Performer makes impressive debut in taking out Breeders’ Plate
The Chris Waller-trained colt Performer (Exceed And Excel) looks set for a very bright future after making an impressive debut in taking out the Breeders’ Plate (Listed, 1000m) in race record time at Randwick on Saturday.
After a slow beginning, Performer improved along the rails from his good barrier (two) and settled in fifth place, back about five lengths from a strong tempo.
Hugh Bowman then brought him with a well-timed run in the straight and after taking the lead on passing the 100m, the colt drew clear to score comfortably by almost a length.
Performer won in a very fast 56.82, which took 0.18 seconds off the previous race record of 57.00 set by Murtajill (Rock Of Gibraltar) in 2006.
In addition, Performer’s sectional times were outstanding, even taking into account that fast times were again the order of the day at Randwick.
Clocked from the 800 metres, Performer ran 200 metre sections of 10.42, 10.79 (400m in 21.21), 10.77 (600m in 31.98) with his last 200 metres in 11.32 to give him a very fast final 800 metres in 43.30.
The win marked a clear change in direction by the leading trainer Chris Waller, who previously bypassed racing juveniles to the degree that he would delay their introduction to racing until nearing the end of the season, often targeting the Queensland Winter Carnival.
Waller has now taken out the first two-year-old race of the season and he has done that very impressively, so much so that Performer’s debut indicated that he has the potential that he may be able to provide the stable with their first Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) winner.
Later in the Randwick program, the Premiere Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) saw a number of contenders for The Everest (1200m) have their final lead up to Saturday week’s $10,000,000 race.
Ironically, the winner In Her Time (Time Thief) has not secured a slot for The Everest with three confirmed runners, English (Encosta De Lago), Clearly Innocent (Not A Single Doubt) and Chautauqua (Encosta De Lago) finishing behind that Benjamin Smith-trained mare.
But all three enhanced their prospects with strong performances on the watch.
Firstly, time for the race was a fast 1:08.20 and that was only 0.14 seconds outside of the track record, which was set by another runner in The Everest in Deploy (Fastnet Rock) in taking out the Show County Quality (Gr 3, 1200m) on 19 August.
The fast tempo throughout the Premiere Stakes resulted in impressive closing sectional times with English returning some of the quickest.
English (second) ran her final 1000 metres in 54.06, last 800 metres in 43.33, last 600 metres in 32.37 with her last 400 metres in 21.67.
Clearly Innocent (third) ran his final 1000 metres in 54.45, last 800 metres in 43.77, last 600 metres in 32.90 with his last 400 metres in 22.09.
Chautauqua (sixth) ran his final 1000 metres in 54.27, last 800 metres in 43.66, last 600 metres in 32.66 with his last 400 metres in 21.61.
That all goes to make the inaugural The Everest an intriguing race, the quality field of 12 being the best sprinters currently available in this part of the world and accordingly it is likely to be run at a breakneck pace.
On The Watch still believes the six-time Group One winning sprinter Chautauqua, who featured in this column recently, is still the horse to beat especially at weight-for-age and with the likelihood of a hectic tempo – conditions that will naturally suit his renowned brilliant final charge.
Saturday’s Randwick meeting also saw the running of one of its most famous races, the Epsom Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) with success going the way of a popular winner in Happy Clapper (Teofilo).
Previously placed four times in Group One races, Happy Clapper also gave local trainer Pat Webster his first win at that level and the winner provided a performance worthy of those achievements.
Carrying top weight of 57 kilograms, Happy Clapper was given a great trip by Blake Shinn, racing back in third place behind a very strong pace, which saw the leader Red Excitement (Excites) clock a fast mid-race 1000 metre section of 56.79 (from the 1400m to the 400m).
Happy Clapper went to the front from the tiring leader shortly after turning for home and he then dug deep in holding off Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas), whom he conceded five kilograms, to score by half a length.
Time for 1600 metre journey was a fast 1:33.17 and that was only 0.04 seconds outside of the track record of 1:33.13, set by Ike’s Dream (Galileo) in winning the 2004 Villiers Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m).
Happy Clapper was timed to run his final 1400 metres in 1:19.32, last 1200 metres in 1:08.14, last 1000 metres in 56.69, last 800 metres in 45.16, last 600 metres in 33.87 with his final 400 metres in 22.48.
Another to record fast final sectional times was the Chris Waller-trained mare Foxplay (Foxwedge) who came from last after being ridden back in the field from her outside barrier (ten). She then ran on really well for a very good fourth, beaten just over three lengths.
Foxplay was timed to run her final 1400 metres in 1:19.12, last 1200 metres in 1:07.80, last 1000 metres in 56.29, last 800 metres in 44.84, last 600 metres in 44.84, last 600 metres in 33.63 with her final 400 metres in 22.33.
A winner of the Queen Of The Turf Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at Randwick in April, Foxplay has returned in top form with placings behind Winx (Street Cry) in the Warwick Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) and George Main Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) at her two prior starts since resuming – Saturday’s effort again confirming she looks primed for another run at the elite level this preparation.
While final word goes to the Godolphin-raced filly Alizee (Sepoy) who has excelled with brilliant wins since being ridden off the pace by Glyn Schofield at her latest two starts.
And Saturday’s victory in taking out the Flight Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m) was a career highlight, with Alizee sprinting brilliantly from the tail of the field to score very easily in a most impressive performance in a time of 1:34.83.
Alizee was timed to run her final 1400 metres in 1:20.21, last 1200 metres in 1:08.57, last 1000 metres in 56.37, last 800 metres in 44.50, last 600 metres in 33.18 with her final 400 metres 22.16.
She has now been promoted to clear favouritism for the Thousand Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) on Saturday week and Alizee heads to Caulfield with strong prospects of winning her second Group One feature.
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