On The Watch

Roheryn beaten for the first time in three starts but produces brilliant sectional times

Again ridden quietly by Josh Parr, Roheryn remained in last place in the seven-horse field until turning for home, the colt then making considerable late ground for second without threatening the winner Chess Star (Fighting Sun) who scored by just over two lengths.

His ride created quite some controversy, mainly due to Parr’s manager tweeting pre-race that he felt Roheryn was poor value at odds of $1.50 as the colt would be back in last place and suggested the likely leader and subsequent winner Chess Star was much better value at $9.50.

Roheryn had won when ridden in a similar patient manner at Rosehill on November 3, coming from last in a field of five to win over 1200 metres.

On Saturday, the colt was racing over a shorter trip in the Three-Year-Old Members’ Sprint (1100m) and the winner staged a brilliant front-running effort, emphasised by his sectional breakdown.

Chess Star worked to lead and then (from the 1000m), ran 200 metre sections of 10.81, 11.22 (400m in 22.03), 11.01 (600m in 33.04), 10.92 (800m in 43.96) with his final 200 metres in 11.38 for a brilliant last 1000 metre time of 55.34.

But ironically, the focus post-race was more on the defeat of the runner-up than the winner.

It was Chess Star’s first start since winning the St Albans Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Moonee Valley when having his third race start and that, supported by his excellent win on Saturday, suggests that the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained colt was deserving of more credit.

And while that colt looks to have a bright future, On The Watch feels Roheryn has the makings of a high quality horse that is likely to come into his own when stepped up to 1400 and 1600 metres.

This column highlighted Roheryn’s times when he won at his prior start, the colt clocking 55.96 for his final 1000 metres – but he went faster in defeat on Saturday being timed to run his final 1000 metres in an outstanding 55.14.

Roheryn’s full sectional times were: 55.14 (last 1000m), 43.55 (last 800m), 32.35 (last 600m) and 21.43 (last 400m).

A feature of those times being his 200 metre breakdown for his final 600 metres – 10.92, 10.59 and 10.84.

Another promising young horse to take the eye on the watch on Saturday was the Mick Price-trained filly Steal My Kisses (I Am Invincible), who staged a very good effort on debut in winning the Merson Cooper Stakes (Listed, 1000m) at Sandown Hillside.

She needed to work hard to overcome a wide barrier and after leading at a strong mid-race tempo, Steal My Kisses showed her quality in fighting back to score by just under a length in the smart time of 58.21.

But her sectional times were the feature, with Steal My Kisses (from the 800 metres) clocking: 10.70, 11.02 (400m in 21.72), 11.02 (600m in 32.74) and 12.02 to give her a very quick final 800 metres in 44.76.

And worth highlighting was that fast mid-race 600 metre split of 32.74 – for a two-year-old filly to clock that after working beforehand and still fight back so well to win on her first start indicates that Steal My Kisses is clearly a young filly to watch.

But that will not be until the autumn as Mick Price subsequently advised that Steal My Kisses would now be spelled and aimed at bigger targets with the benefit of more maturity.

The feature race, the Sandown Guineas (Gr 2, 1600m) saw the Darren Weir-trained colt Ringerdingding (Sebring) cap a great run for his new stable in storming home to score, clocking quick closing times in the process.

Settling well in tenth for John Allen, Ringerdingding then came home so strongly that he scored by just under a length at the post, clocking 45.94 (last 800m), 34.00 (last 600m), with his final 400 metres in a quick 22.52.

In the Zipping Classic (registered as Sandown Classic) (Gr 2, 2400m), The Taj Mahal (Galileo) and Dal Harraild (Champs Elysees) had a great battle with the former scoring by the narrowest of margins – that pair staging solid staying performances.

Time for the 2400 metres was 2:31.52 (12.62 200m rate), the pace really stepping up for the final 1000 metres that saw the winner clock 59.50 and the runner-up 59.72.

Meanwhile, some of the fastest closing sectionals of the day were recorded in the following race, the Doveton Stakes (Listed, 1000m).

A very fast mid-race pace that resulted in the 600 metres (from the 800m to the 200m) being run in 32.20, saw the placegetters come from back in the field to fight out a close finish.

The winner Malibu Style (Magnus) clocking 43.92 (last 800m), 33.32 (last 600m) and 22.40 (last 400m) and the runner-up Bons Away (Bon Hoffa) 43.48 (last 800m), 32.88 (last 600m) with his final 200 metres in 22.20.

But the quickest closing sectionals were recorded by the John McArdle-trained I’ll Have A Bit (Smart Missile), that mare coming from last in the 13-horse field for a close-up third.

I’ll Have A Bit was timed to run her last 800 metres in 43.20, last 600 metres in 32.70 with her final 400 metres in 22.08.

She was having her second start since a successful trip to Adelaide in May where I’ll Have A Bit won the Euclase Stakes (Gr 2, 1200m) and was a close third behind Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega) in The Goodwood (Gr 1, 1200m).

I’ll Have A Bit now travels to Perth for the Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Ascot on Saturday week and she is an underrated mare with a great turn of foot, who is worth watching despite the rise in class.