Three Two-Year-Olds Impress In Three Different States Last Weekend
In South Australia, the Lindsay Park-trained, Shadwell-raced and bred colt Muraahib (Reset) created quite an impression with his debut win in the Two-Year-Old Plate (1050m) at Morphettville.
Steven Arnold made the trip from Victoria to ride the colt and after settling in third place on the rails, Muraahib set out after the talented leader Jolie Rose (Your Song) shortly after turning for home.
After passing the 200 metre point, Muraahib showed his class, drawing clear in the closing stages to score by a length and three quarters in the smart time of 1:01.69 (11.75 200m rate), equivalent to 1000 metre in 58.75 on the Good4 track.
His sectional times were also noteworthy with his final 800 metres in 45.03, last 600 metres in 33.91, last 400 metres in 22.51 with his final 200 metres in 11.47.
Adding merit to his performance was the fact that the runner-up Jolie Rose had staged a similar bold effort when second on debut at Morphettville to the promising Tony McEvoy-trained, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Al Maktoum-raced filly Roomooz (Fastnet Rock) in a Two-Year-Old Plate (1000m) on 7 January.
Muraahib looks a quality colt with a good future.
In Queensland, Paradis Imperial (Instinction), a filly from the Tony McMahon stable in Rockhampton, a winner of her first four starts in Northern Queensland, made an impressive metropolitan debut in the QTIS Two-Year-Old Handicap (1000m) at Eagle Farm and remains unbeaten after five starts.
Purchased at the 2016 Magic Millions March Yearling Sale for only $9,000, Paradis Imperial was quickly away from her inside barrier and went straight to the front.
She then settled particularly well, covering her first 400 metres in 25.09 before sprinting clear on turning for home.
Paradis Imperial then went on to score decisively by two and a half lengths in a smart overall time of 58.79, dashing home her last 600 metres in a fast 33.70.
In New South Wales, the James Cummings-trained filly Exceeds (Snitzel) followed her encouraging debut fourth to talented Chris Waller-trained filly From Within (Not A Single Doubt) in a Two-Year-Old Plate (1100m) at Canterbury on 31 December with a very good win at Randwick.
Racing without blinkers on this occasion, she was eased to settle in sixth place, behind the favourite Eden Roc (Star Witness). After getting to the front at the 200 metres, Exceeds drew clear in the latter stages to score by three-quarters of a length in the good time of 58.20 on the Soft5 track.
Clocked from the 800 metre point, Exceeds returned 200 metre sections of 10.67, 11.01 (400m in 21.68), 11.21 (600m in 32.89) with her final 200 metres in 11.75 to give Exceeds an impressive 44.64 for her final 800 metres.
The runner up, the Team Hawkes-trained, Alan Bell-raced colt Eden Roc, who had impressed in barrier trials, still showed inexperience on debut before fighting for second after seeming to have every chance over the latter stages.
Eden Roc’s sectional times were good with his last 800 metres in 44.94, last 600 metres in 34.32 and final 400 metres in 23.28. The attractive colt should benefit from his first raceday outing.
Another juvenile to take the eye in an interesting two-year-old race at Randwick was the Godolphin-raced colt Watchdog (Helmet).
He was slow to move, was last in the nine-horse field at the 600 metres before making good ground in the closing stages for sixth, beaten just under three and a half lengths, looking suited to longer distances.
Watchdog was timed to run his last 800 metres in a quick 44.84, last 600 metres in 34.31, last 400 metres in 23.31 and he is a colt to watch.
Trainer James Cummings then made it a race-to-race double when his consistent Gooree Stud-raced three-year-old gelding Tactical Advantage (Bel Esprit) took out the Wilkes Quality (1000m).
After travelling in third place, Tactical Advantage came with a late run to overhaul the leader Spending To Win (Snitzel), who had looked the likely winner when holding a clear advantage in the straight, to win by a half-neck in the quick time of 57.58.
In a small but talented field of three-year-olds, Tactical Advantage was timed to run his final 800 metres in a fast 43.98, last 600 metres in 33.09 with his last 400 metres in 22.11.
Now the winner of three of his five starts, Tactical Advantage has been somewhat underrated but this win confirmed that he is certainly capable of Group success.
The runner up Spending To Win also went well. Having only his fifth start, the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained colt ran quick mid-race sectional times and his narrow defeat was full of merit.
He led and returned 200 metre sections (from the 800m point) of 10.84, 10.99 (400m in 21.83), 10.83 (600m in 32.66) with his last 200 metres in 11.58 to give Spending To Win a fast final 800 metre time of 44.28.
The third-placed colt Guard Of Honour (Northern Meteor) also deserves highlighting.
The Kris Lees-trained colt, a winner of two of his four prior starts, was favourite despite having not raced since fourth in the Brian Crowley Stakes (Listed, 1200m) at Randwick on 15 October.
After being ridden quietly in the early stages, Guard Of Honour was still back in second last place in the six-horse field at the home turn and he did well under his top weight (59kg) in making late ground for third.
Guard Of Honour impressed on the watch, clocking his last 800 metres in 43.89, last 600 metres in 32.98 with his last 400 metres in 22.16, confirming his quality.
One to catch the eye was the Clarry Conners-trained colt On The Spot (Beneteau) who made late ground after missing the start and coming from the tail of the field to finish fifth.
On The Spot was timed to run his last 800 metres in 43.99, last 600 metres in 32.95 and last 400 metres in 22.16 and is a horse to watch.
In the main race of the day, the Carrington Stakes (Listed, 1400m) the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained seven-year-old gelding Ecuador (High Chaparral) put up a very solid effort in carrying his 61 kilogram top weight to victory.
Now the winner of both starts this preparation, Ecuador settled nicely in third place on the rails, prior to getting through on the inner to take the lead with 200 metres left to run.
He then showed gameness in holding of the late-finishing Shiraz (Zariz) to score by three quarter lengths in the smart time of 1:22.51.
Ecuador’s sectional times were also good with his last 1200 metres clocking 1:08.90, last 1000 metres 57.65, last 800 metres 45.99, last 600 metres 34.41 with his final 200 metres in 22.90.
While the last word goes to the Matthew Dale-trained Super Star Bob (Mossman) who indicated potential beyond the usual Highway Handicap, Class 2 (1200m) winner.
Having only his second race start, the three-year-old came from back in ninth place to score a soft win in a time of 1:10.53, clocking an impressive 56.63 for his final 1000 metres. He is a horse to watch.