Runners to watch: Caulfield, April 21st

Luke Krahe race reviews, notes and blackbookers from Saturday's Melbourne metro meeting at Caulfield.

Blackbookers: Race 3 – MISS HELLBENDER.

Race 1: VOBIS Gold Distaff 1400m

FRENCH EMOTION (1st) opened up very short during the week and eased out to around 6/4 at the jump, was beautifully ridden in behind the speed before Ben Melham eased it four wide around the leaders at the top of the straight. Once she lobbed in that position the race was all but over.

Notes: ANOTHER BULLSEYE (2nd) had a wide trip and was bumped 5-wide when the winner pushed out underneath him, she stuck on really well in the straight. MY TRUE LOVE (unplaced) led and had every chance, SUMMER GLEN (unplaced) was well backed but was posted three-wide without cover the trip up on the speed and showed little in the straight after the torrid run. The winner showed her class and finally returned again to the winner’s stall for the first time since this race last year.

Race 2: VOBIS Gold Mile 1600m.

Notes: There wasn’t much speed on in the race which made the poor performances of those on the speed even less appealing going forward. WAGING WAR (1st) was ridden back on the inner, took all the short-cuts around the bend before angling sharply into the clear and running on too well. Both his starts in SA since resuming were good and he showed a great turn-of-foot to gap them. WIDGEE TURF (2nd) had every chance, he raced outside the winner but came wide and was left a little flat-footed at the top of the straight and was doing his best work late. SWORD OF LIGHT (3rd) sat outside the leader and was clearly the best of the on-pacers but had every chance after hitting the lead clearly turning for home. TURNITAROUND (unplaced) and SO SI BON (unplaced) were up on the speed and did little.

Race 3: 2YO VOBIS Sires 1200m.

THRILLSTER (1st) jumped well before being eased to 5th about 5 lengths from the leader off a good speed. Callow pulled it three wide approaching the straight and after jostling momentarily four-wide, she dashed to the front and once again rolled back towards the inside in a dominant performance.

Notes: GOLDEN SCRIPT (2nd) had a similar run but hit a dead-end when the runs came and was forced to ease around the winner and lost momentum. Not sure if she would have won but he certainly would have got a lot closer than the official winning margin was. DES MOINES (unplaced) showed plenty of pace but couldn’t do it at the back end. MISS HELLBENDER (3rd) was wide throughout and forced five-wide when the leader came out at the turn, she then jostled before running on well the last furlong. She was the one to follow out of the race for mine.

Race 4: VOBIS Gold Health 2000m.

Notes: SELF SENSE (1st) sat last in the moderate tempo, the moves didn’t come until the 600 when there were plenty. He came 6 wide into the straight and showed a good turn of foot running down the middle of the track. He was a last start winner over the jumps at Pakenham, so this has been a nice training performance. KIWIA (2nd) lost its position approaching the turn and was shuffled out to last. He finally got going late and ran on hard, not sure you would say unlucky, but he did look like he wants further. LAUGHING HEIR (3rd) and PATCH ADAMS (unplaced) both rana on ok but had their chances.

Race 5: VOBIS Gold Dash 1100m.

Notes: SAMS IMAGE (1st) remains the only horse to lower the colours of NATURE STRIP (2nd). He led, kicked 3 lengths clear into the straight and did enough in the straight. He was actually holding the hotpot on the line. NATURE STRIP (2nd) was very short in the betting, over-raced badly on the inside id-race before being held-up and running in well late back towards the inner. He was all out on the line however and wasn’t gaining ground the last 50m. VAINSTREAM (3rd) had every chance in behind the leader, MISS VIXEN (unplaced) and DEPRIVE (unplaced) both ran on ok from a mile back when getting wide, some interesting tactical decisions in this.

Race 6: 3YO VOBIS Sires 1600m.

Notes: After two consecutive shorties had been rolled with questionable rides, CLIFF’S EDGE (unplaced) looked a lock at the set weights and the class that he has already won at. He didn’t get the lead as expected with a bolter taking up the running, but he was the first beaten on the turn, there was obviously an issue. MAHAMEDSIS (1st) came from last out wide to narrowly beat TEMPLE OF BEL (2nd) who also came form near last but went between runners saving ground. STREET SHEIK (3rd) had every chance but raced a little flat towards the end of the mile, doubt this race will hold-up as a form reference and the steward’s report will be interesting reading, in regards to the well beaten favourite.

Race 7: Bel Esprit Stakes 1100m.

We all know that SPRIGHTLY LASS (1st) has a stack of speed and does everything right, but she showed her tenacity after being headed early in the straight. She rallied hard under Dunn to regain the lead and was strong enough through the line.

Notes: MALIBU STYLE (3rd) was nosed out of the runner-up position, the WA trained gelding had only been fair at his two runs here in Vic but was wide at the turn and pushed wider into the straight, didn’t shirk the task and kept coming through the line. BONS AWAY (2nd) had every possible chance, sat behind the speedy leader before pushing into the clear at the top of the straight and ambled up to them. He actually hit the front momentarily but didn’t appear to run it right out and switched off halfway up the straight. No excuses. FIRST AMONG EQUALS (unplaced) ran through the line well enough and will strip fitter.

Race 8: VOBIS Gold Sprint 1200m.

RICH CHARM (1st) got everyone’s attention with the media spotlight on its adorable trainer, but what he did here was phenomenal. He traded at $60+ on Betfair in the run after the caller all but dismissed his chances at the 250 when a mile back and the rider dropped the whip, but under hands and heels, the favourite ran on unbelievably over the last 100m. He really is a superstar sprinter and the fairy-tale run continues.

Notes: KEEN ARRAY (2nd) was a nice return to the racetrack, had every chance running on between them before being haued in late by the impressive winner. DEMONSTRATE (unplaced) as always hit the line hard but was up along side the winner early in the straight. ASHLOR (3rd) and PRUSSIAN VIXON (unplaced) where close-up after racing on the speed, all honours with the winner though.

Race 9: TROA Anniversary Vase 1400m.

Notes: THEANSWERMYFRIEND (unplaced) was unwanted in the betting, settled behind the leaders but was over-racing badly, eventually sitting three-wide without cover and was the first beaten. FASTNET TEMPEST (1st) was near last settling but made a lightning quick move 5-wide to circle them and loom at the top of the straight. It took the whole straight to get past the leader RHYTHM TO SPARE (2nd), but he was doing best on the line. LAND OF PLENTY (3rd) was mid-field before easing wide, was held-up briefly before following the winner but didn’t show the acceleration to stick with him. He laid in badly in the straight before rattling home late. The caller said he was luckless, but he appeared to have every chance and may be looking for the mile.