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Daily News | 9th July 2020
NEW Sixties Groove Wins Listed Grafton CupThursday, 9th July 2020
- Track: Grafton
- Race: $200,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m)
- Winner: 7YO gelding Sixties Groove (Sixties Icon-Gift Dancer, by Imperial Dancer)
- Placings: 5YO gelding The Lord Mayor & 7YO gelding Carzoff
- Winning Sire: Sixties Icon (Galileo-Love Divine, by Deisis)
- Stud Farm: Norman Court Stud
- Trainer: Kris Lees
- Jockey: Jason Collett
- Race record: 8 wins and 8 placings from 29 starts for $865,636 in earnings
- Sales Info: £80,000 yearling at the 2014 Tattersalls October Sale Book 2
- Vendor: Ballyhane
NEW Kosciuszko Favourite Returns to Base CampThursday, 9th July 2020In a blow for pre-post backers, Kosciuszko favourite Snitz has been sent to the spelling paddock by his trainer Matt Dunn. The long-time chalk for the lucrative $1.3 million feature run on The Everest card was an easing favourite for Wednesday’s Listed Ramornie Handicap at Grafton and subsequently put in a sub par run even though there were extenuating circumstances. Well positioned to capitalise off the fence from third place when a gap appeared between Boomtown Lass and Jonker, Snitz wasn’t quick enough to fill the hole and subsequently had the door shut only to find a wall of horses in front of him and nowhere to go. Forced to ease as a result by Matthew McGuren, his ninth of thirteen looks far worse than it actually was. Beaten only 0.7-lengths by Classique Legend in the Listed June Stakes (1100m) at Randwick a month ago, Snitz hasn’t had an arduous campaign this time in, and it’s a shame he won’t be at Randwick in October. Strong rumours persist that Dunn will have full-time stables in Sydney shortly, in which case Snitz would have been ruled out anyway. His consequent withdrawal by Stewards from Kosciuszko markets following Dunn’s decision was the right thing to do for punters moving forward.
Snitz (pic: Steve Hart)
NEW Hopes Knight Mariner Can Claim GuineasThursday, 9th July 2020Exciting 3YO Knight Mariner (Tavistock-Soltina, by O’Reilly) will run in the Gr3 Winx Guineas over 1600m at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday, and his trainer Tony Gollan says the gelding is ready, reports racingqueensland.com.au. The Winx Guineas was previously named the Sunshine Coast Guineas and was renamed after the champion mare who won the race in 2015. “This is his toughest test and it’s a big step up,” Gollan said. “It was a good win at Ipswich but it wasn’t Saturday grade. We were aiming him for the summer staying races when he needed surgery to remove a bone chip. I thought he was the right type for the Queensland Derby but when it was scrapped, we just took our time with him.” Gollan has his seventh Brisbane trainer’s premiership sewn up with 104.5 winners thus far this season. Knight Mariner has won his last two races in succession, having previously placed twice from his first three starts, to make his record two wins from five starts. He was purchased by Tony Gollan and John Foote Bloodstock for NZ$240,000 at the New Zealand Bloodstock 2YO Sale.
NEW Darain Debut Worth The Wait in GoldThursday, 9th July 2020It’s been a long time coming, but 2018’s uber expensive Tattersalls Yearling Sale Book-1 sale-topper Darain (Dubawi-Dar Re Mi, by Singspiel) has finally hit the racecourse, with UK bookies wishing he hadn’t. Despite his pedigree suggesting he’d be a sprinter-miler, the 3.5 million guineas (approximately A$7 million) yearling made his debut at Newbury on Wednesday. Owned by Qatar Racing and his breeder Watership Downs Stud (Andrew and Madeleine Lloyd Webber), Darain was sent to post a $3 chance for trainer John Gosden over 10 furlongs. By the time the field passed the winning post it was clear the price was a gift; the blueblood finished almost 5-lengths clear of his rivals. A full-brother to Darley’s Champion European 2YO and exceptional 3YO Too Darn Hot as well as to Gr1-placed Group winners Lah Ti Dar and So Mi Dar, Darain’s pedigree is literally dripping in purple-tinged breeding royalty and as deep as the Kimberley hole. The cliché ‘an embarrassment of riches’ is, for once, woefully inadequate. Suffice to say, if one needs to know the potential price of one of these equine equivalents of a Cullinan diamond, then clearly one can’t afford it. The next best option is to beat a path to Darley in the hope of getting a mare into first season sire Too Darn Hot. At $44,000 it’s not cheap – life's fineries seldom are – but with hindsight it might prove as prescient as taking the $3 about Darain on debut.
NEW Ghaiyyath Vs Enable Rematch OffThursday, 9th July 2020Meanwhile, connections of Sunday’s brilliant Eclipse Stakes winner Ghaiyyath (Dubawi-Nightime, by Galileo) told racingpost.com he would head to next month’s Gr1 Juddmonte International at York rather than run into Enable (Nathaniel-Concentric, by Sadler’s Wells) again. Trainer Charlie Appleby said, “Ghaiyyath is having a quiet few days after the Eclipse and we'll give the King George a miss to give him a bit more time between his races and look towards York. It was in our thoughts before the start of the year to work back from the Arc again and it will be an interesting race in Paris if Enable turns up, and also there are some nice 3YOs coming through the ranks.” Ghaiyyath is currently 9-1 to win the Arc, while Enable is a 7-4 favourite to win her third Gr1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, a race she won in 2017 and 2019. Ghaiyyath has won eight of his eleven starts, while Enable has won 13 of her 16 starts.
Colts Dominate Australian Weanling Sale Day-1Thursday, 9th July 2020An emotional Verna Metcalfe of Middlebrook Valley Lodge celebrated “an awesome result’’ as an Exceed And Excel colt she offered for long-time client Kate Gadsby topped Day 1 of the Inglis Australian Weanling Sale at Riverside on Wednesday. On a day where overall trade again defied the global economic conditions to hold up remarkably well, it was the colts that stole the show, filling the top 10 purchases. Lot 174 (Exceed And Excel x Count Your Money) ended the day on top, selling to Bruce Mackenzie for $260,000. The colt was offered by Metcalfe (pictured) – on behalf of Gadsby – who was thrilled with the result. “I thought he would make his $200k because the Exceed And Excels are hard to get but…actually I feel a bit emotional,’’ Metcalfe, whose Middlebrook Valley Lodge ended Day 1 as leading vendor by both aggregate and average, said. “I’ve said all along, this is the sale to come to. It’s the first weanling sale, bring them here, the good colts sell well…Inglis has done a top job trying to get people here, you’ve got to take your hats off to them.’’
A jubilant Verna Metcalfe of Middlebrook Valley Lodge (pic: inglis.com.au)
Darby Racing Expands Into PinhookingThursday, 9th July 2020The day’s second-top lot was a So You Think x Feirin colt (lot 204), which Darby Racing Pinhook purchased online from Olly Tait’s Twin Hills Stud for $150,000. It was one of 31 lots bought online today, or 24% of the overall sales. The colt was the first weanling purchase for Darby’ new business arm, which is expanding to include pinhooking. “2020 for Darby Racing is about expansion,’’ Scott Darby said. “We’re expanding the business from syndication to also include pinhooking – yearlings into 2YOs and weanlings into yearlings. We’re looking for quality horses that we think will sell well at the major sales next year.” Darby noted, “We’re looking to use our knowledge and success we’ve had with yearlings that have turned into early-running 2YOs and using that same formula for the pinhooking side of things. This colt was one of the best looking, if not the best-looking horse at Riverside, and we saw most of the weanlings there. He’s well built, well made, the cross is phenomenal, we just thought he was the best moving colt of the entire sale for us.’’
Tait Says Market Has Adjusted to Online RealityThursday, 9th July 2020Twin Hills’ Olly Tait was delighted with Twin Hills’ So You Think colt sold to Darby Racing (see above). “At the end of the day $150,000 is a lot of money,’’ Tait said. “He was a lovely horse, he did everything right, he’s by a really good sire, he’s got a nice pedigree, his attitude and athleticism, he sold himself really. We didn’t have to do much." Tait pointed out, “The challenges of a large portion of the buying bench not being able to be physically here at the sale, that was a concern leading in, but we’re four months into this scenario and everybody is getting used to buying horses online, inspecting horses online, the standard of information the vendors are giving prospective buyers is far superior to what it was 12 months ago and this is a very good example – a bidder online paying $150,000 for a horse, that shows the market has adapted and the industry has adapted to the circumstances we are facing.’’
Twin Hills' So You Think-Feirin colt (pic: inglis.com.au)
Inglis Australian Weanling Sale Day-1 StatsThursday, 9th July 2020At the conclusion of Day 1, the 2020 Australian Weanling Sale’s average of $33,748 was largely on par with last year’s overall average, despite the challenging circumstances buyers and vendors are trading in. A total of 12 horses have sold for $100,000 or more, just shy of the 2019 overall tally of 14, with a further 185 weanlings catalogued for auction today. To view all of today’s statistics, CLICK HERE. Day 2 action again begins from 10am this morning, with lots 251-385 being offered. For those unable to attend Riverside, online bidding will again be available, and the sale will be streamed live on the Inglis website. To view the Australian Weanling Sale catalogue, CLICK HERE.
Signore Fox Wins Listed Ramornie HandicapThursday, 9th July 2020
Mrgn. Runners -6. Signore Fox (2)J: J PenzaT: P & P SnowdenW: 56 kgsS: Exceed And ExcelD: Sharp Susan 0.5L4. Haunted (5)J: A AdkinsT: James CummingsW: 57 kgsS: LonhroD: Seances 0.9L13. Jonker (8)J: A GibbonsT: D I AtkinsW: 54 kgsS: Spirit Of BoomD: Hearts And Arrows 1.7L3. Boomsara (9)J: B LookerT: Chris MunceW: 57 kgsS: Spirit Of BoomD: Passara
- Track: Grafton
- Race: $200,000 Listed Ramornie Hcp (1200m)
- Winner: 4YO horse Signore Fox (Exceed And Excel-Sharp Susan, by Touch Gold)
- Placings: 5YO gelding Haunted & 4YO horse Jonker
- Winning Sire: Exceed And Excel (Danehill-Patrona, by Lomond)
- Stud Farm: Darley
- Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden
- Jockey: Jeff Penza
- Race record: 8 wins and 2 placings from 25 starts for $528,385 in earnings
- Sales Info: $300,000 yearling at the 2017 Inglis Easter Sale
- Vendor: Coolmore Stud
Mystic Journey Plans On HoldThursday, 9th July 2020Gr1 mare Mystic Journey (Needs Further-White Gold, by Colombia) will stay in Tasmania due to Victoria’s current COVID19 spike, reports racing.com. She was due to run in the Gr3 Bletchingly Stakes. "We've pushed that back probably for two reasons, obviously the current situation in Victoria with recent outbreaks, COVID has put some indecisiveness into the decision," trainer Adam Trinder told RSN927 on Tuesday. "That being said, the ground that we saw presented at Flemington, which is a really good draining track there on Saturday, we just feel the Bletchingly the ground might still be too easing for her. So, tentative plan is now to hold and kick off in the Lawrence two weeks later, which is the race she kicked off in last year and was fortunate to win." Trinder spoke about the process involved if he was to travel with Mystic Journey to Victoria. "There's an avenue to make application to be able to attend a Victoria racecourse for an interstate trainer," he said. "The intricacies of it, I would have to arrive early, do a COVID test, get a negative result and then receive permission to be able to be on course. We're still a month away but everything's changing on a day-to-day basis. We are a little bit apprehensive with the current situation in Victoria, we felt two weeks ago that we were in a situation where restrictions were going to be lifted but now they're probably going to be tightened, so it will be interesting to see the landscape in a month's time." The option is still open to send her without Trinder in attendance. Mystic Journey has won 11 of her 18 starts and over $3.7 million, including the Gr1 Australian Guineas, and the VRC All-Star Mile.
Mystic Journey will stay in Tasmania for now (pic: Mark Gatt)
Lopsided Field of Stayers for Grafton CupThursday, 9th July 2020This afternoon's $200,000 Listed Grafton Cup (2350m) boasts some pretty smart stayers from key stables around Sydney – seven with a handicap rating of between 91 to 106, however it does appear to be a forlorn task for most connections with horses down in the weights which are off a 54kg minimum. Good examples of the inequity of the compressed weight scale sees both Primitivo (91 rating) and Satono Rasen (91 rating) carrying 54kg – the same weight as eight rivals whose handicap ratings are between 45 and 67. The top two in the weights and both drawn wide, Sixties Groove and Carzoff, were separated by a thimble in their last start behind Frankely Awesome and hold the lion's share of the cash in what remains a relatively open market. La Pulga has been a model of consistency in Queensland brings a different form-line, last start finishing a close second behind the Chris Waller-trained Another Dollar in a Doomben Gr3 over 2200m, and with 54.5kg he's weighted to feature strongly.
Another Sydney Campaign for The BostonianThursday, 9th July 2020Multiple Group-1 winner The Bostonian is set to cross the Tasman once again this spring to try and add to his elite-level tally. The Tony Pike-trained gelding had another lucrative autumn in Australia this year, bagging his third Group-1 victory in the Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick in March, before finishing runner-up in the Gr1 Geroge Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill. Sydney will once again be the target this spring, with the rising 6YO set to kick-off his campaign in a race named after one of the city’s favourite daughters. He has been back in work for just on seven weeks,” Pike told NZ Racing Desk. “He is coming up really well. He has had a few pieces of fast work and I can’t fault him, he is looking fantastic. At this stage he will probably have a trial or a couple of exhibition gallops in New Zealand and it is most likely, after talking with David (Archer, owner) this week, that he will resume in the Winx Stakes (Gr1, 1400m) on August 22. The Bostonian will be looking to impress in his first-up run particularly to try and garner some interest from A$14 million The Everest (1200m) slot holders.
The Bostonian will have another Sydney sojourn (pic: Bradley Photographers)
NSW Border Closed to Victorian RacehorsesThursday, 9th July 2020As a result of the border closure – the first in over 100 years – between NSW and Victoria due to the latter’s latest COVID-19 outbreak, punters.com.au reports that, with immediate effect, Racing NSW has moved to “…ban any Victorian horses from being transferred to stables or race north of the Murray River.” In addition, while NSW horses are still able to travel across the border in the opposite direction, they will be stranded in Victoria indefinitely. The report doesn’t make any specific mention of broodmares, weanlings or yearlings. If any licensed person crosses into NSW via a permit or as a returning NSW resident, he or she will need to go into mandatory 14-day quarantine before attending a racecourse. Making life even more challenging for the Victorian thoroughbred industry, Racing Victoria has stipulated that, “Owners that reside within restricted areas will not be permitted to attend a racetrack in Victoria until otherwise advised, and no owners will be allowed at meetings that are conducted within the locked down area which factors in 11 racecourses.” Meanwhile, “Owners outside of the lockdown area are permitted to attend race meetings that are not in the lockdown area - with Racing Victoria giving their blessing to respective clubs to facilitate that per regulations”… That could, of course, change if restricted areas within the state are widened.
Maher Backs Racing NSW Border RestrictionsThursday, 9th July 2020For a trainer who, with co-trainer David Eustace, has stables in both Victoria and NSW, one might have expected Ciaron Maher to have been angered or frustrated by Racing NSW’s decision to indefinitely ban racehorses from Victoria crossing the border with New South Wales. With potential to create as many conundrums – logistical and programming – for trainers in NSW as their Victorian counterparts as planning begins for respective Spring carnivals, racenet.com.au reports Maher has reacted positively. The senior spokesman for the powerful dual state stable whose Sydney branch managed by Annabel Neasham at Warwick Farm, “praised racing authorities for making smart and decisive moves to protect the health of participants and keeping the code operating successfully”, despite the fact that he and Eustace have several potential candidates for The Everest. Although hopeful the situation might change at the end of the current 6-week Melbourne lockdown period, Maher reasoned, “Health is the priority, and first and foremost is everyone’s health and keeping the racing going. Worrying too much about spring horses might be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak, as we have to get the horses ready and there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge.”
Krystal Bishop To Retire from RidingThursday, 9th July 2020South Australian jockey Krystal Bishop will retire from race riding at the end of the 2019/20 season and will enter a training partnership with John Dunn at Oakbank, reported theracessa.com.au. “Why now? Just all my injuries, all my wasting,” Krystal said. “I just need to look after my body – it’s had a pretty hard go at it. And I’ve set myself up so I don’t really need to do the riding.” A horrific fall at Gawler back in October left her with a shattered face, and she required eight metal plates and 47 screws inserted in her head, as well as a bone graft from her skull to recreate her eye socket. Incredibly, she was back race riding two months later. “That surgery was massive and I’ve got metal in my face for the rest of my life, although you probably couldn’t tell by looking at me,” she said. “If I didn’t have the weight issues, I’d probably keep riding. If I was 3kg or 4kg lighter, then maybe it would be a different story.” Bishop has 277 career wins including a win in Singapore. “I got dux of the Apprentice Academy in the 2012/13 season, so I went over to Singapore, rode at four meetings, and was able to ride a winner there,” she said. “I rode against Joao Moreira on his last meeting before he went to Hong Kong and he rode five winners that night. So to ride next to him that night and be part of that was probably the biggest highlight for me. It was pretty special.” Her best single day was four winners in one day at Kangaroo Island, as well as a treble at Morphettville. She is yet to ride a stakes winner, although rode Disco Rebel (Rebel Raider-Disco Regent, by New Regent) to place in the 2020 Listed Port Adelaide Cup. With regards to the new training partnership, Bishop said, “I’ve been with him my whole time, done my whole apprenticeship with him, and I still worked for him after my apprenticeship. I always had a back-up plan for what I wanted to do, and that was always going to be training. I’m so at peace with the decision and that’s because it’s a natural progression.”
Data Shows Derby Jockeys MiscalculatedThursday, 9th July 2020In an interesting twist to the recent shock Gr1 Epsom Derby result where the first three home averaged a $42.60 starting price, theguardian.com has revealed sectional times that show it became all but impossible for leading rival horses to catch outsider Serpentine in the 12 furlong English Classic. According to the report, on a raceday that resulted in a 31% increase in peak viewership of 2.3 million and a result described by cashed-up bookmaker William Hill as its best ever in the history of the Derby, pacemaker Serpentine was gifted an effective 22-lengths by English King, for example. That deduction is based on Serpentine setting fractions between the second and ninth furlongs that were cummulatively over four seconds faster than his heavily fancied rival. Not alone in misjudging what was happening up front, English King’s champion jockey Frankie Dettori managed to pull 2-seconds or nearly 12 seconds off the leader over the last 3 furlongs, by which time the bird had flown. The other big hope, Kameko, was a lot closer for rider Oisin Murphy, however the added distance of the Derby found his mount’s stamina wanting. In addition, Murphy – not wanting to make his move too early – explained he’d been caught in effective no-man’s land with the horses directly in front of him off the bridle a long way out as they vainly attempted to stay in touch with Serpentine.
Frankel Daughter Heads York's Musidora StakesThursday, 9th July 2020A total of nine runners have been declared for the rearranged Gr3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York Racecourse this Thursday (14:40 GMT), with John Gosden's Franconia and Roger Charlton's Pocket Square currently disputing favouritism for the 3YO fillies-only contest, run over 10.5 furlongs. Among key runners, Franconia, a striking daughter of Frankel and an impressive winner of the Abingdon Fillies' Stakes (Listed) at Newbury, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah and trained by John Gosden, heads the market. Gosden and Prince Khalid Abdullah also run Ricetta who will be partnered by Frankie Dettori whilst bidding for her hattrick after winning her two and only starts at Newmarket last month. Meanwhile, Pocket Square, winner of the Gr3 Prix des Reservoirs at Deauville, by Night of Thunder, trained by Roger Charlton for Prince Khalid Abdullah will be having her first run of the season. Dubai Love, winner of the UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan and most recently a respectable third in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot has been declared. Also by Night of Thunder, she was purchased at the 2017 Tattersalls December Foal Sale by Godolphin for 120,000 guineas from Petches Farm Ltd and is trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Rose of Kildare, winner of the Gr3 Firth of Clyde Stakes at Ayr in September and bought for just €3,000 at the 2018 Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale from Oghill House Stud by Mark Johnston, will be partnered by Franny Norton, having finished third at her latest start in the Gr3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday.
Spendthrift to stand Met Mile-G1 Winner VekomaThursday, 9th July 2020B. Wayne Hughes’ Spendthrift Farm (Kentucky) has acquired the breeding rights to multiple Grade-1-winning millionaire Vekoma. The four-year-old son of leading sire Candy Ride (Arg) captured the prestigious Metropolitan Handicap-G1 at Belmont on Saturday (defeating Code of Honor and McKinzie), staking his claim as one of North America’s top racehorses in 2020. “We are extremely excited about Vekoma and his future as a stallion. It’s not often you see an elite racehorse that is by a Grade-1 winner and out of a Grade-1 winner,” said Ned Toffey, Spendthrift general manager. “Vekoma is a terrific blend of his sire Candy Ride and his Speightstown dam Mona de Momma, showing brilliance from six furlongs to a mile and an eighth, and from ages two to four. There’s sire power throughout the pedigree, with Vekoma’s second dam being a sister to Mr. Greeley. You just will not find a better-bred son of Candy Ride. Vekoma proved he is one of the best horses in training with wins over good fields in the Carter and Met Mile, which have been two of the best performances we have seen this year. The combination of brilliance and pedigree is special.” An earner of $1,245,525 to date, Vekoma was bred in Kentucky by Alpha Delta Stables. He is out of the Speightstown mare Mona de Momma who scored her biggest win as a racehorse in the Humana Distaff-G1 on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill. Vekoma’s second dam, Society Gal, is a half-sister to successful sire Mr. Greeley. Vekoma is the third Met Mile winner in the last four years that will take up stud duty at Spendthrift. Mor Spirit, the 2017 winner, and Mitole, the 2019 winner, both stand at the historic Lexington-based farm.