Flemington review compiled by Michael Mitchell
Race 1 – Victorian Carbine Club Plate 1000m
1st Menage A Charge Damian Lane
2nd Calcutta Ben Mellham
3rd Miss Steele Glen Boss
The first was a 1000m event for some promising two-year-olds. They broke pretty evenly with Miss Steele going back early. Menage A Charge started a lot better than it did in its previous start to the relief of the punters and it went to the inside to take a leading position with Laurin and Commands Riches was outside those two.
Menage A Charge made its move just before the 300m and went to a clear two length lead and was always going to be hard to beat from that stage. Melham then was the one on Calcutta to start his run and chase down the leader. Miss Steele and Dalton joined in, but it was too late. Although Menage a Charge was tiring, Calcutta couldn’t get there. Miss Steele and Dalton were also good runs finishing behind Menage A Charge and Calcutta, with a clear gap to the rest of the field.
Follow: Menage a Charge had a 10 day back up. That would suggest that it might be able to go better than this (but you’ll have to wait for the spring now). The first three horses here are all worth following.
Race 2 – K.A. Morrison 3yo Handicap
1st Desert Wizard Damien Lane
2nd Medvedev Vlad Duric
3rd Royal Island Dean Yendall
A big field for the second, as the starter got them away in a good line, with Underestimation and Royal Islandgoing towards the front. As expected, Tronador went around the field from a wide barrier to take up the lead. Tronandor set a decent speed, with Bradman going to third, closely followed by the rest of the field lead byTampere and Medvedev.
Royal Island after its early gate speed started to settle back through the field and by the 600m Tronador, Bradman and Underestimation put a three-length gap on the field. Desert Wizard was given any favours and was ridden 3 wide in the bunch behind the leaders as it started to get a shake up as they turned for home.
By the 400m Royal Island and Medvedev had gobbled up the three lengths as they made a line of seven across the straight at the 250m. This is when Desert Wizard really got into stride and within 50 metres it had asserted itself as a horse that would be the toughest to run down. It went on to extend and win easily, from Medvedev, who still found trouble and wasn’t able to roll into the race as it would liked, until clear running near the finish. About Square had a really long sustained run to come home 4th and Topkapi also came home late. Something seemed to go amiss with Right To Roam, who was subsequently vetted after the race.
Follow: Desert Wizard looks to have black type talent. About Square and Topkapi are worth following, but before prominently marking them in the black book, check for the form out of the race.
Race 3 Trevor Clarke 3yo Handicap
1st Vain Queen Thomas Sadler
2nd La Tikka Rosa Vlad Duric
3rd Our Cellardoor Chad Schofield
Vain Queen ducked in a little at the start of the 3rd, but it didn’t seem to do too much damage. It was hard to see who was taking the early lead, with the horses maneuvering into 3 groups in different areas of the Flemington straight.
At the 600m the horses on the outside joined the horses in the middle of the track, leaving a smaller group on the rails. Vain Queen and Formidable seemed to be the prominent two at this stage. Formidable was the first beaten at the 300m, with Vain Queen starting to come away from the middle group and lead with the two inside runners, lead by Legcut
At the 200m, Vain Queen moved two lengths in front with a nice turn of foot, with only La Tikka Rosa creating any threat. Vain Queen went on to win easily by 2 lengths to La Tikka Rosa in the end, with Our Cellardoorbattling on well for third
Follow: Vain Queen
Race 4 – Baden Baden Trophy 2000m
1st Whisper Downs Chad Schofield
2nd Verdant Dwayne Dunn
3rd Auld Burns Craig Robertson
Crafty Cruiser got away nicely from the inside barrier, as Lidari was ridden strongly to get to the front, along withAuld Burns and Rosello. Lidari set a strong pace, with Auld Burns following as they broke away from the field by over 3 lengths. Whisper Downs led the rest of the field and nothing really changed throughout the middle stages of the race until they hit the turn.
Whisper Downs then slowly clawed back the leading pair and Secessio followed from further back.
Whisper Downs seamlessly went past Auld Burns and Lidari about 250m out from home, with Secessio andVerdant wanting to show there hand from further back. Lidari who set the blistering pace was spent as Whisper Downs did it easily to win by two lengths from an impressive run by Verdant for second. They were then followed, a length or two back by Auld Burns and Seccessio.
Follow: Whisper Downs. It will run every 2-3 weeks and won’t let you down too often.
Race 5 – Winter Championship Series Heat 2 1400m
1st Streets Away Jamie Mott
2nd Another Prelate Craig Robertson
3rd Hawks Bay Damien Lane
I’m not sure the Winter Championship Series as strong as they have been in years gone by, but it made it for interesting betting. On jumping Hollowlea missed the start by two lengths in an otherwise even dispatch. Loot n Run came out firing to lead in the early stages from Le Remas and Lethal Arrow from its wide gate. Another Prelate and Dayita were eased to the back of the field, while Extra Zero was last after the first 200m.
Loot n Run was setting a very strong pace and at the 700m the field was strung out over 12 lengths. On the turn the field started to bunch up with Constant Force coming around 4 wide, followed by 3-4 others looking for a tail into the race.
By the 400m, Loot n Run and Le Remas had snuck a handy 1-2 lengths lead as they all started lining up across the straight to presume there sprint to the line.
There was a line of about 10 until the 150m, where Le Remas had had enough and Loot n Run was the one to catch. Then it was time for Another Prelate and Streets Away to take it over from a tired Loot n Run in the last 100m. The two split 1-2 lengths away from the field and it was hard to judge who was going to put their head out as the line closed in. Streets away showed enough grit to beat an unlucky Another Prelate. Hawks Bay was gallant to be a length 3rd with the top weight. Extra Zero is one to follow, after being over 10 lengths away during the race, it flashed home for fourth.
Follow: Extra Zero
Race 6 Andrew Ramsden Stakes 3200m
1st Unchain My Heart Dwayne Dunn
2nd Wells Peter Mertens
3rd Thubiaan Craig Newitt
The rain started to poor down as the horses were in the yard for the 6th. They jumped well and started to try and find their spot for the long 3200m journey. Compound came out to be the early leader, with Stand to Gaincoming wide early to take it up as they passed the post for the first time, with Escado on its outside. They were all set in to position on turning for the first time, with a moderate pace being set. Escado took up the lead withThubiaan moving up slowly to get into second after the 1200m.
The back markers led by Knucklemanna, followed by Altonio were the first to show their hands as they started the turn for home.
Brungle Cry was on the seen at the 400m as the field really stacked up. Escado lost its position and Thubiaan snuck two lengths away with 350m to go. The field was starting to open up, with a lot of the field dropping out as the pressure was applied. This opened up perfectly for Unchain My Heart, who was ridden quietly with a lot of cover throughout by Dunn.
At the 200m Wells, who had a very cushy run, went up to challenge Thubiaan with Unchain My Heart and Altonio, who was sustaining a long run. Altonio died on its run as Unchain My Heart and Wells broke away from Thubiaan. Class prevailed with Unchain My Heart winning the battle by half a length with Thubiaan finishing 3rd in front of Altonio and a fast finishing Gotta Take Care.
Follow: Wells and Gotta Take Care, when they head back to the jumps in the next month.
Race 7 – The Straight Six 1200m
1st Mister Milton Damian Lane
2nd By The Way Jason Benbow
3rd That’s The One Glen Boss
The Favourite That’s The One had a nightmare start veering in and heavily collecting a well backed outside chance Balzeus. Title and Belissimmo stayed in the middle of the track early to take up the lead, closely followed by Shellscrape and Petman, who seemed to have relaxed nicely in the early stages.
When they hit the 400m though, Petman was asked for an effort and didn’t respond. Along with Belissimo, they were the first beaten. Title was trying to hold on, as Johanapine was coming from the inside to challenge. Dash for Viz, who usually leaves its run late, got out in front and was closely followed by Mister Milton. Utah Saintscouldn’t seem to get through for a long time. Boss wasn’t allowed clear running on That’s The One until after the 150m and by that stage, it was too late, as the once renowned “money muncher”, Mister Milton was already 2 lengths in front. Mister Milton finally getting a win from a very fast finishing By The Way, who was at the rear 400m from home. That’s the way finished well for 3rd, with Perfectly Stunning being hampered near the 200m and Dash for Viz.
Follow: By The Way, Perfectly Stunning.
Race 8 – Henry Bolte Handicap 1700m
1st Fulgur Chris Symons
2nd Oak Heart Jamie Mott
3rd Gail Glen Boss
First Course used its gate speed and inside barrier to lead, with Royal Mail sitting up outside of it. Eraset andBashan were away slowly. Mi Hungi along with Alrouz went wide to sit outside the 2 leaders. Tigerland got a really nice sit, two back on the fence as it settled into stride. Gail sat just behind midfield and Fulgur second last and ridden quietly.
First Course set a fast pace and strung the field out and at the 700m. Gail and Fulgur were 10 and 12 lengths off the pace respectively.
Rounding the turn the field bunched (as per the pattern of the day), with the back markers drawing closer to the weakening front-runner. Budai was the first to start its run 3 wide, followed by a string of others, which included Gail and Eraset. Fulgur on the other hand opted to save ground and ride for a gap that never came.
They all lined up across the straight as they hit the 200m, with Mi Hungi having a narrow and diminishing margin.Oak Heart got a tail into the race from Mi Hungi and started attacking the line with Fulgur, who also found daylight after having to navigate wide for a gap. Fulgur, an international raider just had too much class for Oak Heart in the concluding stages, with Gail doing her customary eye catching run coming home. Mi Hungi was 4th and Eraset seemed to run home well, after a bad start and carrying 60kgs.
Tigerland was disappointing. It should have been spelled after it’s last run.