First for Exosphere
Group 1 winner Exosphere (Lonhro) sired his first winner yesterday when the Godolphin homebred Thermosphere (2 f ex Glows by Canny Lad) posted a breakthrough win after two promising efforts. Trained by James Cummings, Thermosphere took out a two-year-old maiden at Newcastle over 1300 metres by a short-head from the favourite Cultural Amnesia (Snitzel). Rock My Wand (Wandjina) was another length and a quarter away in third. Golden Rose Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) winner Exosphere, who has had six runners to date, has four entries at the upcoming Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.
After a credible first-up performance in the CF Orr Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m), James Cummings believes Avilius (Pivotal) will shape up as a “formidable opponent” in tomorrow’s Chipping Norton Stakes (Gr 1, 1600m). “He’s bounced back in tip-top shape from his excellent return at Caulfield a few weeks ago,” Cummings told Racing.com. “There’s a brightness to his eye, he’s swishing his tail and his coat has that sunburnt look that he gets at this time of year. We’re looking at a balance between a swagger and a squeal as he goes onto the track in the morning.”
Te Akau Shark (Rip Van Winkle) will again have to overcome a wide draw when he goes in pursuit of a first elite win on Australian soil in the Chipping Norton Stakes. The Jamie Richards-trained five-year-old will break from barrier 13 tomorrow and the trainer said: “We’re getting used to the bad draws. It’s just part of it. I will leave it up to Opie (Bosson, jockey) a little bit, but he won’t rush him and do much early. He’s a horse that likes to find his feet, even if he ended up three-deep with a bit of cover. He’s got very good form from the spring so if he can run up to that form he should be competitive.”
Hugh Bowman has declared he would not swap his mount Flit (Medaglia D’Oro) for any of her rivals in tomorrow’s Surround Stakes (Gr 1, 1400m) at Randwick. “Funstar has to be respected. She stamped herself as clearly the best filly that raced in Sydney in the spring,” Bowman said. “I would have thought she might have had the wood on Flit in the spring but I’m not sure that will be the case this time. It is a good race but I wouldn’t swap Flit for anything else, even though I do have a healthy respect for them all.”
Peter and Paul Snowden will look to enhance their Golden Slipper Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) hand at Randwick tomorrow when five stablemates of their leading fancy Dame Giselle (I Am Invincible) will attempt to book spots in the $3.5 million contest at Rosehill on March 21. Aim (Star Witness) and debutant Argenteus (Written Tycoon) will contest the Skyline Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m), while Stellar Pauline (Not A Single Doubt), Tilia Rose (Written Tycoon) and possibly Close To Me (I Am Invincible) clash in the Sweet Embrace Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m). “Everyone is trying to get them to a grand final on the day and two-year-olds are just so very hard to keep up for a length of time so it’s all about timing,” Peter Snowden said. “If they win on Saturday they’re in the race, if they don’t win they will need to be running well to think they’re a live chance in a race like the Slipper.”
A Group 1 win is missing from Alligator Blood’s (All Too Hard) growing list of achievements and his trainer David Vandyke hopes that will change when he lines up in a highly- anticipated Australian Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) at Flemington tomorrow. “Group 1s are Group 1s,” Vandyke said. “He’s won a $2 million Magic Millions Guineas and that was fantastic. But to win a Group 1 is the top of the mountain. We get a great opportunity on Saturday. The owners and jockey Ryan Maloney and the horse, they haven’t won a Group 1 as yet. So I’m wanting him to win on Saturday for them as much as myself.”
Vandyke, meanwhile, has tipped The Everest (1200m) and the Golden Eagle (1500m) as the main spring targets for Alligator Blood. “We haven’t taken a slot at this stage and we’re just having some negotiations behind closed doors, nothing confirmed,” Vandyke said of The Everest. “It’s mainly up to Allan Endresz, who is one of the syndicators involved in the horse. He has been negotiating and I’ll leave it up to him to talk about slots and opportunities.”
While all the talk from of the CS Hayes Stakes (Gr 3, 1400m) has been about Alligator Blood and Catalyst (Darci Brahma), Anthony Freedman’s Chenier (Medaglia d’Oro), who finished third in the race first-up after almost a year off, has very much flown under the radar. The trio will again face each other in tomorrow’s Australian Guineas and assistant trainer Sam Freedman couldn’t be happier with the progression of the Godolphin-owned colt. “He was by no means screwed down for his first-up run,” Sam Freedman told Racing.com. “He worked with Damien Oliver on Tuesday morning and went extremely well. We’d probably be happier if they went a better speed in the Guineas than last time. He’s bred to run a strong 1600 metres or even further.”
Dalasan (Dalakhani) will have his fourth rider in as many starts when Jamie Kah takes over the reins in the Australian Guineas. Kah travelled from Melbourne to ride Dalasan in trackwork at Morphettville on Tuesday, after which she recommended the quirky three-year-old should wear a tongue tie. “He’s a bit of a tricky horse and Leon (MacDonald, co-trainer) wanted me to come over and have a sit on him,” Kah said. “He did want to lay in a bit, more he wants to lean in, so Leon wanted me to get a feel for that before the race. I also suggested that they put a tongue tie on him. Because of his laying, it plays around with his tongue and his breathing, so hopefully it can only help.”
Craig Williams believes the removal of blinkers from Soul Patch (Shamus Award) will allow his mount to switch off and power home in the Australian Guineas. The colt is coming off a closing fourth in the C S Hayes and Williams said: “It’s going to be quite tactical, which will be a disadvantage for my horse, but I like the fact they get out to the mile and it might pay dividends for him, especially with that run under the belt. He’s come up with a favourable draw, so he’s going to get every possible chance from there after his first-up run when he closed off nicely. I’m not saying I’m going to overhaul them, but going into the race I’m confident I will give it a shake.”
A brilliant trackwork gallop has boosted the confidence of James Cummings that Pohutukawa (Medaglia D’Oro) can gain a first win in almost a year when she lines up in the Guy Walter Stakes (Gr 2, 1400m) at Randwick tomorrow. The four-year-old finished third on her recent return in the Triscay Stakes (Gr 3, 1200m) and Cummings said: “She was crying out for 1400 (metres) on her return. It’s been a while since she has won a race but we are confident that our patience will be rewarded. If her gallop this week was any better, it would have been a waste.”
Multiple city winner Blazejowski (Dash For Cash) will step up to stakes level for the first time when he runs in tomorrow’s Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (Gr 3, 1400m) at Flemington. Blazejowski won an 1100-metre open handicap at Flemington in the first start of his current campaign last month, before finishing sixth over 1400 metres at the same track where his trainer Greg Eurell believed he had excuses. “I thought his run was good last start,” Eurell said. “He was held in. He was looking for some daylight as they approached the straight. Finally he got out and hit the line pretty good. He needed to have a bit more time to wind up and get into the race. I was quite pleased with the way he did box on in the finish though and he never shirked the task.”
Rothfire (Rothesay) will start one of the shortest priced favourites at a Brisbane metropolitan meeting in years in The Jewel Prelude (C&G) (1110m) at Doomben tomorrow and his backers will be buoyed by the news that trainer Robert Heathcote believes the juvenile is getting better all the time. “I have been monitoring him daily through my staff and I have some bad news for anyone who was hoping he has gone backwards since Eagle Farm,” Heathcote said of the easy last time out winner. “If anything he has taken another step up. His work on Tuesday morning was very strong. He has won two of his starts by big margins but in his other win he had to show a lot of courage to beat a pretty smart filly in Gotta Kiss. He had to climb off the canvas to beat her and that is the mark of a good horse.”
The prospect of a wet track at Doomben gives Miss Cavallo (Nicconi) the chance of an upset win in tomorrow’s The Jewel Prelude (F) (1110m). The three-year-old is a noted wet-track horse and is unbeaten in two starts on soft tracks, including a Doomben win as a juvenile. “She likes the Doomben track and distance and she has won first-up,” trainer Michael Nolan said. Doomben has been soaked in the past month and is in the soft range after showers this week. Further rain is predicted with up to 15 millimetres expected tomorrow.
Eric The Eel (Olympic Glory) will wear blinkers for the first time when he races at Doomben tomorrow as a final trial for a trip to Sydney where he could take in the likes of the Rosehill Guineas (Gr 1, 2000m) and Australian Derby (Gr 1, 2400m). The gelding ran well in an unofficial trial when second to Alligator Blood before resuming with a sixth at Eagle Farm over 1200 metres last Saturday week. Trainer Stuart Kendrick was happy with the comeback run but is looking for further improvement. “He had barrier 15 and he had no choice but to go back to near last at Eagle Farm. He finished well along the fence to be in a four-way photo finish for third,” Kendrick said. “But he would need to take another step to head to Sydney. The blinkers at this stage of his career should switch him on.”
David Brideoake’s Group 1-winning mare Princess Jenni (High Chaparral) will kick-off her campaign next Saturday before targeting the Sunline Stakes (Gr 2, 1600m) second-up at Moonee Valley on March 20 with options open to press on to Sydney. “This has been our program all along, to step out Saturday week and then we will go to the Sunline, a Group 2 at The Valley and then weigh it up,” Brideoake told Racing.com. “She has been very good at The Valley, she’s had some good wins there. So, second-up is good, her second-up record is very good.”
Glen Boss will ride Bivouac (Exceed And Excel) for the first time when the three-year-old colt lines up in the Newmarket Handicap (Gr 1, 1200m) at Flemington next Saturday. With Craig Williams choosing to stick with the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained filly Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible), James Cummings has snapped up the services of Boss. Loving Gaby is the $4.50 favourite with the TAB, followed by Exceedance (Exceed And Excel) at $5. Bivouac and Gytrash (Lope De Vega) are both on the $6 line.
Mike Moroney has Harlech (Darci Brahma) in line for a start in next Saturday’s Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) but a gallop in New Zealand tomorrow morning will help determine whether the colt makes the trip across the Tasman. “He’s in the Randwick Guineas and he’s booked to fly on Tuesday to run,” Moroney said. “But we’re going to do a bit with him on Saturday. He’s had a bit of a break and he’s got behind a little bit and if he doesn’t work well enough we won’t come over. He disappointed in the Karaka Mile and just pulled up really tired so we gave him a quick break. It’s just whether we’re happy with him and if not we’ll put him in the paddock and wait for the four-year-old season.”
Million dollar filly Enood (Deep Impact) got off the mark at the seventh time of asking when swooping late to take out an 1100-metre maiden at Kilmore yesterday. The Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained three-year-old beat Bethpage (Reward For Effort) by half a head, with Groovy Kinda Love (Smart MIssile) a further length and a quarter away in third. Purchased out of the Arrowfield draft for $1 million at the 2018 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Enood is a half-sister to the Listed winner Manhattan Street (Manhattan Rain), being out of the Redoute’s Choice (Danehill) mare Charming Estelle.
German Group 1 winner Nancho (Tai Chi) is set to join the stables of Anthony Cummings after being purchased by Tried and True Bloodstock for an undisclosed sum. “What he has done in Germany against the best horses available, plus English runners from Ralph Beckett’s stable (Manuela De Vega and Antonia De Vega) and Ashrun, who had French Group-winning form, was just outstanding,” Holger Faust of HFTB Racing, who brokered the deal, told Horse Racing Planet. “He has done all his winning over different tracks and different distances from firm ground, to very heavy, to all-weather, and from 1600 metres up to 2400 metres, so for me he is like a monster, an extraordinary horse. In my opinion he could be a Melbourne Cup horse. He was one of the best horses to run in Germany.”
The 2020 Magic Millions National Sale series has been boosted with news that the Stud and Stable Staff Awards will be held on the Gold Coast in late May. The event, which recognises those who work behind the frontline across the thoroughbred industry, will be held on Sunday, May 24 at the Gold Coast Turf Club. The Stud and Stable Staff Awards are judged in seven categories: dedication to racing; dedication to breeding; leadership; horsemanship; administrative and ancillary services; thoroughbred care and welfare, and a newcomers award. The awards provide total prize-money in excess of $100,000 spread over the individual categories, plus an overall thoroughbred excellence award. Nominations will close at midnight on Friday, March 13 and can be completed online via the Stud and Stable Staff Awards website at www.studandstablestaffawards.com.au
Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) day turnover fell 10 per cent year-on-year to $60 million, continuing a downward trend over the summer months. The Melbourne Racing Club reported a slight uplift in turnover (0.4 per cent) on CF Orr Stakes day, but that was largely attributed to Sydney racing being abandoned, with Saturday’s Blue Diamond results being a sign of current wagering trends. The crowd on Blue Diamond day was 10,444, which was down five per cent on 2019. MRC CEO Josh Blanksby told Racing.com: “We had a bumper year in 2018/19 with turnover up 14 per cent and we’re cycling through some big comparisons year-on-year. $60 million on Blue Diamond is still a cracking day.” The results come on the back of wagering turnover during last year’s feature Caulfield Cup Carnival falling 17 per cent year-on-year. Blanksby confirmed that the dip in turnover isn’t isolated: “The industry standard for turnover through this season is six to seven per cent down.”