Blackbookers: Race 9 – D’ARGENTO.
Race 1: Kindergarten Stakes 2YO 1100m.
Notes: Well the betting drift on ENBIHAAR (unplaced) was alarming ad it ran accordingly. Opening as favourite, he continued to drift all week and especially late in the betting, settled last and never got out of third gear and only beat one home. It will be interesting to see the post-race findings there. PAQUIRRI (1st) had the blinkers on for the first time, was still a maiden going into this and hadn’t exactly lit the track on fire at four career runs and was beaten out of sight in the Todman last start. After a perfect run on the rails, he eased three-wide in the straight and finished too strong. ENNIS HILL (unplaced) led but gone at the furlong, LEGEND OF CONDOR (2nd) sat outside the leader, got the better of it before being run down late. LEAN MEAN MACHINE (3rd) ran on ok but had every chance as the heavily backed post-time favourite.
Race 2: Carbine Club Stakes 3YO 1600m.
Notes: MURAAQEB (1st) settled 5th on the rails, was held-up briefly at the 300 but got the split and Oliver drove him to the line for a nice win after a perfect ride. DISSOLUTION (2nd) had to sit outside the leader, hit the front at the furlong but was nabbed soon after, stuck on ok after setting the pace. HOLY SNOW (3rd) missed the kick and was 2nd last early, was jostling to get out in the straight before making good ground late. The unlucky runner of the race may have been SAMBRO (unplaced) who after settling behind the leader, was bolting along the rails without a run for most of the straight and was eased down late after getting no run.
Race 3: P.J. Bell Stakes 3YO Fillies 1200m.
Notes: The 3YO girls took centre stage in Race 3, HOUTZEN (1st) had been well backed during the week from double figures in, she sat just off the leaders before hitting the front and holding them off in a four-way go. PROBLEM SOLVER (3rd) was three-wide for the majority and loomed up alongside the leader but just couldn’t get by. MANICURE (2nd) came from one more horse further back but was unable to reel them in, albeit only beaten a very small margin. Stablemate DEMERARA (unplaced) ducked back to the inside and I doubt there will be a horse in all of Oz today that ran 4th beaten a smaller margin. Those further back failed to make any real ground, may be willing to forgive those as we see how the track plays out later in the day.
Race 4: Country Championships Final 1400m.
VICTOREM (1st) had only been beaten in one of his first 5 starts, was well supported here in the final as he was in his heat. Off the rails at the top of the straight, got heavily bumped and baulked at the 300, before ducking back to the rails and putting a gap on them in a few strides. He was absolutely dominant and looks to have a future.
Notes: DON’T GIVE A DAMN (2nd) had every possible chance after being in the box seat, eased three-wide at the top of the lane and was the horse to box in the favourite. He ran on ok but had every chance, doesn’t look in the same class as the winner.
Race 5: Chairman’s Quality 2600m.
Notes: SIR CHARLES ROAD (6) is a Kiwi that was having his first Australian start here today, was a winner of the City of Auckland Cup three back, in the Auckland Cup last start he was on the pace before drifting back and running on well at the back-end. When he got into a two-horse war with VENTURA STORM (2nd) early in the straight you knew that he would certainly see it out back in trip here. The runner-up was good and had every chance and continues to be under-rated as a staying star in this country. A gap to third, the disappointing runner of the race was ALWARD (unplaced) who had the perfect run in transit, loomed approaching the straight but failed to run it out. CISMONTANE (7) was up on the speed and also didn’t look to run it out.
Race 6: Inglis Sires’ 2YO 1400m.
Notes: Two main storylines in the Sires. Firstly, the winner. EL DORADO DREAMING (1st) was a 150/1 maiden coming into this, beaten as favourite in a Newcastle maiden last time out when on the speed. Today from the wide gate she got back, got to the outside which many believed to be the slow lane and ran home over the top of them out wide. Secondly, the runner-up. OOHOOD (2nd) is still amaiden after placing in all six career starts. We have written about her in this column before and she really has had no luck, she was held-up badly at the top of the straight after settling closer today, jockey Zac Purton darted back to the inside knocking a few over in the process and is sure to get a holiday. He dashed quickly but lost in the head-bob after looking the winner, connections must now be thinking if not when. NOT A SINGLE CENT (unplaced) may be one to follow, the Sires winner in Melbourne had no luck most of the straight form a shocking draw and went to the line untested.
Race 7: Australian Derby 2400m.
Notes: What a great race. LEVENDI (1st) was quietly ridden, let-go approaching the straight and quickly loomed. ACE HIGH (2nd) was ridden just off the pace, eased three-wide and hit the front at the top of the straight. It turned into a brutal two-horse-war, LEVENDI out bobbing ACE HIGH who looked beaten but kept responding. The race was then taken into the steward’s room where the connections had to survive a protest in which Tye Angland had said that Mark Zahra had come in on him over the last 100m. The official margin was only a nose so there as some merit in it, but after connections were called back into the room in next to no time, they were told of the dismissed outcome that most expected. Side note – What about the fact that owners can comment on the objections???? Oh what about third, not sure they were so far back!
Race 8: T. J. Smith Stakes WFA 1200m.
TRAPEZE ARTIST (12) won the Golden Rose at big odds, sat back off the leaders here this time well into single figures and heavily backed, back in trip against the older horses. So many things to take into account, but the result was simply breathtaking. He gave REDZEL (2nd) a start, still at the furlong looked as if it was going to be a close finish but the way he put a gap on that horse and the rest was unbelievable. No doubt the debate will be how long they keep him racing, a Snitzel Colt that can win from 1200 to a mile against the best in the land at 3…. I dare say we won’t see him around much longer!
Notes: The runner-up was brave in defeat after leading but had his chance, IN HER TIME (3rd) was the unlucky runner, held-up at a vital stage before getting back to the inside and running on hard late.
Race 9: Doncaster Mile 1600m.
HAPPY CLAPPER! Never have I been so happy to not tip a winner than the Doncaster today. So great to see people like trainer Pat Webster post-race, just a love of racing that makes you realise what a great spectacle it is. HAPPY CLAPPER (1st) was ridden beautifully by Blake Shinn, got the rails run at the top of the straight, burst through and never looked like losing from that point. Away from Winx, he would have to be the most popular horse in this part of the country and I can’t imagine it would have been a good result for the on-course bookies with the $20 and $50 punters.
Notes: Well supported favourite KEMENTARI (unplaced), was held-up for a lot of the straight after the jock was riding for luck, just not sure that he had much to offer late and have no doubt that he wouldn’t have won. COMIN’ THROUGH (2nd) was good at huge odds, ARBEITSAM (3rd) ran a solid race in front and D’ARGENTO (unplaced) was the biggest run of the race. After having to ride 2kg over the allotted weight as there was no available jock, he was last away, before running on hard between runners towards the middle of the track, clearly the best of the back-markers.
Race 10: Adrian Knox Stakes 3YO Fillies 2000m.
How are any of these going to beat LUVALUVA (1st) in the Oaks? She showed that she is right back after having to carry the 60kg, giving 7kg to her rivals. She settled mid-field, angled out wide at the top of the straight and although she let down nicely, it was the toughness she showed when continuing to grind home.
Notes: PRETTY TO SEA (11) has run the race of her short career, she had been good in Melbourne at two starts since her maiden win, but this was a different league. HARMATTAN (4) was heavily supported, she looked to have her chance after diving back towards the inside between runners. To her credit, she stuck on ok and wasn’t beaten far after looking like dropping out, hard to see any of these backing up to beat the topweight next time.