Flemington review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: Maribyrnong Plate (1000m)

1st Prompt Return – James Winks 2nd Old Trieste – Stephen Baster 3rd Sailing By – Damien Oliver

The field split shortly after the start and Bantam led on the grandstand side with Belhamage, New Summer Night and Luchador handy. Little Indian and Iceflow were widest. On the flat side Prompt Return sat outside Mister Miyagi with a couple of lengths to Old Trieste. At the 300m Prompt Return had burst away from those on the inside and was clearly in front in the race with Old Trieste chasing him. Bantam and New Summer Night weren’t making any inroads though Bantam looked to be trying hard. Sailing By started to hit the line well between them and drifted to the middle of the track when running on. Prompt Return, hard up against the rail, held them safely and cruised in from Old Trieste who couldn’t get closer than about two lengths. Sailing By really caught the eye late and she’s got a future. Jacqueric charged home from the back behind her in a promising debut just ahead of Bantam. No others made any real impact and the likes of Belhamage and Iceflow were very disappointing. Follow: winner must be smart, stick with him. Sailing By was excellent on debut.

Race 2: SecondBite Plate (2000m)

1st Held Hostage – Craig Williams 2nd Clang And Bang – Brad Rawiller 3rd Shenzhou Steeds – Steven Arnold

Rawnaq was eased to the back from his wide alley. Longeron was best to begin and found the fence with Held Hostage up handy. Rainbow Storm pushed on from the outside to sit up second and Clang And Bang found the fence behind them. Denoninator edged around them three wide ahead of Captain Fancypantz and Bells Of Troy. Cadillac Mountain drifted well back to be in the last few. The field bunched right up coming to the turn and Longeron was the first horse beaten. Rainbow Storm hit the front momentarily while Denoninator was starting to feel the pinch. Held Hostage sprinted straight past those about 300m out and went for home. Clang And Bang had a bit of a bumping duel trying to squeeze between horses but Held Hostage was in full flight by the time he did. Shenzhou Steeds, who was behind Clang And Bang in the run, got off the fence to run on in plenty of time. Cadillac Mountain was one of the widest and made a short lived dash with Rawnaq from the back but they were never in the hunt. Held Hostage won the race 300m out and she cruised home for an easy win. Clang And Bang tried hard and Shenzhou Steeds ran his best race for a long time. Hvasstan ran on well late to grab fourth but he wasn’t a factor. Bells Of Troy was next and Cadillac Mountain and Rawnaq were close up. Winner far too good on the pace while others not suited. Follow: many of these have been up a while, perhaps forgive Rawnaq and Cadillac Mountain a bit.

Race 3: Antler Luggage Handicap (1600m)

1st Saint Or Sinner – James McDonald 2nd Pin Your Hopes – Katelyn Mallyon 3rd Alcohol – Hugh Bowman

Saint Or Sinner jumped well from the inside and let a few go with Lightenuff rolling to the lead with another natural on pacer Backstedt. Pin Your Hopes landed in a good spot as well. London Stripe and Our Hand Of Faith were next with Chile Express caught wide. Excess Knowledge was only fairly away and wound up about midfield around Vima and Phantom Brew. They seemed to run along reasonably here and Backstedt moved alongside Lightenuff on the turn. Pin Your Hopes peeled out three wide to run on, pushing Chile Express deeper and Our Hand Of Faith was strung up for a run between them. Saint Or Sinner got a run inside Lightenuff and hit the lead inside the 300m. Pin Your Hopes tried to go with him while Backstedt was sticking on. Excess Knowledge wound up down the outside but Alcohol went straight past him about 200m out as he charged home. Saint Or Sinner sprinted better than Pin Your Hopes inside the last furlong before Pin Your Hopes began to claw back the margin and Alcohol was closing fast out wider. In a close finish Saint Or Sinner held off Pin Your Hopes while Alcohol would have beaten them both in a few more strides. Backstedt was brave just behind them while Excess Knowledge was only fair but did have 59kg and got further back than expected. Can’t say much about the rest. Follow: none but like to see Excess Knowledge again this prep.

Race 4: Hilton Hotels & Resorts Stakes (1400m)

1st Lord Aspen – Matthew Neilson 2nd Orient Line – Kerrin McEvoy 3rd Ducal Castle – Daniel Stackhouse

Sebrella eased at the start and Staviva was checked soon after and dropped back as well. Greco was ridden up to find the early lead. Husson Eagle went with him and Lord Aspen dropped into a perfect trail outside Seenaan.Ulmann was trapped wide and Durendal was in that bunch as well. Orient Line, Limehills and Vuelta all around midfield. Husson Eagle loomed alongside Greco soon after straightening and Lord Aspen eased around them to chime in. Limehills tried to go with him but couldn’t and Seenaan and Orient Line were looking for runs inside. Nicoscene was the widest runner. Lord Aspen got to Husson Eagle at the 200m and after a short struggle got the better of him. Orient Line burst through along the inside and looked a threat. Seenaan and Ulmann battled on while out wider Ducal Castle and Armada started to find the line well. Lord Aspen held about a neck’s advantage on Orient Line for about the last 50m and probably would have held that margin in another 50m. Solid win. Ducal Castle took a step up from his first-up win and ran a super race while Armada”s chances were cruelled by a wide alley. Staviva again ran on well but also got too far back. No excuses for the others. Follow: plenty of these look good going forward…Lord Aspen will be hard to beat in the Sandown guineas, Ducal Castle and Armada can win races.

Race 5: Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m)

1st Le Roi – Damien Oliver 2nd Prince Of Penzance – Hugh Bowman 3rd Big Memory – Tommy Berry

Let’s Make Adeal and Bring Something were tardy out by a couple of lengths. Commanding Time was first to the fence but eventually gave up the lead to Big Memory. Noble Protector moved to second soon after and Le Roifollowed her. Ali Vital settled three back on the fence inside Zanbagh with Prince Of Penzance next. No real change for quite a while and the tempo looked to be even. Big Memory ran the race to suit himself and wasn’t pressured until getting to the 600m when Noble Protector crept closer. Le Roi kept following her and Zanbagh was the first to be put under pressure. Noble Protector laid it down to Big Memory early in the straight and Le Roi joined them about 300m out. Prince Of Penzance picked his way through the field and came around the three in front with plenty of time to run on. The others were just battling. Noble Protector was struggling to stay with Big Memory and Le Roi and was squeezed out 100m to go between them. Prince Of Penzance had his chance but Le Roi held him off with Big Memory holding a comfortable third. Noble Protector pulled up with some heat stress at her second Australian start. Be very forgiving of her though she’s unlikely to press on. Follow: none, this is the end of the spring for most of these.

Race 6: Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m)

1st Terravista – Hugh Bowman 2nd Chautauqua – Dwayne Dunn 3rd Lankan Rupee – Chad Schofield

Slade Power missed it noticeably then had crowded room between Chautauqua and Sidestep which didn’t help. Buffering broke well on the inside and was up there disputing the lead with Driefontein in the middle and Lankan Rupee wider. Platelet moved up further out and behind the speed were Moment Of Change, Famous Seamus and Temple Of Boom. Slade Power improved to be behind Buffering. Buffering and Lankan Rupee sorted out this field by the 400m as many dropped off around them. Platelet and Driefontein weakened and Moment Of Change couldn’t quicken. Slade Power didn’t give a yelp on the inside. Chautauqua worked into the clear from an awkward spot with 250m to run while Terravista, who followed him, went for a run inside Platelet and there wasn’t anything else coming from the back. Lankan Rupee took over from Buffering who fought back. Terravista sprinted through the gap quicker than Chautauqua and burst past Lankan Rupee in the closing stages, holding off Chautauqua for a super win. Lankan Rupee had every chance in third and ran well, but he’s not the same horse from the autumn. Buffering was brave as always and considering he missed work going into the race his run was strong. Moment Of Change whacked away while Famous Seamus and Rebel Dane closed late without threatening. Sidestep also made a little ground well off them. Surely it wasn’t the real Slade Power, but we’ll never know as he’s going to stud. Looks like a changing of the guard is imminent among the sprinters. Follow: nothing in the short term. The autumn will be interesting.

Race 7: Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m)

1st Hucklebuck – Dominic Tourneur 2nd Lucky Hussler – Glen Boss 3rd The Cleaner – Steven Arnold

Fair line out with Desert Jeuney slowest but also may have eased from a wide gate and Contributer didn’t break all that fast. The Cleaner took a few strides to get going and rolled to the front as usual with River Lad coming across. Leebaz landed in the box seat and Hooked found a good spot as well. Hucklebuck settled three back on the inside of Lucky Hussler, who got over from an awkward gate very fast, with a couple of lengths to Speediness, Contributer and Smokin’ Joey. The Cleaner did his usual thing in front and River Lad went from pulling to off the bit before the turn. Hooked came out to run on at the top of the straight and Hucklebuck was right on his back. Leebaz couldn’t quicken on the inside and Luckly Hussler swept home out wider. Contributer was a bit one paced and not much else was running on. Hucklebuck went straight past Hooked and claimed The Cleaner at the 200m. Lucky Hussler loomed as a big threat and was closing slowly but the post beat him. The Cleaner battled on very well for third ahead of Hooked and Leebaz, who only got going late. Behind them Escado charged home from the back ahead of Contributer, forget he went around, and Smokin’ Joey. Another race where coming from the back proved tough and Hucklebuck was in the right place for a deserved win. Follow: Leebaz is ready to win if he keeps going this prep, there was too much against Contributer and ignore this run.

Race 8: Momentum Energy Stakes (2000m)

1st Suavito – Damien Oliver 2nd Girl in Flight – Kerrin McEvoy 3rd Amanpoour – Tommy Berry

Bit of a scratchy start with a few slow including Myamira, Lady Cumquat and Terai while Girl In Flight was able to punch up from the inside and offset a tardy start. Amanpour headed straight for the front with Solicit from out wider. Tango’s Daughter landed third with Reckless Assassin next between Zonza and Girl in Flight. The next line of three included In Masquerade, Suavito and Keep De Rose out three deep. Star Fashion and Scratchy Bottom were well back. Zonza kept her run going and moved up to second but Amanpour held the lead. The field strung out a bit behind Solicit and Tango’s Daughter but they’d bunched by the turn. Amanpour shook off Zonza while Tango’s Daughter battled. Solicit loomed up and Girl In Flight eased over her heels and moved past Reckless Assassin. Suavito was right on her back waiting for a run. Amanpour was giving a huge sight in front and was still there inside the 100m. Girl In Flight looked to be reeling her in and just as she stuck her head in front Suavito pounced and stole the win. Tango’s Daughter stayed on for fourth but not sure 2000m is her go and same can be said for Solicit. Of the others Scratchy Bottom and Terai ran on late but weren’t ever a hope. Perfect ride from Ollie on the winner. Follow: none in the short term unless Amanpour presses on this prep.

Race 9: Emirates Airlines Plate (1400m)

1st Eclair Big Bang – Dominic Tourneur 2nd Boristar – Craig Williams 3rd Fast ‘N’ Rocking – Dwayne Dunn

Decent line out and Spacecraft held the early lead from Adamantium. Boristar pushed on out wider to be up on the speed from Eximius and Fast ‘N’ Rocking, while Solsay crept forward after being trapped off the track. Eclair Big Bang found a good spot in midfield outside Telepathic. Spacecraft had an uncontested lead but Boristar did creep closer before the turn. Solsay was wider and Eclair Big Bang latched onto his back for a cart home. Fast ‘N’ Rocking and Adamantium waited for outs while Telepathic followed Eclair Big Bang. Boristar was being held together past the 300m and then sprinted to the lead. Solsay dropped off and Fast ‘N’ Rocking got the run inside him. Eclair Big Bang and Telepathic started their runs down the outside and Eximius was looking for room as well. Boristar looked to be holding them but Eclair Big Bang just kept coming and nailed him in the last stride or two. Fast ‘N’ Rocking battled on for third from a luckless Eximius while Telepathic didn’t finish off like she did first-up. They were clear of Spacecraft, who boxed on fairly, and Solsay off a hard run. Nothing much can be said about the rest. Follow: none.

Specials from the meeting: Sailing By, Ducal Castle, Leebaz.

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Randwick review by Todd Burmester