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Daily News | 18th July 2018
Scales Of Justice On Comeback TrailWednesday, 18th July 2018West Australian trainer Lindsey Smith is cautiously optimistic that top-class galloper Scales Of Justice can make his comeback to the races in Melbourne in the spring. The rising 6YO hasn't raced since sustaining an injury when failing to defend his title in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in November. "I've wanted to take my time with him and he's been back about nine weeks now, slowly building up, but I'm not convinced he's right unfortunately," Smith told the West Australian. "He's had a lot of problems with his muscles. It's taken forever to get him back and he's not fully back yet. I'm hoping a bit more work will rebuild him a bit." Smith added: "He'll have a gallop in a couple of weeks and then go to the trials. If he makes it through that he'll go to Melbourne but it's fingers crossed at this stage." Smith nominated the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on 13 October as a potential spring target for Scales Of Justice (Not a Single Doubt-Beymatilla, by Umatilla).
Jameka On Track for Surprise SwansongWednesday, 18th July 2018Ciaron Maher says he is keeping an open mind about the prospects of star mare Jameka having one final racing preparation in the spring. The three-time Group 1 winner and Caulfield Cup heroine was the top seller at this year's Magic Millions National Broodmare Sale when purchased outright by her original part owners Colin and Janice McKenna for $2.6 million. Naturally, it was thought that she would embark upon the next chapter of her career as a prized broodmare, but another campaign remains a possibility. "She will jump-out on the 24th July at Caulfield and then will trial at Cranbourne on August 5. She has been ticking along well. Obviously I want to put a bit of pressure on her in a jump-out and trial and see how she responds," Maher told racenet. "Then we will make a decision on whether she goes to the races or not. I have a completely open mind on it and there is no pressure at all." Maher added: "It is too early to think about what she could perhaps contest in the spring because we haven't even made the decision that she will race yet but obviously at her best she is a super mare."
Jameka (image: Mark Gatt)
Myer Target for AloisiaWednesday, 18th July 2018Meanwhile, trainer Ciaron Maher says former top filly Aloisia (Azamour-Queen Boudicca, by Perfectly Ready) could be aimed at the Group 1 Myer Classic in the spring. The 2017 Group 1 Thousand Guineas winner had a frustrating autumn and winter preparation with her best performance being a third in the Group 1 Vinery Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March. It means the OTI-owned 3YO has not won a race in seven starts since her brilliant victory in the Gr2 Moonee Valley Vase in October. "She is currently in Queensland after running up there in the Queensland Oaks and has spelled well," Maher told racenet. "She did that in Queensland the year before as well. She's in good order and I will just wait and see what we will try to hit the mark with her this spring. The Myer Classic [Gr1] or the Matriarch Stakes [Gr2] would probably be her go." The Myer Classic (1600m) will be run at Flemington on Saturday, 3 November.
Aloisia (image: Mark Gatt)
Black Heart Bart Close to ReturnWednesday, 18th July 2018Multiple Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart could open his spring campaign in the Gr3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday week (28 July) after winning a jump-out at Coleraine in western Victoria yesterday, reports racing.com. Black Heart Bart, who hasn't raced since finishing 9th in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) in Perth in December, defeated highly rated stable-mates Kings Will Dream, Humidor and Big Duke. "We might see Bart next week in the Bletchingly," said trainer Darren Weir's stable foreman Jarrod McLean. "He's probably a year older and we'd probably want to get to a Memsie [Gr1] third-up rather than second-up. He's coming off a long spell so Weiry will have a good think about that."
Black Heart Bart (image: Mark Gatt)
Trial For Single GazeWednesday, 18th July 2018Single Gaze will have her first trial for new trainer Chris Waller at Warwick Farm on Friday. Formerly trained by Nick Olive, Single Gaze (Not a Single Doubt-Redaluca's Gaze, by Intergaze) was retired at the end of the autumn and sold privately to celebrated Japanese breeder Katsumi Yoshida who has decided to continue racing her. Single Gaze won the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) as a 3YO before making excellent progress as an older mare to be placed in a Group 1 Caulfield Cup, Group 1 CF Orr Stakes, and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes. She will contest the opening 800m heat on Friday that will also see fellow Group 1 winners Alizee, Unforgotten, D'Argento, and the smart Pierata line up.
Filly Cox Plate DreamingWednesday, 18th July 2018Newcastle horseman Ben Smith continues to be impressed with the progress of smart filly El Dorado Dreaming. El Dorado Dreaming, a surprise 100-1 winner of the Group 1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn, is being prepared for an ambitious spring campaign commencing with the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes and Group 1 Flight Stakes in Sydney. She will then venture south for the Group 1 Thousand Guineas, Group 1 Cox Plate and Group 1 VRC Oaks in Melbourne. "She's brilliant," Smith told racing.com. "She's impressed me the most out of anything that I've got here. She's come back in terrific order. She's more physically developed but mentally, she's like a four or five-year-old mare the way she carries herself around the stable." Smith acknowledges that a race like the Cox Plate is a very lofty goal for the rising 3YO, but says he will only enter her in the weight-for-age championship if her form warrants it. "She's started a bit of pacework and we've got her down to trial on the 20th of August," Smith said. "We'll have two runs in Sydney before coming to Melbourne - the Tea Rose Stakes over 1400 metres and then the Flight Stakes (1600m) and then three weeks to the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield." Smith added: "It's ambitious, but if she comes up we'll press to the Cox Plate with her and then to the Oaks. We'll be realistic about a Cox Plate. On the same day is the Vase against the boys and we can go to that instead if we've got doubts about the Cox Plate."
In Her Time Thriving Ahead of EverestWednesday, 18th July 2018Meanwhile, Newcastle trainer Ben Smith says top-class sprinting mare In Her Time is in career-best condition leading into the spring. In Her Time is set to resume in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on 30 September before racing second-up in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 13 October. "I actually pulled a blood off her on Monday and I'd say it's the best it's ever been," Smith told racing.com. "It's only the early stages. She's only trotting and cantering at the moment but by the end of the week we'll start a little pace work with her. She's lovely and free in her action." Smith added: "She'll have a trial at the end of August or early September and an exhibition gallop before the Premiere." In Her Time, who will represent slot-holder TAB in The Everest, is currently rated an $11 chance for the world's richest turf race.
Owner Pessimistic About Everest ProspectsWednesday, 18th July 2018Part owner Rod Lyons has all but conceded that boom sprinter Nature Strip has missed his opportunity of securing a slot in The Everest later in the year, reports racenet. Lyons and trainer Darren Weir have been trying to persuade the remaining slot-holders that Nature Strip is the ideal horse to represent them in the $13 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 13 October, but Lyons says the brilliant 3YO may have run out of time. "As regards to The Everest, the chances of getting a run are pretty remote," said Lyons. "I think there is only really two slots left." Lyons added: "It doesn't really worry us because the horse is just going to get better. He needs to learn how to relax a little bit more. So if we don't get into The Everest, it doesn't matter, this time next year they will be knocking our door down." Nature Strip is set to clash with classy 2YO filly Sunlight in the $100,000 Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) for 2YOs & 3YOs at Morphettville on 28 July.
BOBS Noms Close 1st SeptemberWednesday, 18th July 2018Racing NSW has issued a reminder that 2018 BOBS (Breeder Owner Bonus Scheme) Racehorse Nominations (including BOBS Extra) will close on Saturday, 1st September 2018 for horses foaled in 2016 that turn 2YOs on 1 August 2018. Click here for more information.
Star Exhibit Close to ReturnWednesday, 18th July 2018Perth Cup winner Star Exhibit will commence his build-up to the Ascot carnival in the next fortnight, reports the West Australian. Star Exhibit, the winner of the 2016 Gr2 Perth Cup (2400m), will return to Adam Durrant's stable after recovering from injury. The rising 7YO, who was transferred from Durrant to the Victorian stable of Darren Weir last year, hasn't raced since finishing fourth behind Classic Uniform and Happy Clapper in the Gr3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Randwick on 14 October.
Big Spring Expected for Melody BelleWednesday, 18th July 2018Te Akau's newly established head trainer Jamie Richards took a strong team to the Te Rapa trials yesterday showcasing the potential strength of the tangerine and blue silks this spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. Among those to trial was last season's champion New Zealand 2YO Melody Belle who impressed in her 900 metre heat on Te Rapa's inside track. "I'm really pleased with her. She's the biggest and strongest she's been," Richards said of the Commands filly. "Her three-year-old career didn't go the way we had planned, but often those good two-year-olds can miss a year and we're looking forward to the four-year-old season with her." Richards added: "At this stage, she'll trial in three weeks at Te Teko and then she'll run first-up in the Foxbridge and all going well will head toward Hastings."
Sprint Trips Key To Age Of FireWednesday, 18th July 2018Meanwhile, Te Akau Racing head trainer Jamie Richards seemed unconcerned when Group 1-winning colt Age Of Fire (Fastnet Rock-Dragon's Tail, by Galileo) finished last in his 900m trial at Te Rapa yesterday, reports NZ Racing Desk. Richards said the Gr1 Levin Classic winner will focus on shorter distances this spring after his unplaced efforts in the Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) and Gr1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney in the autumn. "We probably tried to make him stay as a three-year-old," Richards said. "We believe he is a sprinter-miler, so we'll just keep him short and sharp for the meantime." Richards added: "He'll trial at Te Teko. He probably just didn't like the track conditions out their today. He's a rising four-year-old entire and Opie [Bosson, jockey] said he had really come on with it. He's a lazy, laid-back sort of horse that probably needs the blinkers back on as well."
Gr1 Winner Close to ResumingWednesday, 18th July 2018Last year's Gr1 Tarzino Trophy (1400m) winner Close Up made his first appearance on a race track in nine months at yesterday's Te Rapa trials and could return as soon as Saturday, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 8YO veteran finished second to top 3YO filly Melody Belle by a long neck in their 900m heat on Te Rapa's inside track and trainer Shelley Hale was satisfied with the performance. "I'm pretty happy with what I saw," the Cambridge conditioner said. Close Up enjoyed his best campaign last spring, winning the Tarzino Trophy and finishing second in both the Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and Gr1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m), and Hale is eyeing a similar path this year. "He'll have pretty similar spring targets. We'll just see how he gets through this. He could even kick-off at Te Rapa this Saturday in the Open 1200, but he'll step out pretty soon," said Hale. "I'm very happy with how he went today, he has pulled up well."