Flemington Review by Ray Hickson

Race 1: Eugene Gorman Handicap (1400m)1st El Greco – Luke Nolen 2nd Alamonteel – Mark Zahra 3rd Old Trieste – Noel Callow

There looked a bit of competition for the lead but perhaps no-one was that keen. Alamonteel worked across to lead Flying Geepee andRecalcitrata. El Greco landed in a good spot while Automatic Choice was stuck wide. Barachino improved along the fence next. Alamonteel wasn’t pressured after finding the lead and slipped a length clear early in the straight which allowed El Greco to get off his back as Flying Geepee dropped off. El Greco took over soon after and really extended in the last 100m to run out a very easy winner. Alamonteel held the rest at bay fairly comfortably while Old Trieste and Look At Me Now ran on from the back, with Old Trieste grabbing third. Close up were Recalcitrata and Makatiti, the latter never looking a chance. Winner far too good.

Follow: none, outside the obvious.

Race 2: Young Members Ball (1400m)

1st Bon Rocket – Brandon Stockdale 2nd Bradman – Craig Newitt 3rd Mihany – Noel Callow

Mihany tried to find the lead from a wide alley but was held out by Bon Rocket punching through. Topkapi also looked to slot in off a wide gate and Red Spyder found a nice trail easing out of it. Bradman was also in a good spot around Clemo with Excitement improving out wider. In the next bunch were Siegestor, Gold Cufflinks, One Inch Punch and Making Mayhem. Once Bon Rocket kicked through he snuck away coming to the turn and was still nicely clear at the 200m. Clemo and Mihany were the immediate chasers and they were just battling. Gold Cufflinks ran up behind them and into a pocket. Bradman got a run through as Topkapi weakened and Red Spyder was further out sticking on. There was a wall closing on Bon Rocket but he managed to hang on for a narrow win over Bradman, who just missed. Mihany between them for a place and there was a clump within a length or so with Clemo, the slightly unlucky Gold Cufflinks,Mick’s Hustler running on and Red Spyder not far away. No stars here and the bunched finish is a little worry.

Follow: Gold Cufflinks had excuses whereas most others didn’t.

Race 3: Rivette Series Heat (1400m)

1st Azeema – Craig Newitt 2nd Kaizaen – Dwayne Dunn 3rd Zerprise Journey – Michael Dee

A mad charge early on before Oak Park Goblet and Fast Approaching worked over to the fence. Cinnamon Carter kept going out wider and Northroza slotted in fourth between Champagne Cocktail and Zerprise Journey. Another line of three followed with Manageressinside A Lotta Love and Kaizaen outside them. Fast Approaching served it up to Oak Park Goblet before the turn and took over with pressure from Cinnamon Carter as well. Northroza was under pressure when looking for a run inside Fast Approaching but the gap was going quicker than her. Zerprise Journey chimed in out wider and Kaizaen came off her back to make her run too. Northroza was gone 200m out and Zerprise Journey hit the lead after her wide run but down the outside from near last came Azeema and she strode away for a strong win. Kaizaen just got the better of a game Zerprise Journey late while Violent Snow ran on well without threatening the placegetters. Couldn’t find an excuse for Northroza, she wasn’t the same horse.

Follow: Zerprise Journey is worth another look.

Race 4: Banjo Paterson Heat (2500m)

1st Black Jag – Noel Callow 2nd Lady Cumquat – Dwayne Dunn 3rd Kareeming – Patrick Moloney

Black Jag was ridden out to lead them from Stable Star. Cooldini crossed to sit outside You Think So with Gotta Take Care behind them inside Kareeming. Lady Cumquat was next and Crafty Cruiser outside her. Black Jag opened a big midrace lead which was reduced to a couple passing the 100m as he took a breather. Stable Star followed him and then moved alongside. No sooner did he do that did Black Jag take off again. You Think So and Cooldini were watching it unfold and Kareeming eased around that pair on the turn to start his move. Lady Cumquat was behind him and also sliding into it well. Stable Star just couldn’t reel Black Jag in and they snuck a couple clear well into the straight. Kareeming and Lady Cumquat looked to be travelling well but the leaders weren’t stopping. Black Jag finally shook off Stable Star about 100m out and while Lady Cumquat and Kareeming kept coming he outstayed them in a typically tough performance. Flashing home late was De Little Engine to grab fourth at his third run back.

Follow: De Little Engine looks ready to win now.

Race 5: Rod Johnson Handicap (1100m)

1st Hard Romp – Michael Dee 2nd Nadeem Lass – Regan Bayliss 3rd Klishina – Katelyn Mallyon

Trevinder held the early lead in the middle of the track with Anatina on his inside and Klishina up handier than usual outside him. Hard Romp was further out on his own and Play Master was in behind the leaders. Pago Rock followed Hard Romp and the grey Mr Make Believe raced in midfield. Anatina was one of the first under pressure close to the fence and Klishina claimed the lead momentarily with Trevinder battling and Play Master there. Hard Romp sprinted at the 200m and took over and they got right away from the rest of the field headed by Pago Rock. Klishina gave a bit of a fight before Hard Romp got away from her, Play Master couldn’t offer any more and Pago Rock looked like running into a place before Nadeem Lass swept down the outside fence. Hard Romp ran out the 1100m stronger than he ever has this time and was too good for perennial placegetter Nadeem Lass and Klishina gripping on ahead of Pago Rock. Behind themAbout Square ran on well first-up. Anatina reportedly pulled up lame but she was still disappointing.

Follow: none, these are well exposed.

Race 6: Creswick Series Heat (1000m)

1st Husson Eagle – Jordan Childs 2nd Rough Justice – Katelyn Mallyon 3rd Star Stealer – Dean Yendall

The field split with half a dozen heading to the outside rail. On the flat side Rough Justice and Forgive And Forget had the lead withHusson Eagle tucked in behind them. Dezannam and Star Stealer were further out while Illustrious Lad had plenty of cover behind Husson Eagle. On the outside fence Risen From Doubt and Cashed had the lead from Snappy Esprit but overall they were a mile off those on the inside. Rough Justice still led at the 200m but he rolled out a bit and Husson Eagle darted through the join him. Illustrious Lad was held up behind them and Star Stealer loomed as a threat. Reigning Meteor was running on in the centre of the track while Cashed broke away from those out wide. Husson Eagle had his head in front with 50m to go and held that margin to the line to down a very game Rough Justice and Star Stealer, just weakening the last bit. Illustrious Lad ran well next and out wider Cashed and Risen From Doubt were the best of that division. Reigning Meteor and Dezannam were close up. The likes of Stingray and Pink Perfection were never in the hunt on the outside fence. Be a little forgiving of those on that side.

Follow: Star Stealer looks a promising type.

Race 7: Ken Cox Handicap (2000m)

1st Golden Oldies – Linda Meech 2nd Warrior King – Mark Zahra 3rd Quedoutes – Jye McNeil

Warrior King was eased out to last at the start. Golden Oldies took up the running clear of Backjack Bella and Boogiedayz. Trouper’s Mill settled three back on the fence inside Piran, who landed in a perfect spot. Sistine Star was trapped wide around Skyfire and St Cajetan. Nothing tested Golden Oldies in the middle stages as he lobbed along a couple clear of the pack. Sistine Star kept his run around them going, moving past Piran and to third around Boogiedayz near the turn. Purreal made a move before the bend as well and Warrior King found his back for a run home. Piran became held up as Boogiedayz was the first to crack and lose ground. Still Golden Oldies was untroubled and cornered with a couple of lengths over Blackjack Bella getting off his back and Trouper’s Mill under some pressure. Piran worked into the clear in plenty of time as Sistine Star gave in. Warrior King started his run down the outside about 350m out. Golden Oldies had a good kick at the 200m and saw off Blackjack Bella’s challenge as Warrior King started to look dangerous. Piran gave nothing and running on were Quedoutes and Skyfire. Golden Oldies just had enough in hand to bear Warrior King, big run from him. Quedoutes an even third ahead of Skyfire and a very unlucky Heavy, who missed the boat before finishing full of running late.

Follow: might be a good form race, Warrior King and Heavy.

Race 8: Winter Championship Heat (1400m)

1st Yesterday’s Songs – Glen Boss 2nd Mr Utopia – Mark Zahra 3rd Good Value – Noel Callow

Hosting was slow early and Mr Utopia and Tried And Tired were taken back. Free Of Doubt showed speed to lead Decircles improving around Sino Eagle. Academy Jack and Good Value, the latter wide, were next and Yesterday’s Songs wasn’t far away on the inside.Chile Express and Future Solution were further out. Sir Andrew and Tiny’s Legacy were the next pair and He Or She was in the clear. Free Of Doubt and Decircles were being ridden along up front on the turn and Academy Jack and Good Value strode up to them. Sino Eagle was looking for a run. Back in the field He Or She became strung up as horses went around him. Good Value wanted to run in but went to Free Of Doubt at the 200m. Mr Utopia was winding up from well back as He Or She was cramped for room inside him with Tiny’s Legacy coming out. Free Of Doubt was fighting on and just as it looked like Mr Utopia would swamp them Yesterday’s Songs found room and burst through to grab the lead and a narrow win in a form reversal from a week earlier. He did have a much better run this time. Mr Utopia game again and Good Value ran right up to his excellent fresh run. Academy Jack and Tiny’s Legacy battled on. He Or She wasn’t disgraced, though hard to know if he was going to be in the finish given all the dead ends he found at vital stages. Sir Andrew made some good ground late.

Follow: strong race. Good Value is just about ready and Sir Andrew when he gets to a mile and further.

Race 9: Lachal Handicap (1800m)

1st Clairvaux – Dean Yendall 2nd Refulgent – Jye McNeil 3rd Prizum – Craig Williams

No surprises early as Longeron headed to the front. Honourable Aussie worked across with Commanding Time to put a little pressure on early. River’s Lane let them go and found cover ahead of By The Grace and Prizum improving after a patchy start. Refulgent was in clear running midfield from Smashing Doubt and Orion. Longeron travelled okay on the turn and had Honourable Aussie battling. River’s Lane waited behind him and Commanding Time and By The Grace made their moves. Refulgent was further out and had a clear run home. Prizum was a bit flat footed between horses. Longeron had his usual kick by the 300m but was taking smaller steps by the metre and Refulgent sprinted up to challenge. Commanding Time and By The Grace couldn’t go on, neither could River’s Lane. Longeron was still kicking and just as Refulgent looked the winner inside the 200m Clairvaux emerged from the back with a powerful finish and picked up the hapless Refulgent. Every possible chance. Prizum got going to run third and Longeron was gallant after beind softened up. No excuses for the rest. Orion proved disappointing.

Follow: none, though be forgiving of Longeron.

Specials from the meeting: De Little Engine, Star Stealer, Sir Andrew.

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Rosehill Review by Todd Burmester

Race 1

1st Shards Sam – Clipperton 2nd Quick Ransom – Brenton Avdulla 3rd Meri Rani – Winona Costin

The two-year-olds got them underway in the first, with So Willie missing the kick on the inside. Strathaird was one of the best to begin. The short priced favourite Shards was out well along with Bubbleberry who was caugh wide initially but eventually got one off the fence outside of Quick Ransom who found support in betting. Up around the turn and into the straight and Clipperton was starting to ask Shards for an effort and it was responding to go up and join the leader and then kick clear. Quick Ransom came off his heals but had a job to do. In the final 100m Quick Ransom didn’t give up on that job but was never really going to get to Shards who pulled away again in the run to the line. Meri Rani ran fairly well in third. So Willie wound up fourth and looks like he might benefit from a spell now.

Follow: Quick Ransom

Race 2

1st Lockroy – Tommy Berry 2nd Well Hardley Ever – Danny Beasley 3rd Kipling – Jason Collett

A pretty good start in the second with Klammer the best to begin and Grunderzeit was also out well to move up outside of it. Stimuli took a sit in third with Well Hardley Ever back on the fence. Up to the 600m mark, Stimuli who hadn’t settled all that well pulled out three wide to be in a striking position as they turned. At the 300m mark they were pretty much all over the place and all being asked to do their best as Stimuli took a narrow lead. Down the outside however the horse who hadn’t been yet asked for the full effort was Lockroy. At the furlong mark he was let go and went to them pretty quickly. In the run to the line he was always going to get the money despite Well Hardley Ever doing a pretty good job to make a race of it. Kipling wound up third.Better Not Blue didn’t have the clearest running in the straight and was lucky not to fall at the 50m mark, so the margin was probably unfair.

Follow: Lockroy

Race 3

1st Final Decision – Tye Angland 2nd Eisenhower – Josh Parr 3rd Double Happy – Tommy Berry

Dupe ‘Em missed the start in the third event and went back to last. Eisenhower was quickest to begin, butPoncherello used an inside gate to go through and lead. Makeadane and Ammirata settled as the next pair a couple of lengths back. Middle stages of the race, the pace didn’t look flash and there was no change in the order. Up around the turn, Josh Parr on Eisenhower was the first to get nervous and gave his mount a crack or two with the whip. Poncherello was kicking on, but Eisenhower then had its measure at the furlong pole. Soon after however you could see Final Decision traveling through between horses and running right up behind them still traveling well. At the 100m mark Final Decision had the lead, Eisenhower fought on quite well, but Final Decision came away in the last part to get the money. It was a very nice ride by Tye Angland on the winner, but don’t take anything away from Eisenhower who did a nice job under the 60kg. Double Happy put its head out to get third spot.

Follow: Eisenhower

Race 4

1st Mirage – Sam Clipperton 2nd Beauty’s Beast – Winona Costin 3rd You’ll Never – Jason Collett

Keep Cool was slow to go and went straight back to last. Up front, Beauty’s Beast worked up out wide to take the lead away from Mirage as they both came across to race one, two. King Cobia settled in third with Mighty Lucky in fourth. Again there were no changes in the middle stages as Beauty’s Beast did it its own way in front, and Mirage moved a bit closer as they approached the turn. Beauty’s Beast found plenty in the straight and still had a good margin at the furlong. In the last 100m, Sam Clipperton got serious on Mirage and he went to Beauty’s Beast in the shadows of the post to get the money. Eigelstein didn’t have the clearest of running at times but didn’t run up to his market expectation here. Keep Cool was a fairly nice effort for something longer.You’ll Never was as consistent as ever running third.

Follow: Keep Cool

Race 5

1st Brook Road – Blake Shinn 2nd Wonderbolt – Brenton Avdulla 3rd Kristy Lee – Tye Angland

A good line out with Nuclear Class the initial early leader with Senta De Noche working its way up outside of him to go together jointly in the lead. Straturbo and Lyric were the second pair in running both getting good runs, with Brook Road also nicely positioned behind them. Early in the straight, Senta De Noche quickly put paid to Nuclear Class and ducked back towards the fence. At the furlong pole Blake Shinn let Brook Road go and the race basically was over. Wonderbolt and Kristy Lee were the chasers and both did a pretty reasonable job, but were never going to get to the winner. It was a nice sprint that Brook Road put in, and an equally nice ride by Blake Shinn to get the money.

Follow: The first three all should hold their form

Race 6

1st Reigning – Brenton Avdulla 2nd Bagman – Blake Shinn 3rd Dream Folk – Sam Clipperton

Ecuador was quick to begin but Phrases was intent to lead and came across to do so. Ecuador was initially in second until Mr One Eleven moved up and took that spot which gave Ecuador a nice run in third spot andMissvonn was outside of it in fourth. At about the 600m mark the runs started to come from the back withBeyond Thankful and Bagman pulling widest to get closer to the action. Phrases still had it around the home bend, with Ecuador coming out of its cosy position to strike as they straightened and Trade Commissioner had made good ground on the inside. At the 300m mark Ecuador was taken to the front with Trade Commissioner trying to go with it and Bagman launching down the outside. In the final furlong, Ecuador was just anchored a little bit by the big weight and/or didn’t quite run out the trip. In the run to the line, Bagman took the lead from Ecuador and looked the winner, but Reigning weaved its way through and came with Dream Folk to charge at Bagman. Bagman held off Dream Folk, but couldn’t hold off the finish of Reigning, who did a great job to get up in the final hop.

Follow: Reigning

Race 7

1st Rockalong – Thomas Huet 2nd Grande Punto – Jason Collett 3rd Moral Victory – Tim Clark

Moral Victory was out best in the seventh event and led from Sinjoren. Grande Punto was on the fence in third with Aussies Love Sport working up out wide and joined Moral Victory in the lead. Sinjoren and Grande Punto took the sit in third and fourth. Lunar Rise was caught three deep in about midfield. Inside the 600m mark the pace looked very comfortable for Moral Victory and there were no changes. Bascule who was sent out favourite was back towards the rear. Moral Victory had a kick early in the straight, with Grande Punto pushing off the fence to look to challenge. Inside the furlong Moral Victory was still clear and looking good, but then soon after started to shorten stride as the cavalry chased. Rockalong right down the outside was the one who finished best and went on for a clear victory over Grande Punto who got past the tiring Moral Victory. Lunar Rise did a pretty fair job to hold onto fourth after always being wide. Bascule was never sighted and goes down as the flop of the day.

Follow: Lunar Rise

Race 8

1st Fiftyshadesofgrey – Jason Collett 2nd Two Blue – Paul King 3rd Floral Gold – Kathy O’Hara

There were plenty showing early speed in the last with Two Blue taking it up initially and Aerobar came across to join it but then eased to let Two Blue take it up clearly. Mystery Flight had a good run third on the fence,Catseye Surprise was caught out three wide the trip with no cover. As they approached the home turn and came around it, the favourite in the race, Fiftyshadesofgrey was back towards the rear and had plenty of horses around it. “The Duck” went for home as they straightened and Two Blue put a bit of a gap in them. Mystery Flight and Aerobar were chasing but didn’t seem to be making any ground. Inside the furlong, you were pretty confident if you were on Two Blue, but at the 150m you could see Fiftyshadesofgrey had worked its way into the clear and was starting to put in the big bounds. Two Blue held it until the final couple of hops, but Fiftyshadesofgrey finished with huge bounds and got there to nail it on the line in what was the run of the day in my opinion.

Follow: Fiftyshadesofgrey

Specials from the meeting: Reigning, Fiftyshadesofgrey