Racing was at FLEMINGTON on Saturday. The track went from GOOD-4 to SOFT-5 through the day and again we have to be very cautious using relative times on the day for this very reason.
Rail came back to the TRUE off an unprecedented ‘straight-track meeting’ the Sunday prior with rail out. The meeting prior the rail was at 9m. So, there was this protected ground inside and there seemed to be an advantage early in the day to those on-speed/ inside.
There was also a school of thought that with said rain during the day, the ground out wider was 'holding the moisture’ for longer? Senior riders did say they felt the better ground was inside. Worth noting, the last two winners on day did swoop from back, off that inside section, but were nowhere near the middle of the track.
Did things level out? Was the early pattern over-exaggerated by punters and riders?
Time will tell I guess.
Run of the Day
Punters voted for ALLIGATOR BLOOD with 58% of the vote, easily clear of GYTRASH with 22% with Sydney filly FLIT in third with 13%.
ALLIGATOR BLOOD led (as advised) and I imagine punter confidence was elevated once on-speed runners Big Parade (early) and Spend (late) were scratched!
He did not go hard up front. His 49.3 1st-800m is slow by G1-2 standards and on the day, he went some 11L slower than the fillies in the G3 Vanity Stakes and some 9L slower than Fox Hall who led the Open Hcp in Race 9.
No surprise these high-class 3yo’s then flew home in some sizzling closing fractions. The winner has run 10.81 / 11.64 home and simply refused to lose with CATALYST (10.76 / 11.63) having sat up second (smart ride) and looked to travel better than said leader/ winner turning yet he could not get by giving away 1kg.
CHENIER was 1st-up at start three and had a lovely trail. He edged off the rail as the two aforementioned stars kicked and lost a length or so. He picked-up and was strong that last 50m (home 10.81/ 11.62) but over the line he was right with them, even edging past them. He will relish a stronger speed, and 1600m you would imagine !!
SOUL PATCH is no 1400m horse and certainly not off this tempo but his late work was lovely. In fact, his 11.57 last 200m was the fastest of any runner all-day and 1/100ths faster than G1 1000m Lighting Stakes winner Gyrash! Overall time: 1-22.61 which was just 0.1 off the fillies despite a massive early speed differential.
The Vanity Stakes was Race 8 and BONVICINI sat back outside with cover and with the strong (47.48 1st-800m) tempo was able to build speed and run over them.
She went 11.34/ 11.95 home and stopped the clock at 1:22.51. We have lined this up with 3yo males already, let’s look at this time versus open class horses.
Galaxy Raider won Race 9 in 1-22.37 off 47.75 1st-800m so, 2L faster early compared to the fillies, slower overall time (reminder: rain during day).
PRETTY BRAZEN had a lovely run off that good speed wide with a trail and joined in nicely but couldn’t hold off the winner. She ran 11.48/ 12.21 home.
MEUSE was also every hope (sat 1-1) and a solid third - she still has upside.
FASCINO kept closing all the way and got home in-between runners (11.47/ 12.20) with KATALIN flashing late after blowing the start (11.48/ 11.95) which looked very costly. She was some 8L off the lead after 50m and has been beaten 2L.
On that Open Hcp Race 9 and GALAXY RAIDER did a great job, he was back last and still way back ridden along on the turn before stretching out beautifully to nail STREETS OF AVALON who had sat up second on that strong (47.75 1st-800m) speed.
STREETS OF AVALON hit the lead a long way out as FOX HALL fainted and the rider nursed him. After booting clear in the straight, he was nailed by one with 5.5kg less.
AMADEUS is always so genuine. He had his chance sitting 1-1 but gave his all going down 0.3L.
EF TROOP was a sound in 4th but others were stronger very late at the 1400m.
ADMIRAL’S JOKER was back and the winner went by him 200m out before he picked-up and surged to the wire running an 11.83 home. (Winner was 11.77).
BLAZEJOWSKI (also so genuine) was next closing off in 11.95. The well-backed STAR MISSILE was the disappointment here.
To the G1 Lightning Stakes and GYTRASH caused the boiler. He tracked REDZEL nearer that inside section and wore him down measuring up very well at WFA. They had a gap on I AM EXCITED on that side. The winner went 11.10/ 11.58 home.
LOVING GABY won the outside race sailing by NATURE STRIP and running 11.00/ 11.77 home, she had 2L on him on the line so turned around some 6L on Nature Strip from Spring.
Does she win if the track is even and they all raced together? A question without an answer I am afraid.
What do we make of NATURE STRIP who, on times and measures, on straight track form, looked unbeatable (insert emoji of the guy with his hand in the air). He raced well below his best… Why? It is a mystery.
Many of us have been in this game long enough to know any athlete can have an off day but all the reports pre-race, all the trials, all the jump outs told us he was a different horse now, a more seasoned, mature horse who is relaxing in his work… Well, I guess this is why he will never be a champion, as he has too many of ‘’these’’ days… Time: 57.53 off 23.92 1st-400m.
The Talindert was Race 3 for 2yo’s and all the action was near the inside rail. Winner OLE KIRK was on debut and sat-in off-speed near the inside then gained room between NITROUS (seemed to settle much better) and MILDRED (so genuine) and ran by them.
AMISH BOY was a close-up 4th but had his chance.
TOSCANINI best work was late, he needs 1400m it seems, his 12.19 home was bettered only by the winner’s 11.92.
This race rated through the roof last year with Microphone winning it, this year, they ran 1-4.66 off 30.03 1st-500m so certainly nothing elite here. Concede winner has a stack of upside and, there were many forgive runs though…
The Forgive File
STARS OF CARRUM (did enough/ nothing swooped early),
RIVER NIGHT (respiratory / tongue issues?),
ALWAYS CHATTIN’ (all at sea out there),
MR CASHMAN (wrong spot/ too bad to be true),
TANIKO (needed room tick earlier - stiff),
GOLDEN HALO (poor recovery),
HUSSON EAGLE (thumps),
TOFANE (faced breeze up middle - no guide),
KATALIN (blew start badly - costly!),
LUNAR LIGHT (not much room),
REFLECTIVITY (internal bleed).
Randwick Racing Review
In Sydney it was RANDWICK and track was rated a SOFT-7 through the day. Rail was out 6m. Most winners led or had a gun trail. It was tough running on out wide however, hard on inside rail was not the A-ground either. Add to all this, how many missed key lead-up work given the big wet. Not sure I’d be drawing too many major conclusions this day!
Run of the Day
Off the votes it was FLIT who returned with blinkers on, was able to possie up much closer than her last fresh run (when thrashed by Libertini) and surged to the lead holding near 2L margin on the line over LYRE who ran on very nicely from off-midfield inside (but was well off rail).
Winner ran 34.6 last 600m then 11.3/ 11.92 home, whilst the runner-up was 34.46 (11.2 / 11.91).
KIAMICHI held third after leading and she did scoot a bit early then studied. She went 35.14 1st-600m. Was beaten 150m out but battled well to keep third from LIBERTINI who was 3-wide early before easing back for cover, she peeled out 4L away and kept closing (11.25/ 12.10) without threat. Sure, she was not in an A-spot but EMERALDS was also out there, she was further back and wider, and they virtually crossed the line together so, have to say off that, she was disappointing.
EMERALDS was $51 so there was a much bigger differential in expectation, and has run very well (so, the great question - they are very similar runs - Why is one ‘’disappointing’’ and one ‘’good’’ ???). An age-old debate. Emeralds went 34.6 (11.23/ 11.98 home). They gapped the rest. Time: 1-10.17 so they have gone faster than quality older mares in a Triscay Stakes despite a slower early tempo… Did we mention the quality of the 3yo’s yet this year…???
The Triscay Stakes was Race 9 and also at 1200m. Lead-speed was a slick 34.62 with SWEET DEAL running along, she left the rail, and just left running! Safe to say she is even better suited on drier ground so she may be in for an exceptional prep! Her time was 1-10.29 so, yeah, slower than 3yo filly Flit despite running 3L faster early.
SPIRITUAL PURSUIT had rails trail being leader/ winner and battled well in there despite racing a bit too close to that inside rail for my liking.
POHUTUKAWA was the best closer, still a mile back turning she made very good late ground and her 12.19 last 200m was bettered only by that of NOIRE (way back/ inside/ nice late) who went 12.16.
DAWN DAWN also hit the wire sweetly, that’s two very good runs this prep from her now.
ALIZEE returned to the winner’s list in the G2 Apollo Stakes and you were comfortable early given she found a much better spot (at 1400m) than she did fresh at 1200m, and, given pattern of the day that rails trail position was gold (as long as you could get off rail).
She did that thanks to lovely work form Bowman and proved too classy for DREAMFORCE (sat 2nd/ gave all - is a length better on drier for mine!).
HAPPY CLAPPER sat off them in-between runners, quinella gets away straightening, he attacks the line (as he does) running 11.70 last 200m (same split as Alizee) with VERRY ELLEEGANT from just off midfield, inside, giving ground as leaders kick but then surging late running race-fastest 11.68 last 200m.
Loved her work over the line though, she was running by them after 100m or so. Nice! DANZDANZDANCE came outside (pattern?) and hit the wire in 11.74 so nice work there also.
Sneaky good run here LIFE LESS ORDINARY also (home 11.69 in worst ground). Time: 1-24.1 off 48.99 1st-800m
Race 4 was the Lonhro Plate and SUPREME IDEA with blinkers on and change of tactic (led - she looked a bit timid between runners in Melbourne) and went 23.73 1st-400m then steadied, left the rail and kicked to hold MISSION RIVER (sat 2nd) by 1.3L.
DAME GISELLE was an identical margin back in third, she came from off-pace outside and looked to travel sweetly but doubt she let go fully on Soft-7 track. She broke 11-seconds 400m-to-200m then lead two who were stronger over the last 200m (she went 11.93 - they went 11.8 and 11.88).
TICKET TO RIDE was a semi-distant fourth, no match at all. Time: 58.14.
Race 5 was Southern Cross Stakes and SPECIAL REWARD had the dream run off strong (34.7 1st-600m) speed with those leaders JUNGLE EDGE and ASHLOR at each other. He took over then looked like being swallowed up by CASCADIAN but fancy he just peaked late being 1st-up and having to spend petrol (against pattern) to get into the race after a slow start, great return for him!
Evergreen JUNGLE EDGE held third from ASHLOR only 1.5L away.
DESERT LORD was a bit disappointing for mine. Time: 1-10.02 off a slick 34.7 1st-600m. Oh, no chock CASCADIAN was the sectional star here with 34.49 / 11.13/ 12.05 splits home.
The Forgive File
QUICK SPIN (worked / keen),
RITMICO (too wide),
BALLER (wide no cover),
MYSTIC VEIN (railed/ worst going),
JOR EL (blew start badly),
CASCADIAN (start very costly),
TO YOUR HEALTH (bled),
DOMED (worst ground),
LIBERTINI (wide early/ can forgive),
LIFE LESS ORDINARY (way back/ wrong spot/ went well),
SWEET SCANDAL (wide),
REELEM IN RUBY (mile back/ traffic/ not knocked about - non-event !),