDNEY CUP (3200m)
1st GALLANTE – Kerrin McEvoy
2nd LIBRAN – Brenton Avdulla
3rd GRAND MARSHAL – James McDonald
Who Shot Thebarman, Bayanova and Almoonqith were taken straight to the back at the start, whilst the fight for the lead was won by Gallante, slotting in with Like A Carousel rolling forward on his outside. Auvrey was next, pretty handy on the speed and well placed third on the fence, with Café Society next in line with cover. A group of three then with Libran on the outside of Destiny’s Kiss, and Dee I Cee caught three wide in no-mans-land as Huet continued to push forward and settle just outside the leaders without cover. Grand Marshal sat in next on the fence.
Very orderly going for the long trip with nobody desperate to make any moves until they hit the side of the course, where Huet pushed Dee I Cee further forward to almost challenge Gallante for the lead, but still travelling deep. Into the last corner and Café Society loomed up three wide with Libran outside him and Who Shot Thebarman coming up wider still. Grand Marshal was caught behind them before finally getting a run as Who Shot Thebarman stepped out a little in the straight. Gallante just kept holding them off – Libran was the most likely challenger and Grand Marshal stuck with him, but the leader held it all the way for an impressive victory.
Race 8 – THE COOLMORE LEGACY STAKES (1600m)
1st AZKADELLIA – Damien Oliver
2nd HEAVENS ABOVE – Tye Angland
3rd NOBLE PROTECTOR – Craig Williams
Favourite Azkadellia didn’t get the best start to be well back from the gates, with Vergara up the inside and Badawiya from wider came together to take up the lead. Next was Suavtio with Noble Protector placed nicely inside on the fence, Coronation Shallon caught deep outside them, Artistry behind on the fence with Miss Rose De Lago outside, then a gap to Casino Dancer, Risque and Lady Le Fay, then Heavens Above right back on the fence inside Azkadellia.
Avdulla let Vergara go a little up front, taking it out to a couple of lengths down the side of the course. In the final turn Zanbagh and Coronation Shallon got right out wide for a run, whilst favourite Azkadellia was glued to the fence before the inside lane opened up beautifully for her. She shot up the inside of Noble Protector to run away with it, with Heavens Above emerging and hitting the line nicely for second. A nice finish to from Lady La Fay.
Watch: Azkadella, Heavens Above, Lady La Fay
Race 9 – LONGINES QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES (2000m)
1st LUCIA VALENTINA – Damien Oliver
2nd THE UNITED STATES – Kerrin McEvoy
3rd HAPPY CLAPPER – Brenton Avdulla
Good fight for the front early with plenty wanting the lead, Awesome Rock eventually taking it upon settling from Leebaz on the fence and It’s Somewhat three deep. A gap then to Rising Romance with Mongolian Khan outside, having fought his way back through the field after slightly missing the start. Hauraki was sider still outside Criterion and Preferment, then Happy Clapper on the fence, The United States caught deep, Happy Trails, Fenway, Dibayani and Lucia Valentina bringing up the rear.
Around the side and It’s Somewhat and Mongolian Khan edged out slightly for some clear air, forming a wall of four outside Leebaz and Awesome Rock. Further back and Preferment was ridden hard in the middle, whilst Hauraki and Dibayani went widest for a run. Rising Romance and Happy Clapper looked likely up the inside before Lucia Valentina, having battled to find a run from dead last at the top of the straight despite Oliver looking everywhere, emerged from the pack after getting a gap – “like a shot out of a gun” as perfectly described by Darren Flindell – racing away for a super win from The United States, who also hit the line well, as did Happy Trails.
Watch: Lucia Valentina, The United States.
Race 10 – SENSIS SAPPHIRE STAKES (1200 METRES)
1st TWO BLUE – Paul King
2nd SECRET AGENDA – Dwayne Dunn
3rd BROOK ROAD – Chad Schofield
Two Blue was out best to claim the lead from Ottoman and Vezalay, Bounding next with Secret Agenda on the outside, then No More Tears, Griante and Brook Road stuck to the fence. Two Blue held them well with King not doing too much until the straight, where he largely had put paid to them by the 300m. Sultry Feeling and Peace Force ran off the track, the former actually finishing rather well, while closer in the chasing pack was headed by Secret Agenda, Vezalay and Brook Road. Nobody was getting near the leader however. Further back Cradle Me hit the line fairly well.
Watch: Two Blue
Horses to follow: Handfast, Danish Twist, His Majesty, Sofia Rose, Azkadellia, Lucia Valentina.