Flemington review By Ray Hickson

Race 1: Maribrynong Trial Stakes (1000m)

1st Sweet Sherry – Damien Oliver 2nd Kinetic Design – Mark Zahra 3rd Moshway – Glen Boss

Not a bad start for two-year-olds on debut though Manuel was probably the slowest away. Rylea Lass found the lead one off the fence from Tris and Moshway three out. Wimborne sat behind that trio and wider out Sweet Sherry and Brookwater. Manuel had two behind him on settling. Tris momentarily hit the front but Moshway grabbed her at the 300m with Sweet Sherry chiming in. Brookwater couldn’t match them and Manuel was being stoked up down the centre with Kinetic Design going with him and better than him. Sweet Sherry ran to the lead inside the 200m and tended to float a little, with Kinetic Design looking a threat. Moshway was holding down third from Manuel and they broke away from the rest. Sweet Sherry had about half a length to spare and had Kinetic Design’s measure. Solid debut performance from the first two. Manuel disappointed, particularly as an odds-on favourite, though pulled up sore while Brookwater might well come back next prep as a gelding so keep an eye out for that.

Follow: a few nice efforts but nothing really stood out.

Race 2: Poseidon Stakes (1400m)

1st One For One – Craig Williams 2nd Deadly Shadow – Hugh Bowman 3rd Faatinah – Michael Walker

Stoker was a bit slow and crossed them at the back of the field. Deadly Shadow was gifted the lead and One For One moved up into second with Iceflow taking the box seat. Top Me Up was caught three wide around an easing Well Sighted and Dynamic Day while Faatinah was in the clear. No speed on here as Deadly Shadow dictated and One For One was given a reminder to stay with him well before the turn. Iceflow eased out three wide and Well Sighted ran up between him and Dynamic Day at the 400m but didn’t take the run through when it opened. Faatinah emerged down the outside but the leaders had slipped right away, One For One stuck his head in front past the 200m and after a short battle with Deadly Shadow started to just inch away. Well ridden and too strong. Nice effort from Deadly Shadow who is still a maiden and Faatinah held off the fast finishing Flying Light for third. Stoker didn’t do a bad job to run fifth while Well Sighted disappointed. Held up for a while but he was in the clear in plenty of time. Dominated on the speed and the backmarkers had no chance.

Follow: Deadly Shadow will win a maiden anywhere he goes but is obviously city class.

Race 3: Gilgai Stakes (1200m)

1st Chautauqua – Dwayne Dunn 2nd Delectation – Hugh Bowman 3rd Knoydart – James McDonald

A clean getaway for Chautauqua but he settled well back in the field. Earthly Tiger took it up with Thermal Current on his outside and Scarlet Billows on the fence. Churchill Dancer was further out while Charlie Boy was covered up behind the leaders. Knoydart raced widest and kept Chautauqua in a pocket near the tail. Chautauqua was being niggled to try and push Knoydart out of the way and start to chase but he was’t going anywhere and Delectation came across Knoydart’s heels to stride up and ensure Chautauqua couldn’t get out. Scarlet Billows had dashed clear while all this was going on, Charlie Boy was in the clear but one paced and Churchill Dancer tried to run on as well. Chautauqua had to switch back inside Churchill Dancer to get into the race and Knoydart and Delectation were swooping down the outside. Scarlet Billows was still in front 100m out but you could see Chautauqua coming and he burst through and made it look pretty soft at the finish. Delectation continued his good straight form to grab second over Knoydart while Scarlet Billows was just denied third after giving a huge sight. Every chance Churchill Dancer.

Follow: none outside the winner who was a class above them.

Race 4: UCI Stakes (1800m)

1st Ayers Rock – Darren Gauci 2nd Tivaci – Damien Oliver 3rd Alkaashef – Dwayne Dunn

Ayers Rock jumped okay from the inside alley and was dug up to hold the fence and the lead. More Than Perfect crossed to sit outside and Alkaashef landed in the box seat inside Overstay. A couple to Iron Boss and Tivaci together in a strung out field. Ayers Rock and More Than Perfect opened up a decent break on them a long way from home and Overstay was being niggled at as far out as 800m to run. Alkaashef still travelled okay and Iron Boss followed him. Tivaci was first tom make a move and whipped around Overstay while Colosseum King got onto his back. Zapurbly and Invincible Knightwere in that bunch and Etymology was under the whip in midfield trying to get into the race. Ayers Rock got away from More Than Perfect early in the straight and Tivaci sprinted quickly to join him. Iron Boss ran up behind the leader and Alkaashef pulled out to make ground. Etymology was wider out and a bit one paced. Tivaci could only get within about a neck from Ayers Rock who kept fighting on and outstayed him. Alkaashef battled on well to hold third while from the back Pay Up Bro ran home without threatening. Even run from Iron Boss and Etymology was only fair. The Derby picture wasn’t made any clearer after this race but hard to knock the winner.

Follow: Iron Boss was okay up in class and has some upside.

Race 5: Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m)

1st Badawiya – Damien Oliver 2nd Sacred Eye – Michael Walker 3rd My Poppette – Mark Zahra

Pearl Star was one of the best away and handed straight up to Air Apparent and Sailing By while My Poppette worked into fourth pretty easily from the wide gate. Thames Court followed them then a couple to Badawiya and Sacred Eye. Don’t Doubt Mamma was next and Bengal Cat found herself out three wide. Not a lot of change to the turn with Air Apparent and Sailing By still having it, My Poppette pulled out and ran on while Pearl Star and Thames Court had to wait. Badawiya loomed at them quickly inside the 400m while Sacred Eye had to ease and get off the inside and around Badawiya’s heels. The leaders were struggling by the 200m and Badawiya cruised up with My Poppette and sprinted very sharply. Sacred Eye balanced up and set out after her, closing the margin a bit in the last 100m. My Poppette stuck on pretty well for third and Sailing By also battled on nicely to run fourth. Nothing really made any ground from the back half of the field and the winner was far too strong.

Follow: Sacred Eye is coming along nicely and looking for 2000m.

Race 6: The Bart Cummings (2520m)

1st Let’s Make Adeal – Dwayne Dunn 2nd Our Ivanhowe – Ben Melham 3rd Hawkspur – Hugh Bowman

A mad charge to the first turn with seven of them across the track and it wasn’t until the 2000m that Wexford Town was able to cross. Cafe Society worked up to second with Let’s Make Adeal right in the firing line too. Our Ivanhowe held the inside running with Crafty Cruiser outside him and Bold Sniper trapped deep. Maygrove and Foundry were the next pair. Kapour made a move three wide and De Little Engine got onto his back. Wexford Town wasn’t overly pressured along the back straight until Kapour made it up outside giving Bold Sniper some cover and Cafe Society the box seat. They bunched right up on the turn and Kapour was under pressure to go with Wexford Town. Let’s Make Adeal had worked into the clear with Our Ivanhowe trying to follow her. Cafe Society dropped off and De Little Engine made a bit of a dash early in the straight. Let’s Make Adeal cantered to the lead at the 300m and went for home. Our Ivanhowe started to wind up while wider out De Little Engine and Maygrove were battling. Wexford Town was also struggling and getting up behind him from last was Hawkspur. Let’s Make Adeal had established a winning break and raced into the Melbourne Cup with an easy win. Solid effort from Our Ivanhowe giving her 6kg and Hawkspur ran his best race for a while getting up for third. Maygrove was next with Renew making some good ground and Precedence also ran on when it was all over.

Follow: none of these can win a Melbourne Cup.

Race 7: Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m)

1st Preferment – Hugh Bowman 2nd Royal Descent – Glen Boss 3rd Set Square – Luke Currie

Volkstok’n’barrell assumed the early lead in a bunch with Weary, who jumped with them this time, Magicool and Set Square. Protectionist and Dandino were handy while Royal Descent was looking for a spot. Amralah and Happy Trails were inside Rising Romance while Preferment raced in the clear. Weary took over the running midrace from Volkstok’n’barrell and that left Dandino three wide while Magicool and Set Square had nice trails. Royal Descent had a three wide trail around Protectionist and Happy Trails. Volkstok’n’barrell got to Weary at the 300m with Dandino still there. Set Square was having trouble getting a clear run while Royal Descent started her run. Anyone’s race as far as 100m out as Royal Descent hit the lead and Set Square finally got a run on the fence. Dandino was still fighting while Preferment was the one closing off late. Running on from the back were Hartnell and Rising Romance while Extra Zero darted between them. Preferment arrived in time to down Royal Descent, another Group 1 second, while Set Square might have been a bit stiff just ahead of a very brave Dandino. Extra Zero and Hartnell were’t far away but it was another bunched finish with Amralah, Volkstok’n’barrell and Happy Trails all in that clump while Gust Of Wind was right on their heels. Plenty to digest here. The first four were excellent, Hartnell a pass mark but a worry that Extra Zero finished better, Rising Romance had no luck and another nice run from Gust Of Wind. Jury’s out on Happy Trails and Volkstok’n’barrell and, sadly, Protectionist just isn’t the same horse that won the Cup so easily last year.

Follow: Set Square, Dandino, Rising Romance.

Race 8: Blazer Stakes (1400m)

1st La Passe – Michelle Payne 2nd Manageress – Chris Parnham 3rd Jessy Belle – Damian Lane/Lucky Lago – Mark Zahra

Hazard flew out from the outside alley and crossed to the fence very quickly. Tycoon Tara sat behind her early on with Satya and La Passe up handy. MadamGangster found herself three wide near the speed with Cathy’s Mark on her back. Girl In Flight was three back on the fence and Manageress around midfieldHazard was niggled at on the turn as Tycoon Tara went with her and they kicked away. Madam Gangster and La Passe seemed to be battling to get to them at Satya ran up behind the leaders on the fence. Hazard looked to get away from Tycoon Tara at the 200m but she challenged again and La Passe warmed to the task and made a line of three, finishing off the better. La Passe broke a length or two clear and they were swarming behind her as Manageress burst through to snatch second from Jessy Belle running on down the outside and Lucky Lago also diving late to share thrd while Madam Gangster just weakened. Hazardand Tycoon Tara were swallowed up after looking likely to fight it out. Atlantis Dream was never really sighted. Solid effort from the winner who did a lot of chasing.

Follow: Manageress has come back well and is a real Flemington horse.

Race 9: Paris Lane Stakes (1400m)

1st Worthy Cause – Luke Dittman 2nd Turn Me Loose – Opie Bosson 3rd Lord Aspen – Matthew Neilson

Worthy Cause pounced on the early lead from Guest Of Honour with Turn Me Loose coming over from a wide gate. Lord Aspen landed in fourth and the leading quartet broke a couple clear ofScream Machine inside Ulmann. Orient Line and Gamblin’ Guru, who was last out but improved quickly, were midfield. Worthy Cause did it pretty well to the turn with Turn Me Loose outside him and the first under pressure behind them was Lord Aspen and he hung a bit on the turn. Guest Of Honour got out from underneath him while wider out Ulmann and Orient Line had pulled out to run on. But the leaders kicked right away as Worthy Cause and Turn Me Loose fought it out to the line with not much between them and just a margin to Worthy Cause. Lord Aspen was all over the place but stuck on behind them and just held on for third over the fast finishing Setinum who launched from the back. Ulmann had every chance and was once paced while Chivalry also made a bit of ground without ever looking likely.

Follow: Turn Me Loose made a promising Australian debut.

Specials from the meeting: Iron Boss, Sacred Eye, Manageress, Turn Me Loose.

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The Turnbull Stakes has been run and won for another year, and it was won this year by a horse who is defying the trend of VRC Derby winners not to go on with the job. Preferment, winner of last year’s Derby, has now made it two on the trot, and has confirmed himself as a genuine Cups horse. My tip in The Turnbull was Rising Romance, and she has to be described as disappointing. I’m always inclined to forgive good horses one bad run, so that’s what I will do with her, as she was trapped deep for the race, but still didn’t really seem to put in as I had expected. The question mark for me over the Weight For Age racing this Spring so far is that every time we are seeing them go around, there are several horses within a few lengths of one another, which does make it difficult to really pin point too much from a future view point. All the same, this race, as it always does, will prove to be a key race for the rest of the Spring, with some nice runs coming from it. I’ve already commented on Preferment, my word of advice if you are a fan of his is to stick with him wherever he goes. Of the Australian horses in The Cups, he currently has to be seen as the one with the runs on the board. Dandino is a horse I have mentioned in a few articles lately. His age doesn’t seem to bother him, nor his previous injury. He was arguably the run of the race here after being trapped wide. Look out in The Caulfield Cup. Set Square was good after a nice run in transit, and could be a lightweight Cups chance, but I think the market has her too short at the moment and I am looking elsewhere. Who Shot Thebarman is one I have been following through it’s Sydney form, and I feel it is a key run out of this race. He will be better suited over further distance and in Handicap conditions, he hasn’t firmed up a great deal in terms of Cups markets, so could still be the value runner. There were a number of runners that I feel dented their future Spring claims through not standing up in this race. Many will suggest the Hartnell was a big run from last, but given the winner wasn’t too far in front of him and ran away from him in the straight, and Extra Zero went to the line a little better than him, I couldn’t talk him up too much. Way too short in the market for the big races I feel. Happy Trails was the other for mine that I can’t give a wrap to. I think he is past his best and was entitled to do more here. Any thoughts of a Cox Plate are not possible in my opinion. Volkstok’n’Barrell hasn’t made the grade for mine and will continue to run around and be a few lengths behind them unless they find easier races. Amralah is the hard one to assess. Didn’t do a great deal but also didn’t really seem to be pushed out that hard in the straight. I’d like to see it again. The obvious one I haven’t mentioned of course is Royal Descent. She always is there about, but you are a richer person by leaving her out of the win ticket in most of her races so I don’t see any reason to change that approach. In summary, I feel the race has told us not to ignore Preferment at this level. That Dandino is a classy galloper who deserves to be followed, and that Who Shot Thebarman is just looking for the right race and will get the job done. Is that race one of the Cups? The Spring rolls on….

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Randwick review by Todd Burmester

Race 1

1st Capitalist – Blake Shinn 2nd Detective – Hugh Bowman 3rd Prized Icon – Tye Angland

The first two-year-olds of the season got us underway on Epsom day 2015. Cohesion got running from out wide and looked to cross but Samadoubt kicked through to lead and One Strike was up outside of it. Cohesion had to ease and wanted to fight the jockey. Caprera had a nice run back on the fence behind the speed and the short priced favourite Capitalist was back behind them with Detective. Once they spun the bend and topped the rise, Capitalist was let loose on the outside and Detective took the run in the middle. Thereafter it was a one act affair as Capitalist looked super smart going away for an easy win without much pressure being applied. Detective did a good job in second as did Prized Icon to run into third. Cohesion didn’t have a lot go it’s way and could be forgiven.

Follow: Capitalist was super impressive

Race 2

1st Calliope – James McDonald 2nd Jeannuea – Blake Shinn 3rd Slumber Party Tommy Berry

The baby girls and their go in the second event and Calliope was sent out short in this race and supporters were worried early when she missed the kick clearly. Candela had any amount of pace from out wide and crossed to lead. Rather Sweet and Angharad were in second and third. As they approached the turn Calliope was still well back and being hooked to the outside. Candela topped the rise in front and was then asked for the effort. Favourite backers went for the whip as Calliope started to make ground big time. She hit the lead with a bit more than 100m to go and came away for an easy victory. You have to admire the effort for an inexperienced two-year-old to miss the kick and still find the line in this manner. Jeanneau also did a good job in second after not having the clearest running in the straight. I note that the win of Capitalist in the first was much quicker from an overall and last 600m point of view.

Follow: Jeannuea

Race 3

1st Ambience – James McDonald 2nd Wudang Mountain – Hugh Bowman 3rd Land’s End – Brenton Avdulla

They raced over the mile in race three with Cracklin’ Rosie running to the front from Wudang Mountain. Land’s End settled third from More Than Fabulous who was over on the inside. Mid race the pace didn’t look strong and there was no change in the order. They ran the bend without anything making a run, although Land’s End was pulled three wide and Ambience was coming around its heals. At the fulong Ambience looked to be the one you wanted to be on as it joined the leaders with no pressure applied whereas the others were asked for some effort. Thereafter James McDonald gunned Ambience and it raced away for a nice win. Horses with a turn of foot like this generally go places so stick with her.

Follow: Ambience

Race 4

1st Exosphere – James McDonald 2nd Zoutenant – Blake Shinn 3rd Japonisme – Hugh Bowman

Japonisme was drawn wide and raced across to lead them up in the Roman Consul. The Queenslanders Le Chef and Wicked Intent raced in second and third. The long odds on favouriteExosphere went right back to second last. Into the straight and heading up the rise Japonisme had a big lead and looked to be doing it ok. Plenty of them were under pressure, but Exosphere was pulled to the outside and was making ground of his own accord. They got up the rise and then James McDonald asked him for the effort and it was lovely to watch him stretch out and make the rest look second rate. Zoutenant claimed Japonisme for second who may have raced a bit fresh today but was much improved on its flat effort last time. The winner is clearly high class and going places.

Follow: Exosphere a future champion?

Race 5

1st Terravista – Hugh Bowman 2nd Rebel Dane – Brenton Avdulla 3rd That’s A Good Idea – Glyn Schofield

There was plenty of pace early on in The Premier Stakes as you would expect. Tiger Tees had it momentarily before That’s A Good Idea ran to the front. Hot Snitzel kicked up along the inside with Tiger Tees staying one off the fence. The favourite Terravista was content to get well back. Generalife had a wide run. As they topped the rise, the orange colours of Terravista were slicing through and he hit the front at the furlong and looked all over a winner. In the final part Rebel Dane did a very good job to make ground on the winner but was never going to catch him. This was yet another example of class rising to the top, which seemed the theme of the day.

Follow: Rebel Dane

Race 6

1st Complacent – James McDonald 2nd Hauraki – Joao Moreira 3rd I’m Imposing – Tye Angland

They began well in The Craven Plate with the favourite Complacent rolling to the front before Celtic Prince decided he wanted a piece of the action and ran past Complacent to take it up.Gallante was pulling in third spot outside of Sense Of Occasion. Mid race the pace looked ok as the first few stretched out a bit, particularly the leader who put about four lengths on them before the 600m mark. Around the bend, Complacent carted them up to the leader and Hauraki came with a nice run also. Once they topped the rise, those two cleared out and settled down to fight it out. For all money it looked like Hauraki was going to get the better of Complacent, but the favourite kept digging deep under the urgings of McDonald and gained the day in the shadows of the post in what was not a bad effort given it did the work to take the field up to the runaway leader.

Follow: Complacent, Hauraki

Race 7

1st Winx – Hugh Bowman 2nd Ecuador – Glen Boss 3rd Sons Of John – Jeff Penza

The great racing just kept coming with The Epsom being race 7 on the card. Entirely Platinum took it up early but Hooked was up on its outside and Ecuador was up three deep. Hooked eased and let the other two go in front and they had a gap early on over the rest of the field. Winx was not as far back today but was caught three deep. Before the bend you were happy enough if you were on Winx, but just on the point of the turn, Kirramosa came with a quick run and put Winx in a pocket and she checked a couple of times and could have just about come down. Up the rise, Bowman extricated Winx to the outside, with the question mark being how much had the scrimmage on the turn taken out of her? Soon after that question was answered brilliantly as she showed a fantastic turn of foot at the furlong and raced past Sons Of John who had done his best to find the front. In the run to the line, you had to be in awe of Winx who put over two lengths on them. Ecuador did a good job in second, Sons Of John peaked a bit on its run in third and Messene hit the line nicely in fourth.

Follow: Winx the Cox Plate winner

Race 8

1st Speak Fondly – Tommy Berry 2nd Honesta – Tye Angland 3rd Perignon – Hugh Bowman

When they got going in race 8, Sophia Rosa was deliberately taken back to the rear. Flamboyant Lass came out running and went to the front with Speak Fondly up into second spot. Those two ensured a genuine pace with a couple of lengths break over Lauren’s Magic in third and Sempre Libera in fourth spot. They looked to slow up a bit in the middle stages but there was no change in the order until just before the turn where Sempre Libera came three wide and Honesta came four wide to be ready to strike. Up the rise, Speak Fondly was lengthening out and still had the front. Sempre Libera and Honesty were putting in their challenges and Perignon was coming through back inside of Speak Fondly. In a very competitive finish, Speak Fondly just kept digging and managed to hold off Honesta and Perignon and it wasn’t far back to Pearls who finished her race off nicely enough.

Follow: Pearls

Race 9

1st Magic Hurricane – James McDonald 2nd Beaten Up – Glyn Schofield 3rd Havana Cooler – Joao Moreira

The Metropolitan for 2015 finished off a great day of racing and it was a nice level start. Orbec led them up with Bonfire rolling forward to sit on its outside. Maurus took the trail in third, and after being wide early, Beyond Thankful found a spot one off the fence. Beaten Up and Magic Hurricane got nice runs midfield. Almoonqith who found good support in betting got back to last. As they came to the turn and around it there were plenty of them making runs, but just back in behind them you could see the blue colours of Magic Hurricane stalking its way into the race. Once they topped the rise he sprinted to the lead and looked all over a winner. James McDonald pushed him out and made a good thing of it in what as a pretty impressive win off the back of a lovely ride. Beaten Up took second continuing its solid form, and Havana Cooler looked better today over this distance. Almoonqith found the line ok, but realistically wanted another lap. The more forward riding tactics seemed to suit Orbec who plugged away ok into fourth.

Follow: Beaten Up might pinch a race

Specials from the meeting: Capitalist, Jeanneau, Ambience