Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Taj Rossi Final (1600m)

1st Crafty – Mark Zahra
2nd Triple Gold – Luke Nolen
3rd Zebulon – Glen Boss

Vuelta was one of the best out and headed to the lead with Jinx following him over. Lotion raced handy outside La CicciolinaZebulon went forward from his wide gate and was about to get some cover when What A Hoot kicked up and left him stranded three and four deep. Profit Share settled midfield on the fence but ran onto heels and over-raced. The pressure went on early with Zebulon moving up four wide to join the leaders on the turn. Vuelta had a little kick at the 400m and shook off Jinx and Lotion but Zebulon kept coming and loomed up about 200m out. But down the outside came Profit Share, who got clear after being shuffled back nearing the turn, Crafty and Triple Gold. Zebulon finally got past Vuelta inside the 100m but had nothing left after the hard run and Crafty and Triple Gold swamped him with Crafty just holding on to win. Zebulon held third in a huge performance just ahead of the eye-catcher Allergic, who ran home from last. Profit Share probably isn’t a 1600m horse but battled on and nothing wrong with the runs of Vuelta and Lotion who were also close up. It’d be a big surprise if this isn’t an excellent form race.
Follow: the first seven were all good performances but Zebulon and Allergic stood out.

Race 2: Rivette Final (1600m)

1st Dig A Pony – Luke Nolen
2nd Ardelle – Jess Payne
3rd Cuban Lass – Dean Yendall

Titian Silk and Ardelle held the early lead before some pressure came from out wider and Dainty Miss crossed them and found the fence. Brewing came across to sit second and that left Cuban Lass out three wide. Call Us Primiwas next in the clear though wasn’t settling well and It’s One and Vivi Veloce were just behind her. Dig A Pony settled three wide with cover in third last place. Dainty Miss ran along pretty well in front and kicked away early in the straight. Ardelle and Cuban Lass were trying hard to reel her in and Kona, who was midfield, made ground and chimed in with them. Savannah Moon was wider out and tried to go with Dig A Pony who was winding up with her big finish. Ardelle hit the lead at the 100m but had no answer to Dig A Pony who went straight on by and won easily. Cuban Lass stuck on well for third just ahead of Savannah Moon. The placegetters all run well but were no match and not a bad run from Kona up sharply in class. Couldn’t make an excuse for anything else.
Follow: Dig A Pony might well be up to something better during the spring.

Race 3: Banjo Paterson Final (2600m)

1st Marksmanship – Michelle Payne
2nd Sacred Flyer – Chris Symons
3rd Zabeelionaire – Michael Walker

Mulaqen jumped awkwardly from the outside gate and went across behind the field and onto the fence. Marksmanship was left in front early from Sparton on his inside. Voila Ici was taking time to work forward out three wide. King Of Dudes and Crafty Cruiser were handy. Permit was eased after jumping well and he wound up three wide with his stablemate Sacred Flyer rushing around them to get up into fourth. He continued on up to second outside Marksmanship and that gave Voila Ici some cover. King Of Dudes found himself with a perfect run and Permit was able to get in one off the fence. Marksmanship kept the lead and strode away with 1200m left. Sacred Flyer stayed in touch and the order didn’t change much until Zuma Roc started a run around them before the turn, flushing Permit out. Zabeelionaire was being held up to his inside and Mulaqen picked up some ground behind them. Anyone’s race at the 400m but Marksmanship wasn’t done with as he and Sacred Flyer got their second wind and settled down to fight it out. Zabeelionaire got into the clear to chase them and Crafty Cruiser boxed on. Zuma Roc got going again after looking beaten and Mulaqen ran on out wide without threatening. In what became a very tight four-way finish, Marksmanship held on to win narrowly. Sacred Flyer ran a much better race this time as did Zabeelionaire. Zuma Roc is a bit of an enigma and Mulaqen got too far back.
Follow: none.

Race 4: All Victorian Sprint Series Final (1200m)

1st Nearest To Pin – Nicholas Hall
2nd Le Bonsir – Daniel Moor
3rd Shanghai Warrior – Ben Melham

Vain Queen was one of the best out and she was taken to the lead in the centre off the track. Le Bonsir and Pillar Of Creation weren’t far away to her inside. Corsica Lad gathered pace and pulled his way up and headed Vain Queen. Nearest To Pin had nice trail behind them and Shanghai Warrior pushed up inside him behind the favourite. Corsica Lad went pretty hard in front and he was gone at the 300m as Vain Queen kicked up on his inside and regained the lead. No sooner did she take over she was under pressure from Le Bonsir underneath and Nearest To Pin winding up out wider. Shanghai Warrior started to wind up and Pillar Of Creation was left a little flat footed. Le Bonsir did his best to hold off Nearest To Pin but the SA sprinter was just a bit too strong late after having a perfect run. Shanghai Warrior hit the line hard again late, maybe he’s looking for 1400m now. Vain Queen was a shadow of the horse that belted a number of her rivals a couple of weeks earlier and she was found to have some mucous post-race. Pillar Of Creation picked up late.
Follow: Shanghai Warrior and Pillar Of Creation at 1400m.

Race 5: Silver Bowl Final (1600m)

1st Refulgent – Brad Rawiller
2nd Turnitaround – Dean Yendall
3rd The Terricks – James Winks

Refulgent was eased immediately from a wide gate and settled second last. Quite a battle for the early lead and Tankster worked hard three wide to find it from Artie Mortie and Turnitaround was handy. Kwanza raced a lot closer with the blinkers on splitting Zebrinz and Best SuggestionSecond Bullet pushed up three back along the fence. Tankster didn’t look to settle that well and Artie Mortie put some pressure on him a fair way out. Zebrinz was bailed up behind them. Coming out wide on the bend were Turnitaround and Best Suggestion and Henning came five deep. He was being trailed by Refulgent. Early in the straight Second Bullet was almost put over the inside rail by the wayward Zebrinz. At the 300m Turnitaround hit the lead from Artie Mortie as they beat Tankster off. Best Suggestion and Kwanza were battling and Refulgent started to wind up and he finished the race off full of running and arrived in time to beat a gallant Turnitaround. The Terricks pushed through from well back to grab third ahead of Artie’s Shore who worked home strongly from last ahead of Best Suggestion and Kwanza who stuck on fairly. The race was run to suit the winner but he had the best form and was too strong.
Follow: keep an eye on where Artie’s Shore goes next, he might be hard to beat in something easier.

Race 6: Winter Championship Final (1600m)

1st Akavoroun – Michelle Payne
2nd The Cleaner – Anthony Darmanin
3rd Gig – Katelyn Mallyon

Reasonable line out and it didn’t take long for The Cleaner to get into his rhythm and head to the front. Lord Durante came across to sit up second and Fast And Free and Dany The Fox were happy enough to take trails. A line of three next with Gig inside Eximius and Post D’France was stuck out wide. Ringo settled a lot further back this time and Akavoroun only had a few behind him. The Cleaner ran them along as he always does and held about three lengths at the 600m and went for home. Lord Durante was no match and Gig pushed her way out inside Dany The Fox. Fast And Free drifted off the track and struggled. Akavoroun eased to the centre of the track and started his run. The Cleaner was holding them all about 200m out and didn’t look to be stopping. Akavoroun continued to run on down the outside and was still two lengths away at the 100m but he’s a winner and he arrived in time to deny The Cleaner a brave win. Gig held down third place clearly. Ringo made a little ground without threatening as did Henwood but they were never winning chances. Winner was too good, just be wary of some of the form as The Cleaner put a lot of them out of their comfort zone.
Follow: can’t go wrong sticking with Akavoroun.

Race 7: Creswick Final (1200m)

1st Pyrrolic – Brad Rawiller
2nd Hard Stride – Damian Lane
3rd Under The Louvre – Nicholas Hall

Hard Stride looked to hold the lead early in the middle of the track. Baker Boy was out a bit wider and Bring A Ring raced handy to the inside with Kievann pushing past to track the leader. Miss Promiscuity wasn’t far away andSearch Squad threw the rider about 700m out. Hard Stride travelled well in front and seemed to be holding Kievann, who had the better of him in their two previous meetings. Miss Promiscuity loomed up with something to give and The Monstar tried to go with her. Towards the inside Bring A Ring was struggling and was pushed out of the way by Pyrrolic. Down the outside Under The Louvre finally got clear and started to unleash from the 300m. Hard Stride was holding on strongly but Pyrrolic got to him inside the 100m and edged clear for a first-up win. Hard Stride was game as always and Under The Louvre got pretty close considering the ground he had to make up. Miss Promiscuity just battled late and Street Allure joined her on the line. The winner has shown ability but may be a wet tracker. Hard Stride is just honest and Under The Louvre may have been unlucky but can do that.
Follow: stick with Hard Stride, he’s super consistent.

Race 8: Leilani Final (1400m)

1st Atlantis Dream – Damian Lane
2nd Nadeem Lass – Ben Melham
3rd Lady Melksham – Craig Newitt

Nautical blew the start again. Kimiko took advantage of gate one to lead early until Angelic Lass rushed across from her wide gate to take over. La Venta was handy with Classy Chloe who continued to push forward. Bian Divine and Waitaha Prophecy were next and Jolie Blonde and Danish Whiskey were midfield. Angelic Lass strode along a few lengths clear of Classy Chloe who stayed in her slipstream and La Venta followed her. Kimiko struggled on the turn. Nadeem Lass pulled out wide and she was tracked by Atlantis Dream while Nautical tried to save some ground going through the field. La Venta went to the lead at the 200m but Atlantis Dream chimed in quickly with Nadeem Lass and they broke away to battle it out. Danish Whiskey and Lady Melksham ran on a couple of lengths away and hit the line together. Waitaha Prophecy struck on okay from La Venta. Nautical was never in it after missing the start and that’s starting to become a worry for her – she got away with it at her previous start but you can’t do it all the time. 
Follow: Danish Whiskey ran an improved race second-up.

Specials from the meeting: Zebulon, Allergic (long term), Artie’s Shore, Danish Whiskey (shorter term).

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Randwick review by Todd Burmester

Race 1 – 2yo Hcp

1 st Testashadow – Lester Grace 2 nd Good Project – Jason Collett 3 rd Statton – Blake Shinn

A pretty ordinary start in the opener. Global Domination showed the most speed to lead clearly early on from Good Project on its outside with Another Al settling in third with Statton on its inside. Global Domination kept running up before the turn, and one that had found support in betting, Another Al, was the first one beaten, being under a lot of pressure before they turned. Global Domination was claimed by Good Project at the 300m mark, but Testashadow who had made good ground along the fence before the turn had come to the outside and was threatening danger. To the credit of Good Project it kept fighting on, but was eventually claimed by Testashadow in the last 20m and they came away from Statton who held down third clearly from the rest who finished in a clump.

Follow: Good Project

Race 2 – 3yo BM 75

1 st Weinholt – Blake Shinn 2 nd Dowdstown Charlie – Jeff Lloyd 3 rd Mamwaazel – Rory Hutchings

When they settled down in the second, Mamwaazel had run to a clear lead. Cushy Number and Dowdstown Charlie on the other hand had gone back to the rear from the start. Mid race, Mamwaazel slowed them up from Double Eagle who was on its outside and Parray had settled down in third with Black Revolver getting up along its inside. Double Eagle ran to a narrow lead around the turn, but once they topped the rise, Weinholt was on the scene quickly and sprinted to a clear lead. Dowdstown Charlie came down the outside with a good run, but appeared to want to run in, and Mamwaazel kept fighting on the fence. In the run to the line Weinholt did stop noticeably but Dowdstown Charlie couldn’t make up the ground and was beaten about a neck on the line. Black Revolver didn’t appear to find a whole lot of clear ground and went to the line under his own steam once out of winning contention, and Cushy Number did absolutely nothing from the rear.

Follow: None to follow

Race 3 – 3yo BM 75

1 st Tarangower – Sam Clipperton 2 nd Pajaro – Josh Parr 3 rd The Alfonso – Rory Hutchings

A decent start from the 2000m, with Tarangower declaring its hand early and running straight to the front with Pajaro working around them from a wider gate to eventually find a spot one off the fence in fourth. Casino Dancer was up outside the leader and Enormous Honour was behind the leader on the fence. Down the back, the rider on Pajaro decided he wanted to be closer to the speed and went around them to be outside the leader. The pace looked even in the middle stages and there was no change in the order. From the 600m Tarangower wound the pace up a bit and looked to have plenty including Pajaro off the bit as they turned for home. Up the rise, Tarangower offered plenty and although Pajaro certainly kept coming in the run to the line and made the margin close, Tarangower looked like it was always going to get home. The Alfonso finished off nicely down the outside clearly being the best of the rest in a race that didn’t really suit. All in all, a nice front running ride from Sam Clipperton made the difference.

Follow: Pajaro, The Alfonso

Race 4 – BM 80 Hcp

1 st Specific Choice – Ty Angland 2 nd Saigon Tea – Jason Collett 3 rd Done Nothin’ Wrong – Yusuke Ichikawa

2000m again for race 4 with a few of them jockeying for positions as they ran towards the first time. It was Jarilee that settled in front from Miss Zenella and Done Nothin’ Wrong as they went into the back straight. In the back straight Reigning decided to move from its wide position at the back to go up and sit outside the leader. Specific Choice and Saigon Tea were left back at the rear. At about the 650m mark however Angland on Specific Choice chose to get on his bike around the outside to get closer before the turn, whilst Saigon Tea stayed back there and played for luck on the inside. Reigning looked gone before the turn, and I don’t think being ridden this close to the pace suited him. In the straight it looked like there was enough room for Saigon Tea to get a run on the fence, but without seeing the head on, it then appeared that the leader rolled back in and closed that run, which meant Saigon Tea had to ease and try to come around them. Whilst this was happening, the enigma, Specific Choice sprinted very quickly down the outside and put the issue beyond doubt. I’ve bagged this horse many times, but it was impressive today, however I’m not jumping on the bandwagon, and those that took around $4 about it today, still have a way to go to make up their previous losses. Saigon Tea did well to build momentum again and run into second, and I would forgive this run and keep following it.

Follow: Saigon Tea

Race 5 – Open Hcp

1 st I’m Imposing – Ty Angland 2 nd Single – Winona Costin 3 rd Disciple – Jason Collett

The eventual winner I’m Imposing seemed to go up a bit at the start and missed it a bit. Collar ran to the front and wanted to go quickly and Keep Cool settled outside of it. The favourite, Laidback Larry got the sit behind them. They were spread out a fair bit as they came towards the turn, with Bagman given a couple with the persuader to try and get going. Into the straight, Keep Cool and Collar were joined by Laidback Larry on the outside, but he was soon struggling, and they were all over the shop with plenty of winning chances. I’m Imposing was the one who got the run through towards the inside and sprinted clear, with SingleDisciple and Bagman all chasing together down the outside. In the run to the line, I’m Imposing held them off by just under a length. The other three mentioned all finished together in second third and fourth with a bit of a gap to Laidback Larry, who, although beaten, loooked like he just needed the run and can improve next time out.

Follow: Laidback Larry

Race 6 – F&M BM 80 Hcp

1 st Forever Crazy – Ty Angland 2 nd Tarloshan – Jason Collett 3 rd Express Power – Yusuke Ichikawa

There were a few going for the front here with First Class Ticket on the inside having it narrowly from Tarloshan and Adorabeel who was three wide early on. Tarloshan eventually crossed to lead which got Adorabeel closer to the fence as First Class Ticket eased for a trail in third. The pace slowed mid race after the early tussling for positions and as they came to the turn, some that were at the back were pulling wide ready to come with their runs, including the eventual winner Forever Crazy who was the widest around the bend. Again at the 200m mark there looked to be plenty of chances, but it was Forever Crazy who sustained its long wide run from the back to hold them all off and come away to win by about a length. Tarloshan did well to keep fighting on for second, but given the run the winner put in, not too much can be said for the beaten brigade here.

Follow: Foever Crazy

Race 7 – BM 85 Hcp

1 st Burbero – Blake Shinn 2 nd Society Man – Jason Collett 3 rd No Bad Blood – Brenton Avdulla

Not a bad line out in race 7 with Snitzky taking up the premier position, with No Bad Blood on its outside and Aghamore third on the fence. Society Man was caught out three wide. As they came around the turn, Snitzky had a kick but was soon claimed by No Bad Blood who had the front inside the 200m mark with Society Man putting in a run on its inside despite being wide in the run and Burbero had cut back towards the fence and was also finishing quickly. Burbero and Society Man went to the line locked together with Burbero getting the nod. The stewards asked questions of Blake Shinn’s ride on the winner as to why he didn’t take runs that appeared earlier in the striaght, but I think Shinn summed it up nicely syaing he thought his timing was perfect, he won the race. The horse has been knocking on the door of late and it was good to see it get the win. Wouldn’t It Be Nice finished its race off nicely in fourth and to a lesser degree so did Whisperossa in the last bit.

Follow: Society Man, Wouldn’t It Be Nice

Race 8 – BM 80 Hcp

1 st Rifleman – Blake Shinn 2 nd Nuclear Class – Gabrielle Coleman 3 rd Miss Alibi – Jeff Lloyd

Everage was a late scratching in the last. It was a good line out, with Nuclear Class being one of the best to begin and taking up the running as Miss Alibi dug up on the inside to hold the fence, putting Kanjistar three wide. Beckon got a nice run behind the speed, Holder Sunset on the other hand was out wide. Around the turn, if you were watching Rifleman you knew it was the winner if it found clear running. That run came just inside the 200m mark and he stretched out impressively for a clear win on the line and to me it looked like a win that can be repeated. Kanjistar wasn’t beaten far here after being wide and Wordly Impact came down the outside from a clear last into fourth.

Follow: Rifleman, Kanjistar

Specials from the meeting: The Alfonso, Forever Crazy