Zaaki warms up for Might And Power
Annabel Neasham doubted whether she would return to Caulfield with Zaaki (Leroidesanimaux), but a gallop at the course has likely changed her mind. Zaaki and stablemate Mo‘unga (Savabeel) galloped at Caulfield yesterday in preparation for Saturday’s Might And Power Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m), with Zaaki – ridden by Jamie Kah – leading home Mo’unga, who looked a little sluggish under Damien Oliver, minus the blinkers which will be worn on Saturday. “Zaaki had his measure before the Underwood [Stakes] and Mo’unga still had his nose in front of him on race day,” Neasham said. “You can never judge Mo’unga on his work. He’s well known for being a pretty lazy trackworker, so it was pleasing to see Zaaki gallop well. I thought 12 months ago, I wasn’t here because of Covid, but certainly from the footage, he didn’t work well and didn’t race as well as we had hoped. I was thinking I would avoid Caulfield with him, but off today’s work Jamie felt he had come on from the Underwood so I’m pretty sure he’ll be lining up on Saturday.” After winning the Underwood Stakes (Gr 1, 1800m) at Sandown last year, Zaaki struck a Good 4 surface when beaten into third place in the Might And Power. This year he is coming off a third-place finish at Sandown and there is the likelihood of a Caulfield track with some give in it, with rain forecast later in the week. Neasham is loath to separate her pair in what is shaping as a dress rehearsal for the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22. “They’re all going to have to turn up at their best to take on Anamoe if he turns up in his best order,” Neasham said. “I’m pretty happy with Zaaki third-up and he’s going to strip fitter, and Mo’unga is fourth-up. They’ll both be there fighting out the finish.”
I’m Thunderstruck to race more prominently
Connections of I’m Thunderstruck (Shocking) are planning on riding the five-year-old closer to the pace in the Might And Power Stakes, after he failed to catch Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) when finishing fast for fourth in the Underwood Stakes “The conversation I had with [Mark] Zahra during the week was that we need to be closer to what’s going on up front. He hasn’t got enough ability to be spotting them six or eight lengths at weight-for-age and trying to pick them up when it’s a bit of a sit-and-sprint up front,” Mick Price, who trains the dual Group 1 winner in partnership with Michael Kent Jnr, told Racing.com. Saturday’s contest will be the second time I’m Thunderstruck has raced over 2000 metres, after finishing sixth of nine in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) back in the autumn. “I suppose there’s a little conversation about how well he gets 2000 metres at weight-for-age in that company,” Price said. “I don’t mind if he gets beat, but he needs to get beat the right way and then we need to be able to say whether he gets the proper 2000 metres or not.”
Clarken set to roll the dice
Will Clarken is set to let Noname Lane (Shamus Award) take a significant step up in grade to contest Saturday’s $1m Toorak Handicap (Gr 1, 1600m) at Caulfield. The six-year-old posted a second successive country cup victory when he led throughout to win Sunday’s Seymour Cup (Listed, 1600m) at Bendigo, his fifth win from his last six starts. “I’m seriously considering it,’’ Clarken told RacingSA. “It’s a big class–rise, but he’s come through the run really well and I think I’ll accept. He’s having a couple of days at Warrnambool at the beach and on the water walker and history shows when you have horses on a quick turnaround, they can either find again or go backwards. It’s a roll of the dice, but worth a shot.” Clarken said going to Caulfield was a preferred option for Noname Lane, who won the Balaklava Cup (Listed, 1600m) before his Seymour Cup success, given that the other race he had in mind would be at Moonee Valley on Cox Plate Day. “The other option for him could be the Crystal Mile at the Valley, but I like him on a bigger, more spacious track,’’ Clarken said. “The Toorak is an interesting race; you’re going to have a short-priced favourite [I Wish I Win] and then a lot of horses at double–figure odds.”
Zoustar filly impresses in trial
Chris Waller looks to have another promising filly by Zoustar (Northern Meteor) on his hands after the unraced three-year-old Kazou shone in a 900-metre barrier trial at Rosehill yesterday. Having finished fourth on her previous trial last month, Kazou was ridden more prominently by Hugh Bowman this time and she quickened nicely to win by six lengths, in a time quicker than that posted by Everest-bound Joyful Fortune (Nicconi) earlier in the session. A $200,000 Inglis Easter purchase from the Coolmore draft for Chris Waller Racing / Mulcaster Bloodstock, Kazou is the first Australian–bred foal for US Group 1–winner Cat Moves (Tale Of The Cat), a mare who left four winners in the US before she died last year.
Giga Kick enters Everest fray
Connections of smart three-year-old Giga Kick (Scissor Kick) have leapt at the opportunity to compete in the $15 million The Everest (1200m) at Randwick, instead of sticking to more familiar scenes in Melbourne. A deal completed on Monday night saw James Harron select Saturday’s Danehill Stakes (Gr 2, 1100m) winner for his slot, having already tasted success with Redzel (Snitzel) in the inaugural running of The Everest in 2017. Unbeaten in four starts, including two wins down the Flemington straight, Giga Kick is rated a $26 chance to win the Randwick feature. The prospect of taking on $2 favourite Nature Strip (Nicconi) may be imposing, but not overwhelming for the former jumps jockey and now Mornington-based trainer Clayton Douglas. “He’s a very versatile horse – he’s won on soft ground, he’s won on dry ground,” Douglas told RSN. “Even the other day, I felt like the horse was going to improve off that (Flemington) run and it is a nice seven–week space between runs, so even though he wasn’t at his top, he was still able to break a class record in the Danehill. He’s on an upward spiral and he’s coming along nicely.” Significantly, Craig Williams will follow Giga Kick to Sydney for the race and miss the Caulfield Cup, also on October 15.
Zapateo in the mix for Godolphin slot
Four-year-old mare Zapateo (Brazen Beau) could put herself in the mix to fill the Godolphin slot in The Everest, with a big run in Saturday’s Northwood Plume Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) at Caulfield. Godolphin’s general manager Vin Cox said the stable wanted to get through Saturday’s meetings before finalising a decision on its slot runner, but confirmed that Zapateo remains a possibility. “She’s a bit of a left-fielder, but she handles rain-affected tracks and Zapateo is a very good sprinter, so she is certainly under some consideration,” he told Racing.com. Paulele (Dawn Approach) and Ingratiating (Frosted) are both set to line up in Saturday’s Schillaci Stakes (Gr 2, 1100m), a race won by Godolphin’s Trekking (Street Cry) in 2019, prior to his finishing third in The Everest seven days later. “That worked quite well for Trekking a few years ago, but I wouldn’t guarantee Paulele will go into The Everest, irrespective of what he does on Saturday,” Cox said. “There are many other options for a colt like him if he is to score a place on our Darley stallion roster. You’ve got to weigh up all those things. The weather and the way the track is playing in Sydney will be huge factors in our decision. Ingratiating has come back well and goes to the Schillaci as well, but he too is a colt.” Cox said that Kementari (Lonhro) is another who remains in the picture for the valuable Randwick sprint.
Shinn to ride Vow And Declare in Caulfield Cup
Vow And Declare (Declaration Of War) will be ridden by Blake Shinn for the first time when the 2019 Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) winner lines up in next week’s Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m). Danny O’Brien moved to secure the service of Shinn with Damian Lane, who has partnered Vow And Declare on each of his last five starts, committed to ride Jacquinot (Rubick) in The Everest at Randwick on the same day. A total of 32 horses remain in contention for the Caulfield Cup, reduced by 16 from the second acceptance stage. Seven Caulfield Cup aspirants hold nominations for Saturday’s Herbert Power Stakes (Gr 2, 2400m) – Persan (Pierro), Tralee Rose (Tavistock), Grand Promenade (Champs Elysees), Emissary (Kingman), Point Nepean (Camelot), Makram (Make Believe) and The Good Fight (High Chaparral) – and should any of those win on the weekend they will be awarded with ballot-free entry into the Caulfield Cup. Last year’s Caulfield Cup third place-getter Persan is the only nominee not required to win the Herbert Power to gain entry into the Cup. Surefire (Fastnet Rock), who finished 11th in last Saturday’s Turnbull Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m), was the highest-profile horse to forfeit from the Caulfield Cup at the third acceptance stage.
Hannan’s champion to continue campaign
Trainers Dan and Ben Pearce have given the go ahead to extend Let’s Galahvant’s (Galah) campaign after his successful exploits in winning the Hannans Handicap (Listed, 1400m) at Kalgoorlie last Thursday. After a 12-start campaign that commenced in May it was intended for Let’s Galahvant to be spelled, but such has been his recovery the Pearce brothers have had a change of heart. “We are going to continue with him,” Ben Pearce told the Races WA. “We were so happy with the way he pulled up. Saturday, we trotted him up and he was sound as a bell. I jumped on him [Monday] morning and he’s jumping out of his skin and feeling good. I have entered him for a 78 plus [over] 1400 metres on Saturday. He gets 59.5 kilograms in that, but can come down with a claim. The other option we were looking at was going a month between runs into the Asian Beau [Stakes]. That’s a handicap, so we get in on the minimum. So, we can run him Saturday and three weeks into that. He’s just kept on improving throughout the prep. We’re happy with him, he’s happy . He’s done a trip to Kalgoorlie and we were looking for signs that he needs the break, but he’s shown us nothing. We’re happy to continue.” The Asian Beau Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) takes place at Ascot on October 29.
Magic Millions show jumping entries open
Magic Millions yesterday launched the Pacific Fair Magic Millions show jumping contest for 2023. Now in its second year, the event, which takes place at Doug Jennings Park on Queensland’s Gold Coast on January 8, will host both a junior individual competition and a senior team contest with a total prize pool of $1 million on offer. For further details and to make an entry click here.
McGillivray fractures fingers in fall
Apprentice Dan McGillivray was one of three riders who suffered falls in races in NSW over the weekend. McGillivray was unseated aboard Roman Hussler (Husson) in the second race at Grafton on Sunday. He was taken to Grafton Hospital, where it was found he had three fractured fingers. On Saturday, jockey Michael Gray and apprentice Jayden Barrie were also hurt in falls. Gray fell from Hoffy’s Dream (Holy Roman Emperor) during the fourth race at Nyngan and was taken to the local hospital for observation. Barrie’s mount, Red Zephyr (Snitzel) reared at the barriers at the Inverell meeting. Barrie was later discharged from Inverell Hospital after suffering mild concussion.