Flemington review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Maribyrnong Trial (1000m)

1st Mihalic – Mark Zahra 2nd Iceflow – Damian Lane 3rd Lake Jackson – Michael Walker

Not a bad line for unraced two-year-olds. Our Red Dog speared across from the outside to lead one off the fence over Royalic and Drill Master sat handy. Only about a length or so between the first eight with Dagny, Apoloboom,Mali Rose and Mihalic all in a line. A couple of lengths back was Iceflow out wider with Lake Jackson on his inside and Results tracked them on the fence. The race changed quickly about 300m out when Maihalic sprinted fast and took over from Our Red Dog who stopped sharply. Dagny was racing very greenly and hampered Drill Master. Mali Rose couldn’t match Mihalic and it was left to Iceflow who started to run on very strongly out wide to chase. Lake Jackson made his run at the same time and Results had worked off the fence and was squeezing through too. Mihalic had too big a break and held on for a professional win. Iceflow was the eye-catcher into second. Lake Jackson just held third from Results, who looked quite a bit unlucky, and Dagny battled on. The rest were well beaten.

Follow: Iceflow and Results have the most upside.

Race 2: UCI Stakes (1800m)

1st Magicool – Glen Boss 2nd Atmosphere – Damien Oliver 3rd War Point – Craig Newitt

Atmosphere was snagged to last at the start. Hawking was positive out and took up the early lead with Magicool up handy and Eastern Cape pressing on to eventually land outside the leader. War Point held the box seat. Light Up Manhattan raced in the clear a couple ahead of San Padre and Breath Of Life. A big gap to Kaizaen and Verreaux. No major change to the home turn and Kaizaen was the first to pull out and try to make ground. Hawking and Eastern Cape turned in front but Magicool had them covered a long way out. Light Up Manhattan pulled out wider to run and Atmosphere had picked his way through the field and was looming behind Magicool. War Point went for a tight run on the inside and had got through by the 300m. Magicool was in full flight at that point but had Atmosphere closing in on him. War Point got to a clear third but was a bit flat as he can be, but he tried hard. Magicool just lasted to beat Atmosphere, who shouldn’t be a maiden much longer, and War Point was close up. Six lengths to the rest headed by Light Up Manhattan, San Padre and then Kaizaen, who was found to be lame post race.

Follow: Atmosphere looms as a genuine Derby contender.

Race 3: The Bart Cummings (2520m)

1st Who Shot Thebarman – Glen Boss 2nd Marksmanship – Michelle Payne 3rd Anudjawun – Tommy Berry

Master’s Degree went looking for the lead and found it out of the straight the first time ahead of Waltzing To Win and Marksmanship. Ethiopia raced handy and Sea Moon had an easy passage on the fence. Who Shot Thebarman was caught three wide and eased looking to get some cover. He worked in outside Anudjawun and that relegated Back To Abilene to last. No action for some time until nearing the 1000m mark where Sea Moon eased off the fence and Anudjawun kicked up inside him which posted Who Shot Thebarman three deep in midfield. He started his run around them soon after and got to midfield at the 800m. Master’s Degree was shaken up in front before the turn and Waltzing To Win wasn’t going much better. Marksmanship had to wait in behind them and a gap opened at the 400m. Who Shot Thebarman was warming up down the middle. Marksmanship hit the lead with a furlong remaining but soon after Who Shot Thebarman swept past him and started to forge away in the last bit for a very soft win. Marksmanship had his chance and Anudjawun ground away grab a placing. Of the others Sea Moon may have been first-up but he was pretty ordinary and Ethiopia dropped out a long way from home, reported to have sustained a tendon injury.

Follow: the winner is a fringe Melbourne Cup hope.

Race 4: Vintage Stakes (1400m)

1st Stratum Star – Brad Rawiller 2nd Manhattan Avenue – Craig Newitt 3rd Kapset – Kerrin McEvoy

Schneller jumped straight on the lead with Forgive And Forget racing forward around Kapset and they set up a pretty handy tempo, breaking the field right up. Staviva jumped fairly but improved to settle fourth with Stratum Stararound him. Manhattan Avenue and Coram were midfield. Must have been 15 lengths at least first to last midrace. Schneller stayed hard on the rails on the turn while Forgive And Forget moved five or six horses wide. Staviva and Manhattan Avenue made their runs between those two horses and Kapset hooked wider on the track as Stratum Star started to wind up. Staviva hit the lead momentarily but Manhattan Avenue claimed him at the 200m. Stratum Star kept coming down the outside and he finished the race off just a little better to post a narrow win. Manhattan Avenue was much more genuine this time and Kapset cost himself a clear third by not taking the run between horses on the turn. Laxyaxl made his run along the fence from worse than midfield and just missed a place while Staviva just battled late after having his chance. The likes of Wandjina and Royal Standing went back and were never in the hunt.

Follow: none in particular

Race 5: Gilgai Stakes (1200m)

1st Chautauqua – Dwayne Dunn 2nd Bounding – Mark Du Plessis 3rd Final Crescendo – Craig Newitt

They broke evenly aside from Smokin’ Joey who was a clear last. Bounding and Temple Of Boom were prominent early on with Essay Raider and Final Crescendo and River Lad among the inside bunch. Out past the centre of the track Il Cavallo and Flamberge took it up ahead of Longma. Limes settled near the tail with Smokin’ Joey. Chautauqua sat three back along the inside of the leading bunch. Bounding had Temple Of Boom’s measure passing the 400m while Il Cavallo was a clear leader nearer the outside fence. Chautauqua switched back to the inside of the leaders and went straight past Bounding just before the 200m without being let down at all. When he was he dashed well clear, reminiscent of his effort in the Bobbie Lewis a few weeks earlier. Bounding held on bravely for second and she beat the rest by a good couple of lengths. The Queenslanders Final Crescendo and River Lad hit the line strongly late with the former grabbing third. Temple Of Boom was a little disappointing but battled away and was only a head or so from third while Il Cavallo ran well considering 1200m down the straight would be a query for him. Limes was only fair but is more a 1400m horse.

Follow: away from the winner, watch for Bounding back in mares grade.

Race 6: Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m)

1st Fontein Ruby – Mark Zahra 2nd Maastricht – Dwayne Dunn 3rd Crafty – Craig Williams

A bit of jostling for the lead. Pittsburgh Flyer had it early but Fontein Ruby was caught three wide and pressed on. Between them was Royal Ocean and Maastricht wound up in a nice spot while Veuvelicious worked into a trailing position as well. Not A Happy Camper and Choix De Maia were midfield ahead of Miss Interiors and Little Hottie. Crafty settled a little closer this time around but still in the second half. Fontein Ruby settled pretty well in the lead after working and Royal Ocean travelled on her outside. Pittsburgh Flyer had the leader’s back and Maastricht was behind her. Veuvelicious pulled out first to try and run on and Not A Happy Camper was on her back and trying to make ground. Royal Ocean dropped off at the 400m and left Fontein Ruby clear a long way out. Pittsburgh Flyer and Maastricht got out from behind her to make their runs and Veuvelicious was trying hard but making no impact. Pittsburgh Flyer looked set to go straight past Fontein Ruby at the 200m but hit the wall soon after and it was left to Maastricht and from the back Crafty to try and run her down. Fontein Ruby fought hard and had about a head’s margin on the line over Maastricht and Crafty. A few lengths back Hipster Girl charged home from well off them hitting the line with Veuvelicious and Little Hottie. All honours to the winner but the placegetters are the way to go forward.

Follow: Maastricht and Crafty.

Race 7: Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m)

1st Lucia Valentina – Kerrin McEvoy 2nd Lidari – Steven Arnold 3rd Brambles – Luke Nolen

Green Moon eased out the back early on. Puissancce De Lune was nicely away and let a few of them go to settle behind the pace. Entirely Platinum pressed on to the lead over Let’s Make Adeal and the Moody stablematesBrambles and Lidari eased into perfect trails. Gris Caro settled outside Puissance De Lune and the next pair were Super Cool inside Stipulate then The Offer paired up with Lucia Valentina while Silent Achiever was in the second half. The field started to bunch coming to the turn and Happy Trails probably came off the worst as he was shuffled back to near last on the inside. Entirely Platinum headed up for home in front but he was gone soon after and Lidari claimed him with Brambles trying to match his stablemate. Let’s Make Adeal dropped off and as Entirely Platinum weakened he caused troubles for Super Cool and Happy Trails who were going for the same run to get around the tiring pacemaker. Puissance De Lune presented at the right time and Lucia Valentina worked up behind them and pushed through at the 200m. Stipulate was battling away and The Offer and Silent Achiever were down the outside. Lucia Valentina took a little while to pick up the leaders in the closing stages but was edging away in the last 50m for a top win, especially considering the hoof bruising scare. Lidari and Brambles were solid and they were a few lengths clear of Puissance De Lune who had every chance. Stipulate ditto, and The Offer worked home well enough. Silent Achiever was nailed by Shoreham on the line, big question mark on if Silent Achiever has come up or is just not a spring horse, and Entirely Platinum actually picked himself up a bit to finish next. Happy Trails didn’t get out at any stage and he finished among the last couple.

Follow: Lucia Valentina, obviously. Sack Puissance De Lune and Silent Achiever, forgive Happy Trails.

Race 8: Blazer Stakes (1400m)

1st Forever Loved – Vlad Duric 2nd Enquare – Craig Newitt 3rd May’s Dream – Brad Rawiller

Politeness was last out, perhaps also eased a bit off the wide gate. Mezeray Miss worked a bit to find the front but got there ahead of Jessy Belle who moved to second around Bonaria. Enquare landed in a good spot with Dig A Pony close up. Forever Loved was three wide early but eased into a trail with May’s Dream on the fence midfield. Lady Cumquat was next and Girl In Flight strode around them out wider with no hope of getting in. Mezeray Miss led down the to the 300m but had a wall of them chasing her. Jessy Belle had her chance but Forever Loved swept up quickly to claim them. May’s Dream was blocked for a run at a vital stage and had a to wait for Forever Loved to go to get to the outside. Enquare tried to go with Forever Loved as well but couldn’t match her and while the winner laid in a bit late and hampered her it didn’t affect the result. May’s Dream picked herself up and held off Politeness, who steamed home from the back, for third. Nice runs behind them from Dig A Pony and Lady Cumquat and Girl In Flight wasn’t disgraced considering her wide passage first-up. Jessy Belle had her chance and Mezeray Miss doesn’t get 1400m. The favourite Suavito took no part when the gates opened.

Follow: May’s Dream, Politeness, Dig A Pony.

Race 9: Tavern Stakes (1400m)

1st Under The Louvre – Nick Hall 2nd Lucky Hussler – Glen Boss 3rd Our Hand Of Faith – Chris Symons

Ava’s Delight was a bit tardy early on. Plenty of them showed some early pace but none were super keen to lead. Rifleman committed to coming across and Spirits Dance went with him before easing for a trail. Ryker waited a bit before going forward and Brave Centaur worked around them to be up tackling for the lead. Just off those were Five All and Saint Or Sinner, who was trapped wide around Lucky Hussler and Under The Louvre. Brave Centaur kept his run going to shade Rifleman coming to the turn. Ryker looked poised as he switched around their heels and Saint Or Sinner came with him. Spirits Dance took the inside run when Rifleman shifted off and Our Hand Of Faithfollowed her through there. Under The Louvre was trying to work off the inside as well and ran into some traffic. Lucky Hussler got a gap at the right time and he sprinted quickly just as Under The Louvre found his split a few horses inside. Lucky Hussler sprinted best between the 200m and the 100m but his run started to end and Under The Louvre charged at him to get up in the last few strides with Our Hand Of Faith a much improved run for third. A few of them ran on from the back behind the placings with Ava’s Delight, Cadillac Mountain and Escado all finishing off nicely. Ryker pulled up with some mucous but was still very disappointing.

Follow: Cadillac Mountain.

Specials from the meeting: Atmosphere, Crafty, Politeness, Dig A Pony.

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Randwick review by Todd Burmester

Race 1

1st Calverite Sam Clipperton 2nd Igraine Glyn Schofield 3rd Speak Fondly Ty Angland

The two-year-olds went around for the first time this season in the Gimcrack in the first. Bar Stories reared out wide at the start and went back to the rear. Rosie Quadrille was one of the best to begin with Themis. Igraine used the inside to go through and have a share of the lead, and Speak Fondly found itself just behind them. Up the rise, Speak Fondly had a short sharp sprint to hit the front but Calaverite was coming after it on the outside and Igraine was coming through on its inside. It was the John O’Shea stablemates that fought it out with Calaverite stretching out nicely to get the win. This was a very professional effort for a horse having its first race start to sit off the pace and know where the line was.

Follow: Calverite

Race 2

1st Vancouver Ty Angland 2nd Sooboog James McDonald 3rd Wolf Cry Christian Reith

Sooboog was sent out a short priced favourite for The Breeders Plate, but couldn’t get across Vancouver who led narrowly. Last Witness and More Than Fabulous were in third and fourth behind the speed. Up the rise, Vancouver showed a good kick, and Sooboog was trying to knuckle down to come after it. They had a decent break over Last Witness. In the run to the line, Vancouver found plenty to come away from Sooboog and they maintained their break over the rest of the field. You can see more wins in store for the first two here.

Follow: Sooboog (might lead clearly next time)

Race 3

1st Hampton Court Joao Moreira 2nd Duccio Tim Clark 3rd Bachman Corey Brown

Hampton Court began well in race 3 and led early from Duccio. Duccio wanted the front and was let have it, and strode a couple clear from Hampton Court, with Scratch Me Lucky settling third. Mid-race, Deadset strode around them to put Hampton Court in a pocket. Just before the turn, Moreira on Hampton Court was making sure he kept the horse awake and ready for a run to present itself. Early in the straight, Hampton Court looked to check off the heels of the leader and had some trouble getting into the clear. He dropped back a bit and then found clear running and wound up for what was a good win given he lost some momentum. Duccio kept fighting on for second and Bachman did a pretty good job in third.

Follow: Bachman

Race 4

1st Brazen Beau Joao Moreira 2nd Nostradamus James McDonald 3rd Delectation Blake Shinn

Hallowed Crown was the slowest to begin in The Roman Consul and went back to last. Time For War led them up from Klammer and Brazen Beau. Before the turn, Delectation took off around them and joined the leader. This gave Brazen Beau one to follow into the race and he came three wide to challenge once they straightened. Up the rise, Hallowed Crown was looking for runs on the inside but not really traveling well at the same time. Brazen Beau strode clear inside the 200m mark and it was all over. Nostradamus did a good job to work its way into second, but all honours here are with the winner.  Hallowed Crown might be looking for the paddock, although its other wins have come when able to get out into clear running whereas today it was on the fence.

Follow: Brazen Beau

Race 5

1st Moriarty Blake Shinn 2nd Rising Romance James McDonald 3rd Vilanova Joao Moreira

The Craven Plate was race 5 and Rising Romance who was sent out a short priced favourite went straight to the front. She led from Danchai and Canny Ballad. Slow Pace got the run one out and one back. The eventual winner, Moriarty went back to last. Mid-race Danchai decided it wanted the front and took it from Rising Romance. This then prompted Rising Romance to come off the fence and Canny Ballad to come three wide. Canny Ballad strode clear before the turn, with Rising Romance then the first to come after it. Moriarty was brought to the outside to put in its claim together with Slow Pace. Rising Romance sprinted inside the 200m mark and for a few strides looked the winner but Moriarty knuckled down and came at Rising Romance in the last bit to get there on the line in a determined win. Vilanova didn’t appear to have the clearest of runs at times in the straight.

Follow: Vilanova

Race 6

1st Famous Seamus Tim Clark 2nd Charlie Boy Josh Parr 3rd Wouldn’t It Be Nice Sam Clipperton

Back from a long spell Sincero was best to begin, but Charlie Boy was ridden up on the inside to lead. He settled in front from Sincero, Famous Seamus and I’ve Got The Looks. The pace didn’t look flash, and Famous Seamus was forced to race three wide. Up the rise, Charlie Boy still had it but Famous Seamus was threatening danger. I’ve Got The Looks was getting an inside run, but it appeared that the run was going faster than it was. Generalife was in the middle and looking everywhere for a run and going easily. In the run to the line Famous Seamus wore down Charlie Boy but the tragedy beaten was Generalife who was ready to explode with a clear run but it never came. There are plenty of ways to do your money punting, and if you were on Generalife, this is one of them.

Follow: Generalife

Race 7

1st He’s Your Man Joao Moreira 2nd Royal Descent Hugh Bowman 3rd Hooked Sam Clipperton

Jetset Lad and Star Rolling were both slow out in The Epsom of 2014. Pheidon and Woodbine took it up from Ninth Legion, with Laser Hawk one out and one back. Hooked was caught wide, Boban was back midfield on the fence, He’s Your Manwas another caught wide and Toydini found itself back third last. Royal Descent had a pretty nice run just in behind the leading pack. Despite its wide run, Hooked hit the front with 200m to run, but Royal Descent was quickly on the scene to claim it. Ninth Legion was getting an inside run and He’s Your Man was launching with its run down the outside. In the run to the line, poor old Royal Descent found one too good for it yet again, with He’s Your Man getting the narrowest of decisions from the judge. Even Chris Waller said he felt sorry for the runner up. The run of Hooked here was the run of the race for mine, and deserves to pick up another good race off the back of this. Toydini was a big disappointment not running on at all. Boban finished midfield but didn’t appear to put in at all in the straight.

Follow: Hooked

Race 8

1st First Seal Blake Shinn 2nd Winx Hugh Bowman 3rd Thinking Of You Josh Parr

Echo Gal led them up in The Flight Stakes. Press Report was on its outside, with Dynamic Rock third and First Seal getting a lovely run in fourth. Winx went back to last early and then took inside runs to settle third from last. The pace looked slow. Around the home turn, First Seal was brought three wide to be there to strike in the straight. Strike she certainly did. She ambled up to them as they came up the rise and then quickly put the issue beyond doubt not long after whilst Winx was back behind her and under the whip. First Seal came away to win by 3 or 4. Winx worked its way into second but was simply no match for the winner. Thinking Of You, who faced a step up in grade today gets a pass mark for its effort to get into third.

Follow: First Seal has the wood on them for now

Race 9

1st Junoob Blake Shinn 2nd Opinion Ty Angland 3rd Araldo Jeff Lloyd

We came to the last on a great day of racing which was The Metropolitan. Travolta led them out of the straight but there seemed to be plenty that wanted a piece of the action. Travolta had it from Iggi Pop and Spillway who was wide initially so it worked its way up to third. La Amistad and Deane Martin were caught wide with Deane Martin rolling forward. Junoob had a pretty nice run in fourth. Mid race they were strung out over 20 lengths or more. At the 600m mark, Junoob made use of its good run in transit by moving closer to the leaders. Around the turn, Junoob ran to the front, but you had to ask yourself whether he had gone too soon and started looking for the late closers. Kingdoms and Bagman were trying to put in runs from a long way back, and Opinion had worked its way into a challenging position after a good run throughout. Junoob still had it by over 2 lengths at the furlong, with Opinion seemingly the danger and Araldo had come through in the middle. In the run to the line, Junoob dug deep and it turned out a well judged ride by Blake Shinn to set up the break when he did and they couldn’t run him down.

Follow: Junoob was strong

Specials from the meeting: Generalife, Hooked