Monee Valley review from Ray Hickson

Race 1: Pin & Win For Starlight Handicap (1400m).

1st Mybenz – Ben Melham
2nd Rose Pattern – Chad Schofield
3rd Minnie Downs – Craig Newitt

Mybenz was a touch slow before rushing through to settle fourth out three wide. Dartook was first out and claimed the early lead before Classy Chloe crossed from out wide and that pair disputed the front. Dartook eventually won out. Rose Pattern landed in the box seat with Twilighting enjoying a perfect trail. Dartook kicked clear on the turn and allowed Rose Pattern a run to chase. Mybenz descended on them despite racing wide throughout, perhaps a sign of the off-fence pattern to come, and left them with no excuses. Rose Pattern stuck on well to hold second and Minnie Downs followed the winner home out wide and was a narrow margin away third. Twilighting had every chance, Bec Said No Credit didn’t do a lot though wasn’t beaten far and not a bad first-up run from Goldslick.

Follow: Minnie Downs is honest and looks in for a good preparation.

Race 2: Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1100m) 

1st Shamal Wind – Jackie Beriman
2nd Anise – Stephen Baster
3rd Smackdown – Damian Lane

Canali jumped fast and pounced on the lead clearly with Undeniably following him across to the fence and settling second. Shamal Wind broke well and was eased off the speed. Smackdown kicked up from the inside gate and Anise settled nicely to his outside. They didn’t go overly hard in front but the leaders stopped quickly and Smackdown momentarily claimed the led at the 200m before Shamal Wind worked into the clear and asserted her authority late. Anise tried hard down the outside and arrived in time for second with Smackdown just holding third from the fast-finishing Cavallo Nero, who ran on as he always does. They finished well clear of the rest who all had no excuses.


Follow: Shamal Wind was too good for these. There’s a win in Anise soon.

Race 3: Nine West Plate (1000m)

1st Iconic – Damien Oliver
2nd Villa Verde – Michael Rodd
3rd Whiskey Allround – James McDonald

Menage A Charge jumped awkwardly and then rushed up onto heels along the rail. The Bronx flew out and led easily with debutant Classy Jack going with him and they held a couple of lengths break early. Villa Verde jumped well out wide and eased to take a three wide trail behind Whiskey Allround who had Mezeray Miss and Register to his inside. Il Cavallo eased out behind that trio and Iconic settled next in the three wide line. Villa Verde slid up five wide about 400m out and Iconic was immediately on her back. Classy Jack hit the front at the 200m but was swallowed up by the swoopers with Iconic finishing a shade better than Villa Verde. Whiskey Allround finished a few lengths back in third just ahead of Il Cavallo who worked home okay. Nice runs from Classy Jack on debut in a strong race and Menage A Charge who did plenty wrong but still ran on nicely. The bubble has definitely burst on Clevadude and Impulsive Spirit did absolutely nothing in a puzzling run after a nice trial.

Follow: Classy Jack and Menage A Charge can pick up wins in easier grade.

Race 4: Inglis Bonus Handicap (1700m) 

1st Rockford – Damien Oliver
2nd Epic Saga – Chris Symons
3rd Le Mans – Craig Newitt

Le Mans was first out but wasn’t keen on leading and allowed a few to cross him with Great Esteempushing on and Lannister keeping him working up the hill. Gravitational found a good spot in the clear in third and Rahal settled in the first five as well. Rockford was caught wide and had to ease back to worse than midfield to find cover while Resistant found himself a lot further back than normal. Lannister served it up to Great Esteem coming to the turn and won that battle to the 300m. Le Mans switched around their heels to run on while Surging Wave tried hard along the inside. Epic Saga peeled out to make his run and was tagged by Rockford who stormed home out wide and narrowly prevailed. Le Mans kept whacking away in third. There were a heap of good runs behind the placings – Surging Wave was handy, Lannister battled on after being a sitting shot, Famechon hit the line hard from the back and is still eligible for a maiden, total forgive run from Great Esteem.


Follow: could be a strong race. Lannister did a great job and Famechon can win a maiden.

Race 5: Sprint Series Heat 2 (1200m) 

1st Catkins – Craig Newitt
2nd Hi Belle – Vlad Duric
3rd Flash Of Doubt – Brett Prebble

Catkins jumped best from her wide gate and stayed out wide looking for something to follow. Anabaa’s Legacy mustered through the middle to lead and found it comfortably. Octavia didn’t show her usual speed and could only settle third with Jolie Blonde and A Time For Julia to her outside. Hazard was smothered up behind them with Flash Of Doubt railing up and Catkins settled outside that pair. Anabaa’s Legacy left the fence before the turn and Octavia, under the whip, and Flash Of Doubt took the inside runs. A Time For Julia made a short dash before Catkins and Hi Belle chimed in out wide. Catkins stuck her big grey nose out to get a deserved win from Hi Belle and Flash Of Doubt was very close up inside them. Nice finish from Balaclava Lady who lost her compass on the turn when bumped by the runner-up. Of the others a good return from the stayer Lake Sententia. Octavia looks to have had enough and perhaps the same could be said for A Time For Julia.


Follow: Hi Belle has come back well and Balaclava Lady looks close to a win.

Race 6: Higgins & Dalziel Racing (1400m) 

1st Out Of Coober – Dean Yendall
2nd Mouro – Damien Oliver
3rd Brian’s Honour – Dwayne Dunn

Meliora jumped best and took up the running from British General who was content to take a sit. Future Solution broke well and went forward with Don’t Get Excited and Soledad elected to trail them. Shorehamfound a good spot on the fence about midfield and Mouro was one pair behind him. Meliora opened up a five length lead passing the 800m and stayed hard up against the fence. Future Solution claimed the lead about 200m out but was out of gas having done all the chasing and Brian’s Honour and Out Of Coober swept home out wide with the latter, one of the roughies, proving far too strong. Mouro had a checkered passage and got through to run second in a nice first-up run. Good effort also from Shoreham behind the placings after being outsprinted. Rhythm To Spare was one of the favourites but finished near the tail after pulling up with a cardiac issue, so he could be forgiven. Whisper Downs is looking for further.

Follow: Mouro and Shoreham are in for very good spring campaigns.

Race 7: Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) 

1st Gregers – Chad Schofield
2nd Marianne – Craig Williams
3rd Politeness – Ben Melham

Vivi Veloce was slow from her wide gate otherwise a clean line out. Lady Lakshmi assumed the front-runner’s role and Montsegur crossed from out wide to sit on her outside. Gregers held the fence behind them with Marianne and Politeness on her back in the clear. Kiss A Rose was buried well back on the inside and Se Sauver, who played up in the gates, wound up at the tail. After walking in front Lady Lakshmi picked up the tempo about 500m out and left Montsegur flat footed. Gregers snuck up on the inside to challenge while Marianne and Politeness swung very wide to run on. Gregers hung on thanks to a brave Chad Schofield ride over Marianne and Politeness was cutting them down with every stride. Montsegur every chance behind them and of the others Se Sauver hit the line very well.


Follow: Politeness looks to have the most improvement but it was a messy race.

Race 8: Naturalism Stakes (2000m) 

1st Mr O’Ceirin – Glen Boss
2nd Kesampour – Luke Nolen
3rd Pakal – Craig Newitt

Nobody wanted to lead and it took about 300m before Glen Boss allowed Mr O’Ceirin to stride over andKesampour followed him to eventually land in second with Keep Cool and Tremec next. Seville was racing a lot closer than we’ve seen this spring and Durnford and Bit Of Hell were in that pack as well. Moudre andFolding Gear were slow out and Tuscan Fire went back from his wide alley. By the 800m they had bunched right up and Mr O’Ceirin was just lobbing along in front uncontested. Kesampour moved up to try and pressure the leader and they broke away at the top of the straight. Mr O’Ceirin fought on too well after having a picnic in front. Pakal got a lot further back than we’ve seen and he circled the field and kept coming into third just ahead of Bit Of Hell who got through along the inside in a much improved showing ahead ofQuintessential who gets a pass mark. Nothing wrong with the efforts of Tuscan Fire, Moudre and Ibicenco who was back in the ruck early but made late ground. Seville was fairly common.

Follow: Stick with those who ran well but it was such a slowly run race the form could be misleading.

Race 9: Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) 

1st It’s A Dundeel – James McDonald
2nd Atlantic Jewel – Michael Rodd
3rd Dear Demi – Brad Rawiller

Clean line out and Atlantic Jewel rolled to the lead with Dear Demi on her inside and It’s A Dundeelsurprisingly coming across to sit up in second place. Happy Trails and Manighar sat handy in another very slowly run race. Puissance de Lune eased to the back with Foreteller from their outside gates and Mr Moetwas stranded three wide without cover about midfield. Dear Demi crept up inside Atlantic Jewel at the 600m to basically make a line of three with It’s A Dundeel to their outside. Atlantic Jewel regained a narrow lead at the 300m but didn’t break clear as we’ve seen in her two runs back. She looked to be holding on at the 100m but It’s A Dundeel had another shot late and grabbed her with a couple of strides left. Dear Demi held on for third with Happy Trails and Manighar trying hard behind them. The first six on the home turn finished in the same order on the line aside from It’s A Dundeel nailing Atlantic Jewel. Puissance de Lune did a big job to be next across the line and Mr Moet ran well after a tough run. Green Moon had no chance the way the race was run and I’d be crossing off Sea Moon as a spring contender this year.

Follow: Yet another farcically run race but Puissance de Lune is in great shape for the Cup.

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Rosehill review from Todd Burmester

Race 1

1st        Photon Willie                        Glyn Schofield
2nd      Sainthood                               Peter Robl
3rd      Punch Your Weight             B Vassallo

Twisted Emotions came out about a length behind the field.  Gangster’s Choice took it up from Hippopus, but Hippopus persisted along the inside and eventually took up the running.  Photon Willie and Sainthoodgot nice trails behind the speed.  Around the turn, Hippopus and Gangster’s Choice still had it, but there were several coming out wide with a run.  In the straight, Gangster’s Choice got away from Hippopus and was tackled by Sainthood, with Photon Willie the one looking for a run.  When he got it, he always looked the winner, and was coaxed over the line by Glyn Schofield to beat Sainthood and Punch Your Weight that finished off ok.

Follow: Punch Your Weight

Race 2

1st       Guelph                               Hugh Bowman
2nd     Arabian Gold                  Peter Robl
3rd      Bound For Earth           Nick Hall

A pretty good start in the second with Shahad leading up from Romantic Moon three wide and Bound For Earth in the middle.  Arabian Gold and Guelph raced together in fourth and fifth.  Around the turn Guelph was shuffled back a bit and trying to work to the outside, but still looked to have plenty to offer.  Arabian Gold took the shorter way home, kicking through on the inside.  Once Guelph was in clear running, it was a one act affair, and she came away for a very nice win.  She showed in this race that she has a lot of class on these, and at level weights, was never going to be beaten.

Follow: Guelph is a very good filly

Race 3

1st        Barbed                           Hugh Bowman
2nd     Diamond Oasis            Nick Hall
3rd      Whittington                 Tommy Berry

Havana came out about 4 lengths behind them.  It was a pretty good race for the lead, with the speedy, I’m All The Talk kicking up from the inside to hold out Whittington and Va Pensiero which eased, but was still wide.  Dothraki and Diamond Oasis were in third and fourth respectively.  I’m All The Talk only knows one speed, and it burnt away from them around the turn.  Coming to the 200m however, its cards were all spent, asBarbed got the run through on the inside to claim the lead with Diamond Oasis looking a danger on the outside.  Barbed ended up going to the line better and beat Diamond Oasis with Whittington not far away in third.  Va Pensiero turned in another tip top effort after being wide.

Follow: Barbed (remains unbeaten), Va Pensiero

Race 4

1st       Angel Bee             Tommy Berry
2nd     Maximilian          Peter Robl
3rd     Shelford                 Nick Hall

There was plenty of pace here and no clear leader early, with Angel Bee, Destruction and Shelford all up there.  Field Marshall, which was the favourite in the race, settled not far off the speed trailing up Shelford which was three wide.  Around the turn and up the rise, and Tommy Berry let Angel Bee go and she gave a good kick.  Maximilian was making its bid for victory along the inside, and Shelford was still trying hard down the outside.  In the run to the line none of them could get to Angel Bee who has to take all credit for a good win.  Shelford should be given another chance after being wide, and Windswept got home very nicely.  Field Marshall has to be considered very disappointing.

Follow: Maximilian, Shelford

Race 5

1st         Streama                     Blake Shinn
2nd       Royal Descent        Nash Rawiller
3rd       Veyron                      Christian Reith

The flashy looking Sincero was the best to begin from Dissident, and Then Veyron rolled across from out wide to take up the running, with Streama going up outside of him.  This gave Dissident the run of the race on the fence in third.  Veyron still had it as they came around the turn, and tried to kick away coming up the rise.  Dissident was trying to get into the clear as Streama came after Veyron, but didn’t have a lot of luck finding a run.  Streama claimed the lead, with Royal Descent turning in another nice run for second.  Hawkspur which was sent around favourite in this, made up a lot of ground late.  He really looks to be on a Cups preparation now, as there wasn’t quite as much ping in him today as last start, but he shouldn’t be written off.

Follow: Royal Descent and Hawkspur look on track for Melbourne

Race 6

1st        Boban                  Glyn Schofield
2nd      Beltone                Josh Parr
3rd      Choice Bro          Jason Collett

Title jumped well from the inside and took it up from Ashokan which moved up on his outside and there wasn’t a great deal of pace.  Mid race, Ashokan was let stride and had a couple of lengths on them.  Sizzling, as it tends to do, got back to last.  Malavio was caught wide a few lenghts off the lead.  Around the turn, Ashokan still had a break but wasn’t going to stay there long as Boban sprinted through nicely on the inside following an economical run in transit.  Sizzling was brought widest but never really came into it as Boban made a one act affair of things in the run to the line.  Beltone finished its race off nicely along the inside for second, with Choice Bro in third.  The winner is recognising a lot of early potential, and may go onto something better than this in the coming months.

Follow: Boban may have an even better race in him.

Race 7

1st        Moriarty                         Nash Rawillern
2nd      Glencadam Gold           Tommy Berry
3rd       Masked Marvel              Nick Hall

Glencadam Gold rolled to the front from Bayrir which moved up on his outside.  Darci Be Good was wide early, and moved up to third.  Moriarty which began well ended up drifting back to third last.  Pelicano got a nice run on the fence in third.  Up the rise, Glencadam Gold showed a bit of dash to get away from them by over a length.  To the 200m, Moriarty was coming with a strong run and looked the likely winner.  Masked Marvel had run right off the track but was still up there with the leading contenders.  In the run to the line it was Moriarty that finished too strongly, but who knows how close Masked Marvel may have gotten if it did not race as eratically.  Glencadam Gold looks to be coming into form.

Follow: Glencadam Gold, Masked Marvel

Race 8

1st         Sessions                      Josh Parr
2nd       Aeronautical            Jim Cassidy
3rd       Spirit Of Boom          Nick Hall

Tiger Tees and Hidden Warrior led up in the last event.  Decision Time got a nice run back on the fence, with the old boy, Hay List out very wide, not too far off the speed.  Sessions raced closer today, tucking in just behind Decision Time.  At the 200m mark, it basically looked anyones race with Sessions, Decision Time, Hidden Warrior and Aeronautical all within a length of one another in front.  Spirit Of Boom was the fresh horse on the scene down the outside.  In the run to the line, Sessions just got the nod from Aeronautical and Spirit Of Boom which came from last.  It is a shame to see Hay List a shadow of his former self.  Manawnui also didn’t do much here.

Follow: Spirit Of Boom

Specials from the meeting: Guelph, Boban, Spirit Of Boom