On The Watch

Two-Year-Olds Cao Cao and Serena Bay’s Times Suggest They Have Bright Futures

The Mick Price-trained Cao Cao was having his second race start after a good debut when second in the Maribyrnong Plate (Gr 3, 1000m) at Flemington on 5 November.

After settling in fifth place, he moved up well rounding the home turn before racing away over the closing stages to take out the Two-Year-Old Plate (1000m) easily by two and three quarter lengths in the smart time of 58.69.

Clocked from the 800 metres, Cao Cao ran 200 metre sections of 10.74, 11.63 (400m in 22.37), 11.40 (600m in 33.77) with his last 200 metres in 11.57 to give him a quick final 800 metre time of 45.34.

Price subsequently announced that Cao Cao, a $350,000 purchase by Sun Racing at the 2016 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sales, will bypass the Magic Millions 2YO Classic (RL, 1200m) in January to focus on the Blue Diamond Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m) at Caulfield in February.

At Rosehill, the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained filly Serena Bay only held on to win the Golden Gift (1100m) by the barest of margins but her mid-race fractions confirmed that the winning margin belied her strong effort.

Having her second start after an easy win in a Two-Year-Old Maiden Handicap (900m) at Kembla a fortnight prior, Serena Bay began well and soon crossed to the front.

She then travelled a bit keenly before being pressured approaching the home turn. Serena Bay then fought back to gain a clear break and to defeat the late closing Team Hawkes-trained colt Reflectivity (All Too Hard) by a nose.

Clocked from the 1000 metres point, Serena Bay returned 200 metre sections of 10.70, 11.45 (400m in 22.15), 11.41 (600m in 33.56), 11.33 (800m in 44.89) with her last 200 metres in 11.90 to give her a fast final 1000 metre time of 56.79.

Noteworthy was the fact that Serena Bay clocked a fast 800 metres in 44.89 (from the 1000m to the 200m) but still had enough in hand to win.

Serena Bay, a $200,000 purchase by Gai Waterhouse Racing and Julian Blaxland at the 2016 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale in Sydney, will now be aimed at the $500,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Randwick on 17 December.

The effort of the runner up Reflectivity is also deserving of mention. He had settled back in fourth place before coming with a late run to just miss, a debut win being likely if he had not raced greenly over the closing stages, in the process clocking an even faster last 1000 metre time of 56.50.

Another to impress on the watch on Saturday was the promising Desleigh Forster-trained four-year-old Cylinder Beach (Showcasing) who scored an impressive first up win in the Recognition Stakes (Listed, 1400m) at Eagle Farm.

After settling back near last in the 17-horse field, Cylinder Beach responded to riding from the 600 metres to overpower his rivals in the latter stages to score comfortably by a length and a half in a time of 1:23.48 for the 1400 metres, looking suited to further still.

Racing on a Soft5 track, Cylinder Beach was timed to run his final 1000 metres in 58.36, last 800 metres in 46.58, last 600 metres in 34.40, last 400 metres in 23.14 with his final 200 metres in 11.96.

Earlier in the Eagle Farm program, the five-year-old Elegant Composure (Bradbury’s Luck) took out the Colin McAlpine Memorial Classic (Listed, 1200m) but it was the effort of the runner up Private Secretary (Husson) that impressed on the watch.

After being eased from her outside barrier (14) she remained in last place in the 14-horse field to the home turn before a late-closing and unlucky second, beaten a length.

Private Secretary’s sectional times were quite exceptional on the Soft6 track with her last 800 metre clocking 44.88, last 600 metres 33.52, last 400 metres 22.46 with her final 200 metres in 11.46.

Feature racing last weekend was in Perth with the running of the Winterbottom Stakes (Gr 1, 1200m), success going to the progressive Gary Moore-trained sprinter Takedown (Stratum) who maintained his consistent form with a career highlight in taking out this Group One race.

After racing outside the leader Sheidel (Holy Roman Emperor), Takedown showed courage in proving superior to score by a long head in a time of 1:10.27 on the Good4 track.

A feature of the win was Takedown’s mid-race sectional times.

After running his first 400 metres in 24.19, Takedown then returned 200 metre sections of 10.88, 11.64 and 11.52 to give him a quick 600 metres (from the 800m to the 200m) in 34.04. He then clocked 12.04 to give him a final 800 metre time of 46.08.

In the Tattersall’s Cup (Listed, 2100m) the six-year-old gelding Respondent (Haradasun) was a surprise winner in taking out his first race since the WATC Derby (Gr 2, 2400m) at Ascot in April 2014 with a last-stride nose success.

Having his third run for new trainer Fred Kersley, Respondent’s times, however, suggested that his win far from a fluke as he now heads to the Perth Cup (Gr 2, 2400m) at Ascot on 31 December.

Respondent came from well back in eighth place to win and in doing so clocked quick closing sectionals with his last 1000 metres in 58.74, last 800 metres in 45.92, last 600 metres in 34.50, last 400 metres in 22.90 with his final 200 metres in 11.42 – impressive times at the end of a 2100 metre journey.