The Victoria Racing Club (VRC) has made changes to its leadership team as part of its long term racing strategy to retain its position as Australia’s premier racecourse. This has resulted in Martin Talty, Executive General Manager Racing, and Mick Goodie, Senior Manager Flemington Racecourse, leaving the Club. VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson thanked both Mr Talty and Mr Goodie for their contribution to the Club and wished them both well for the future. Effective immediately, Liam O’Keeffe will assume the role of Senior Manager Flemington Racecourse, while Mr Wilson will oversee the VRC’s racing portfolio until a permanent replacement for the position of Executive General Manager Racing has been announced. "The VRC is looking to drive the racing strategy forward with an ambitious growth and innovation agenda, essential to maintaining our leadership position locally and globally," Mr Wilson said.
Waikato Stud has decided not to shuttle exciting young stallion Tivaci (High Chaparral-Breccia, by Fastnet Rock) to Europe for the 2018 breeding season. The Group 1-winner was very well received by Australasian breeders with a top quality 2017 book of more than 140 mares. "After such a successful season that has just gone so quickly, we have decided not to take up the offer of a Northern Hemisphere season at the English National Stud," Waikato Stud principal Mark Chittick said. "This decision was not taken lightly. As you know, this option was not in our original planning, but developed after the initial approach from the English National Stud." Chittick added: "However, he would have been one of four first season sires within their operation so we felt his opportunities may become limited and we were not prepared to risk Tivaci on this venture." Tivaci’s book included Group 1 winner's Daffodil, Costume and I Do. He also covered the dams of Group 1 winners Ambitious Dragon (dual Hong Kong Horse of the Year), Kawi, Shamexpress, Brambles, Thee Auld Floozie and Consensus.
Connections are hoping that a rise in trip to a mile can help exciting prospect Chopin's Fantaisie (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) return to winning ways at Kranji in Singapore on Sunday, reports the Singapore Turf Club. The New Zealand-bred 4YO stamped himself as an emerging star when winning is first four starts in his adopted homeland before suffering the only loss of his brief career in a Class 3 event over 1400m on 28 August. On that occasion the son of Pins had genuine excuses, getting too far out of his ground but still running on strongly against a perceived leaders track bias. "He will have to win well this Sunday. We are eventually looking at the Gold Cup for him, but that race will dictate where we go from here," said assistant-trainer Michael White. "It's unlikely he will go to the Kranji Mile but the Raffles Cup and the Gold Cup are options we are looking at for him." Purchased for $150,000 by his trainer Michael Clements at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Chopin's Fantaisie is a half-brother to three-time Gr1 winner and former Hong Kong champion racehorse Ambitious Dragon.
After an outstanding autumn which resulted in three consecutive city wins, trainer Brad Graham is planning an ambitious spring campaign with promising Western Australian galloper Tonkatuff. After a short break, Tonkatuff is now back in work and Graham is raising the bar for the exciting son of Bombora Downs Stud stallion Therock (Fastnet Rock). "He's such a big, strong and athletic horse that it was obvious that he only needed time to mature to fulfil his potential," said Graham. "We are looking at some pretty good races for him and will target the $100,000 Listed Hannans Handicap at Kalgoorlie in September and the $100,000 Listed Northam Cup in October." Both Graham and owner-breeder Brad Cooper are big fans of Tonkatuff's sire, Therock. "I really like the breed," Cooper said. "I have seen the stallion and he is one of the best looking stallions that you could ever wish to see. He is clearly stamping his progeny and they all seem to be big, strong and athletic types – just like him." From limited opportunities, Therock continues to produce winners around the country with Mercury Rocks winning impressively at the recent Bendigo meeting and Miss Harley Quinn winning in WA. Therock is again standing at Christoph Bruechert's Bombora Downs Stud on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula at a fee of $3,500 + gst.
Following a runaway win on debut at Hawera in August, New Zealand filly Blanco Belle is set to face her first acid test when she lines up in the Listed The O'Leary's Fillies' Stakes at Wanganui on Saturday, reports theinformant.co.nz. Trainer and part-owner Susan Rainford purchased the daughter of Irish Derby winner Cape Blanco for a bargain NZ$3,000 from the Cambridge Stud draft at the 2015 New Zealand Bloodstock National Weanling, Broodmare and Mixed Sale with staying events in mind. "She's a staying filly and this is her first preparation," Rainford commented. "She was difficult to break in – she's tough and strong for her age, even though she doesn't actually turn three until October." Rainford is also bullish when it comes to potentially exploring grander plans with the filly, "There's not a lot around for staying fillies in New Zealand, so we might give her a spell after this. There's a nice race in Australia – the VRC Oaks. That's ambitious, but you never know." Interestingly, from a pedigree angle, Blanco Belle descends from Gr1 VRC Sires' Produce Stakes and Gr1 WATC Australian Derby winner Wonder Dancer, while her fourth dam was star staying filly and NZ Champion 3YO Star Belle.
Top Irish trainer Willie Mullins has unveiled an ambitious plan that could see unheralded 5YO Riven Light take on champion Australian mare Winx in the Gr1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on 28 October, reports Racing Post. Riven Light, an Irish-bred son of Raven's Pass, is a winner of 4 of his 15 starts, but is yet to win a stakes race. What seems to have ignited Mullins' interest in travelling to Australia is Riven Light's impressive win in a Galway Handicap over 8.5 furlongs earlier this month. However, he would face a monumental task. Winx is currently rated the world's best turf horse and will be chasing her 18th consecutive victory when she makes her seasonal reappearance in the Gr2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday. That race will mark the beginning of an historic spring campaign for the 12-time Gr1 winner and recent Hall Of Fame inductee, who will attempt to join the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. "Riven Light will need to improve but the Cox Plate is on our radar for him and we would like to take it on," Mullins said. "We will hopefully get one or two more runs into him before we start making concrete plans about Australia. We would like to run him on better ground on a more conventional track as Galway is a very unique racecourse and the ground was quite soft for both of his runs there."
Longchamp will be chasing successive Listed Opunake Cup (1400m) titles at New Plymouth tomorrow, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainer Andrew Campbell is happy with how the five-year-old has performed during this campaign, placing in both of his starts. He ran a creditable third at Trentham behind Opunake Cup rival New York Minute, before heading to Awapuni on July 8 where he was pipped at the line by the promising Dolcetto. "In the first race (at Trentham) he needed a run because he hadn't had a trial at all and he just came to the end of it when he hit the bog up the straight. I was happy with that run, he had a good blow," Campbell said. "His last start was a good run I thought, he carried a lot more weight than Dolcetto, who is an up and coming horse." He added: "I'm over the moon with him, he's come through it great and he'll be going in there really happy. His work on Tuesday was super." Campbell has set Longchamp an ambitious programme for the spring, with the Gr2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa and the Gr1 Tarzino Trophy on the agenda. "We'll see how he comes through the race and he may go to Te Rapa for the Foxbridge, we'll just play it by ear with that," he said. "He'll head to Hastings for the first race (Tarzino Trophy), which has always been his main aim." Longchamp finished 5th in last year's Foxbridge Plate (behind Saracino), and 4th (behind Kawi) in the Makfi Challenge Stakes (now the Tarzino Trophy).
New Zealand-bred 3YO Chopin's Fantaisie (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) extended his unbeaten record to four when winning the $60,000 Open Benchmark 67 race over 1400m at Kranji racecourse in Singapore on Sunday, reports turfclub.com.sg. The son of Pins had to really stretch to hold off the gallant Aotearoa, but jockey Glen Boss played down the narrow half-length margin suggesting it was simply the gelding's nature to do the bare essential to get the job done. The winning time of 1:21.88 was only 0.10 of a second outside the class record. "He will never win by a space - that is not his caper. It's more cat-and-mouse style with him," said Boss after dismounting. "But he's got a lovely long action and has a great attitude. He will grow and mature further as he's not the full product yet. He is coming along quite well and will be even better in six months' time." Purchased for $150,000 by his trainer Michael Clements at the 2015 NZB Premier Yearling Sale, Chopin's Fantaisie is a half-brother to three-time Gr1 winner and former Hong Kong champion racehorse Ambitious Dragon. "Considering he has a well-related sibling we were quite happy to get him at such a price," Clements said. "He will go towards a Class 3 race in four to five weeks' time and I may look at a feature race late in the season for him, like the Committee's Prize." The Gr3 Committee's Prize is a handicap race run over 1600m on 17 September.
Exciting Kiwi colt Summer Passage (Snitzel-Subsequent, by Encosta de Lago) has returned to the stable of Lance O’Sullivan to prepare for an ambitious spring carnival campaign in Melbourne, reports AAP. Summer Passage has reportedly been back in work for a month with O’Sullivan confirming that his primary spring target is the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 4 November. A winner of the Gr1 Sistema Stakes at Ellerslie in March, Summer Passage confirmed his status as one of the best 2YOs in training with a second placing behind Invader in the Gr1 Inglis Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in Sydney in the autumn.
New Zealand Bloodstock subsidiary gavelhouse.com's record breaking sale on Monday saw the business hit major milestones. A total of 40 lots were sold for an aggregate of $587,800, pushing the total turnover for gavelhouse.com sales to over $3 million since it launched in April 2016. The top lot was purchased by renowned bloodstock agent John Foote in his first foray into buying online. Foote secured broodmare Ampin (Pins x Ambitious) in foal to New Zealand's award-sweeping Group 1 sire Savabeel for a record $211,000. The increased popularity of online trading has had a positive influence on clearance rates, with the site consistently achieving clearance rates of over 80% in recent months and in particular, 93% for this sale. "gavelhouse.com has well and truly exceeded our expectations. In a little over a year the company has sold 531 horses for just under $3.1 million dollars" said NZB managing director Andrew Seabrook. Entries for gavelhouse.com's next New Zealand auction are now open and will close on Monday, 19 June at 7pm. The catalogue will be launched at 5pm on Tuesday, 20 June and bidding will close from 7pm on Monday 26 June. Nominations are now open for NZB's 92nd National Yearling Sales Series due to be held at Karaka on 28 January – 4 February 2018, while online entries for the 2017 Ready to Run Sale of 2YOs will open on 11 July. The Sale will be held at Karaka on 22 & 23 November, with Breeze Ups at Te Rapa on 16 & 17 October.
At Doomben racecourse in Brisbane, Rich Hill Stud's Melbourne Cup winning stallion Shocking (Street Cry-Maria di Castiglia, by Danehill) added a Group success when 4YO bay gelding Chocante (Shocking-Strictly Maternal, by O'Reilly) relished a return to firmer footing when posting a dominant win in the $300,000 Gr2 Brisbane Cup (2200m) for 3YO+, defeating Single Gaze & Pemberley. Chocante's performance showed why trainer Stephen Marsh holds him in such high regard and improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 Counties Cup) and 6 placings (including the Gr3 BRC Chairman's Handicap) from 15 starts for $305,271 in earnings. Marsh said Chocante will return home to New Zealand before returning in the spring for an ambitious tilt at the Caulfield & Melbourne Cups. "He's a good horse and I rapt to win this race before he goes home," Marsh told Racing Queensland Webnews. "I'll bring him back for the spring in Melbourne and aim high for the Cups but we can always come down a level or two."
Trainer Michael Costa has reported to Racing NSW stewards that talented filly Manaya (Hinchinbrook-Hot 'n' Breezy, by Zephyr Zip) pulled up with back soreness following her sixth place to Omei Sword in Saturday's Gr2 Silver Shadow Stakes at Randwick. Costa said the 3YO would now be spelled. Manaya, who is a three-quarter sister to brilliant dual Gr1-winning mare Hot Danish, made an auspicious start to her career when storming home from last on the turn to win the Listed Woodlands Stakes (1100m) at Scone in May. Costa had some ambitious plans for Manaya in the spring, including a tilt at next month's $1 million Gr1 Golden Rose.
Trainer Donna Logan says that classy Kiwi mare Valley Girl is likely to have one more start at home before crossing the Tasman to prepare for the spring carnival in Melbourne. Valley Girl, a winner of the Gr1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa earlier this year, kicked off her ambitious spring campaign with a surprise win in the Harcourts Optimize Group Handicap (1200m) at Ruakaka on Saturday. Logan said the 4YO Mastercraftsman mare will make her next appearance in the Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes (1400m) at Hastings on 27 August before flying out to Australia where her primary target will be the Gr1 Caulfield Cup. "She's terrific. She's come back bigger and stronger than ever. She won beautifully the other day and she's bounced out of it very well," Logan told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "We're looking forward to her next start in the Makfi [Gr1 Makfi Challenge Stakes] which will determine our direction so its very exciting." Logan, who prepares Valley Girl in partnership with Chris Gibbs, said there were plenty of options for the mare moving forward. "We have a few options pencilled in at this stage," she said. "She could go to Melbourne and run in the Makybe Diva, Turnbull and Caulfield Cup, which is the obvious path, or she could go to the Windsor Park Plate before the Turnbull. We're lucky that we have a few options." Logan added: "She is also nominated for the Cox Plate." Logan said Valley Girl compared very favourably to her former top mare Rising Romance, who finished runner-up to the ill-fated Admire Rakti in the 2014 edition of the Caulfield Cup. "I definitely think she is up to a Caulfield Cup," Logan said. "She is probably a bit sharper than Rising Romance. I think she'll be well suited." The Caulfield Cup (2400m) will be run at Caulfield racecourse on 15 October.
At Eagle Farm in Brisbane, 6YO imported gelding Murphy's Delight (Hurricane Run-Akoya, by Anabaa) landed the first stakes victory of his career when scoring by 0.8-length for trainer Chris Waller in the $100,00 Listed Queensland Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, over 5YO gelding Pop 'N' Scotch (Husson-Popnik, by Galileo) & 5YO mare Viva Espana (Dubawi-Expressly, by Success Express). Murphy's Delight, who began his career in his native Ireland, was a £65,000 purchase by Chris Waller Racing at the 2013 Tattersalls Autumn Horses-in-Training Sale. His latest success boosted his record to 5 wins and 14 placings from 30 starts for $276,977 earnings. Waller will now spell Murphy's Delight before bringing him back for a spring campaign. "He'll spell now and come back for the spring but we won't be looking at anything too ambitious," Waller said. "We've had him all the time since he came over here and he's made steady improvement but he's not up to the big Cups in Melbourne." He added: "There's a 2800 metre race on Melbourne Cup day which looks attractive."
Outstanding filly Yankee Rose (All American-Condesaar, by Xaar) will have her workload stepped up a gear this week as trainer David Vandyke lays the platform for an ambitious campaign aimed at the Cox Plate in the spring, reports ANZ Bloodstock News. The rising 3YO is set to barrier trial at the Sunshine Coast in two weeks time as she continues to build toward a return in the Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill on 10 September. The aptly named daughter of All American stamped herself as the best juvenile filly in Australia courtesy of her second placing behind Capitalist in the Gr1 Golden Slipper and her brilliant win in the Gr1 Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) in the autumn. However a foot abscess in the lead-up to the Champagne Stakes forced her to abandon her bid for a juvenile Gr1 double. “Condition wise I am happy with her. She is going to have a barrier trial two weeks on Tuesday,” Vandyke told ANZ Bloodstock News. “I’m happy enough with her, but this next week will be a telling factor because I am going to put the pressure on her." He added: "At this stage, we’ll go to the Golden Rose, the Flight Stakes, Cox Plate and the Oaks and it’s just a matter of whether I put the Run To The Rose in front of that.”
Gr1-winning filly Single Gaze has returned to the stable of trainer Nick Olive as she commences her build up towards the spring. The 3YO daughter of Arrowfield stallion Not A Single Doubt gave Olive the biggest win of his career when claiming the Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes in the autumn. "I'm really happy with her," Olive told AAP. "She's tough and has come back even stronger than at the commencement of her last campaign. She's settled back in, is relaxed and going through everything perfectly." He added: "She's more muscular and feels stronger under saddle." Olive has mapped out an ambitious spring campaign for Single Gaze which could include a tilt at the Gr1 Cox Plate in October. "She will initially be headed towards the W H Stock Stakes which is a Group 2 mares race at Mooney Valley over a mile; it looks a really nice race for her," he said. "She will be nominated for all the big spring races and if she can win the Stocks - or goes well - the Cox Plate will definitely be on the radar, but she's got to show she's up to it."
Meanwhile, trainer Fred Kersley is keen to see how Lite'n In My Veins (Henrythenavigator-Beauty World, by Danehill Dancer) comes up this preparation before making any ambitious plans for the spring, reports the West Australian. The boom WA three-year-old, who is a half-brother to Gr3 ATC Frank Packer Plate & Gr3 ATC Carbine Club Stakes winner Hi World (High Chaparral), has won 3 of his 4 starts to date, highlighted by his win in the Gr3 Lee-Steere Classic (1400m) in December. "Lite'n In My Veins has had about three weeks' work," Kersley said. "He'll go through the classes to get more experience." He added: "Until he races against the best and beats them, he is a work in progress."
At Flemington in Melbourne, Raheen Stud's deceased Gr1 Epsom Handicap winner Captain Sonador (Shamardal-Pushing Daisies, by Kenny's Best Pal) celebrated his first stakes winner when 2YO gelding Throssell (Captain Sonador-O' Venus, by Anabaa) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer Ciaron Maher in the $120,000 Listed Anzac Day Stakes (1400m) for 2YOs, over 2YO colt Pyx Chamber (Street Cry-Ambitious Lady, by Anabaa) & 2YO filly Smart As You Think (So You Think-Satirical Lady, by Giant's Causeway). The unbeaten Throssell extended his record to 2 wins from 2 starts and $84,200 earnings. Throssell was purchased by Wylie Dalziel Racing for $70,000 at the 2015 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from the draft of Raheen Stud. Trainer Ciaron Maher said Throssell would now be spelled to prepare for races such as the Caulfield Guineas and Victoria Derby in the spring. "The horse has really got no idea what he's doing still," Maher told racing.com. "Whatever he's doing now he seems to be doing on raw ability and I think he's still got to grow a bit as well." He added: "He's got a bright future I think."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, inery shuttler More Than Ready (Southern Halo-Woodman's Girl, by Woodman) added a black-type success when 2YO colt Prized Icon (More Than Ready-Tropical Affair, by Danehill) scored by 2 lengths for trainer James Cummings in the $150,000 Listed Fernhill Handicap (1600m) for 2YOs, over 2YO gelding Crown Him (Casino Prince-Ambitious Princess, by Savabeel) & 2YO filly Lasqueti Spirit (Beneteau-Supriym Story, by General Nediym). This was the first stakes victory for Prized Icon who took his record to 1 win and 5 placings (including the Gr3 ATC Schweppervescence Handicap & Gr3 Black Opal Stakes) from 6 starts for $195,850 earnings. Prized Icon was retained to race by his breeder Gooree Stud when he was passed in for $250,000 at last year's Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. From the stakes winning Danehill mare Tropical Affair, Prized Icon is a full-brother to Gr3 Sweet Embrace Stakes winner Romantic Moon and a half-brother to Gr3 Inglis Mile winner Matras (Zabeel).
Talented mare Azkadellia (Shinko King-Raving, by Centaine) will launch her Doncaster Mile campaign in tomorrow's Gr3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. The New Zealand-bred 4YO is yet to win a black-type race but showed she possesses plenty of potential when finishing third behind Politeness in the Gr1 Myer Classic (1600m) at her most recent outing in the spring. "I think she will take a lot of improvement out of it [her first-up run]. She a quality horse and I'm training her to peak in Sydney a bit later on but she's had a couple of soft trials and she'll be pretty sharp at 1200m," trainer Ciaron Maher told Melbourne's Radio Sport National. "We'll ride her in her usual pattern [get back run on]. If she's good enough, good, if she doesn't get there I know she'll be pretty right to go next time." After Saturday, Azkadellia will have her next run in the Gr3 Mannerism Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 27 February before heading to Sydney for the Gr1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) and Gr1 Doncaster Mile.
The Inglis Summer Thoroughbred Sale concluded at Newmarket in Sydney on Friday with a clearance rate of 95 per cent. "Today's sale has been a great end to what has been a stellar year in the Newmarket Sale ring," said Inglis National Bloodstock Director Jonathan D'Arcy. "The outstanding clearance rate was helped by over 80 individuals registered for online bidding today and obviously this has become a big part of Inglis mixed sales throughout the year," D'Arcy said. Topping the sale was Gr1-placed 5YO Best Case (Savabeel x Ambitious) which was secured by Queensland-based Aquis Farm for $120,000. "We've got 25 two-year-olds coming through our system, and are in the process of adding a few proven gallopers such as Best Case into the stable. We are excited for our clients to get him to Aquis Farm where our trainer Brian Guy will be able to plan his 2016 campaign, which will hopefully take in some of the top races in Queensland and New South Wales," said Aquis Farm Racehorse and Sales Manager Kacy Fogden. The second top price was achieved by lightly raced 3YO filly Moodhilla (Exceed And Excel x La Guichet) who was sold for $82,000. Purchasers Yu Long Investments have had recent success with another of their Inglis mixed sale purchases, Our Voodoo Prince, which won the Pakenham Cup last week under the guidance of Darren Weir, who will take charge of Moodhilla also. The final Inglis sale in 2015 is the December Thoroughbred Sale, at Oaklands Complex in Melbourne this Friday 11 December. 140 Lots have been catalogued so far, with supplementary entries for the sale closing at 9.00am Monday 7 December.
Valachi Downs general manager Jonathan Scully has provided a brief update on former star Kiwi mare Silent Achiever (O'Reilly-Winning Spree, by Zabeel) who was sent to England earlier this year as part of the first stage of an ambitious breeding programme, reports theinformant.co.nz. The outstanding daughter of O'Reilly, who is owned by Valachi Downs principal Kevin Hickman, will be courted by some of the stars of the international stallion world, with the likes of Sea The Stars, Galileo and Dansili expected to be among her potential suitors. She was covered by the world's highest-ever rated racehorse, Frankel in September. "She took to her first service in early September, so she's well in foal," said Scully. "Kevin has yet to decide who she will go to next year, but he's got a range of lovely stallions to choose from." Trained by Roger James, Silent Achiever will be remembered as one of the best Kiwi mares of the modern era winning 10 of her 36 starts for over $3.1 million prize money, highlighted by four Gr1 victories in the New Zealand Derby, New Zealand Stakes, Ranvet Stakes and The BMW.
Able Friend (Shamardal-Ponte Piccolo, by Volksraad) was crowned Hong Kong Horse of the Year at a glittering ceremony at the Grand Hyatt on Friday night. The outstanding galloper, who won 4 Gr1 races this season, was also named Champion Miler and secured 59 per cent of the public vote to claim the Most Popular Horse title. The Australian-bred 5YO joins an elite group that includes Fairy King Prawn, Electronic Unicorn, Bullish Luck, Good Ba Ba and Ambitious Dragon as horses to have claimed Horse of the Year honours and the Champion Miler title in the same season. Able Friend was bred and sold by Stuart Ramsey's Scone-based Turangga Farm draft at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale to Hong Kong bloodstock agent George Moore for $550,000. The son of Shamardal has now won 12 of his 19 starts for $8,185,156 in prize money. Among the other winners on the night were Able Friend's trainer John Moore who claimed his seventh Champion Trainers title; Aerovelocity was named Champion Sprinter; Designs On Rome collected the Champion Middle-Distance Horse award; while exciting young sprinter Thewizardofoz, by Redoute's Choice out of champion NZ filly Princess Coup, claimed the title of Champion Griffin. Click here to view all category winners.
Allan Sharrock says a bigger and stronger Kawi (Savabeel-Magic Time, by Volksraad) is set to make a serious impact this spring, reports NZ Racing Desk. The New Plymouth trainer is keeping close tabs on his star galloper as the 5YO Savabeel gelding prepares for an ambitious early campaign beginning with the Gr2 Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on August 15. "I'm hoping to have him at the Foxbridge Plate and then we'll look at the triple crown at Hastings," Sharrock said. "As to whether he races in all three races there, we'll just play that as it comes but I think you'll see the real Kawi this year." Kawi spelled after his fast-finishing third behind Pondarosa Miss in the Gr1 Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie in April, capping a string of high-class performances, including wins in the Listed Anniversary Handicap (1600m) at Trentham and the Gr3 Taranaki Cup (1800m) at New Plymouth. "He's with the pre-trainer at the moment and he'll be back to me on the first of July," Sharrock said. "I'd like to give him a couple of jump-outs before the Foxbridge Plate and he might have an exhibition gallop here on Opunake Cup day [at New Plymouth on July 15]." He added: ""He had five weeks out after the Easter but he's only being paddock-trained at the moment, so basically it's an extended holiday. I'm really happy with him. He's probably put on 50 kilos. He's a big horse now."
Dermot Weld has outlined ambitious plans for richly talented Prince Of Wales's Stakes winner Free Eagle (High Chaparral-Polished Gem, by Danehill), which include top European features the Juddmonte International Stakes, Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, reports Racing Post. Held in the highest regard by Weld, the 4YO by High Chaparral vindicated his trainer's lofty opinion when defying an eight month absence from the track to defeat The Grey Gatsby in an exciting finish to the Prince Of Wales's Stakes. "It was one of those special days," Weld told At The Races. "He's a very talented horse, but unfortunately a lot of people never got the opportunity to see that. We're beginning to see it though." He added:"We always saw natural talent in him and then we had a chapter of problems, but that's behind us and it's onwards and upwards. He's got an excellent Group 1 behind him and hopefully we can go on to more Group 1 races with him." The sky appears to be the limit for the lightly raced Free Eagle, who has battled injury for much of his career in which he has won 3 of his 5 starts. "We haven't made final decisions yet, but you look at the Juddmonte International, you look at the Irish Champion Stakes and hopefully the Arc would be the final aim for him," said Weld. "He's a high-class horse over a mile and a quarter, but I have every reason to believe he'll get a mile and a half."
Dual Classic winner Mongolian Khan (Holy Roman Emperor-Centafit, by Centaine) has returned to the Cambridge stable of trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman as he prepares for an ambitious spring campaign aimed at the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, reports AAP. The 3YO Holy Roman Emperor colt has been back in work for about two weeks following an outstanding autumn prep in which he claimed both the New Zealand and Australian Derby's. Baker said Mongolian Khan is likely to make his seasonal reappearance in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on 12 September. Mongolian Khan has won 7 of his 9 starts for $1,908,333 earnings.
Trainer Tony McEvoy has confirmed that exciting 3YO Alpine Eagle (High Chaparral-Zephyria, by Zabeel) is back in work as he prepares for an ambitious spring campaign aimed at the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup, reports theinformant.co.nz. The High Chaparral colt emerged as a potential star when scoring a stunning win in the Gr2 Autumn Classic (1800m) and finishing a close second to Wandjina in the Gr1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in the autumn. The form out of the Australian Guineas has proven to be a strong with Wandjina going on to finish second behind Dissident in the Gr1 All Aged Stakes, and fourth-placed Kermadec winning the Gr1 Doncaster Mile. McEvoy believes Alpine Eagle is as good as any horse he has trained and says he has made the necessary physical improvement to be a force in the spring. "He's been back in for about three or four weeks. He put on 45 kilos, which tells me that he needed the spell and I'm really pleased," McEvoy said. "I haven't quite sorted his preparation out but his goals will be the Cox Plate or Caulfield Cup. I'm hoping as a four-year-old, now that he gets it (mentally), he might come back and be a bit sharper. But 2000 to 2400, that'll be his range." He added: "If you look at a lot of the top three-year-olds on the Timeform ratings, a lot of those have retired and gone to stud. The form after his Guineas held strong, so I'm very excited going forward."
High class New Zealand mare Pondarosa Miss (High Chaparral-Bak da Princess, by Danske) is likely to launch her Melbourne spring carnival campaign in the Gr3 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in August, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 4YO daughter of High Chaparral, who broke through for a well deserved Gr1 success in the Easter Handicap (1600m) at Ellerslie last month, is being prepared for an ambitious tilt at the Melbourne Cup in November. "That's what we're looking at as long as everything goes well," said Darrel Hollinshead, who co-bred and part-owns the mare with his father and trainer Peter. "She's out for a month and she's jumping out of her skin." Hollinshead said Pondarosa Miss may make an appearance during the Triple Crown series at Hastings before leaving for Australia.
Our Boy Malachi (Top Echelon-Rusticate, by Rustic Amber) has returned to his native Queensland to run in the $500,000 Gr1 BTC Cup (1200m) at Doomben on Saturday, reports horseracing.com.au. Known as the 'Rockhampton Rocket', the brilliant sprinter boosted his remarkable record to 17 wins from 19 starts when saluting in the Gr3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m) at Randwick two weeks ago and will now embark on an ambitious winter campaign aimed at the Gr1 BTC Cup, Gr1 Doomben 10,000 and Gr1 Stradbroke Handicap (1350m). Co-trainer Michael Hawkes labelled Our Boy Malachi a "serious galloper" after his Hall Mark Stakes win and can't see why the 6YO won't continue his tremendous winning streak. "Why can't he keep winning?" Hawkes told the Gold Coast Bulletin. "He has done everything right and the biggest thing is the horse is a winner." he added, "It's been a phenomenal story and if we could win a Group 1 with him that would be the icing on the cake." Jockey Tommy Berry, who was aboard Our Boy Malachi in his most recent outing, believes the striking chestnut has what it takes to be competitive at the elite level. "I am looking forward to seeing what he has got to offer in Queensland," Berry said. "He can't do anymore then what he has done thus far and he is quite exciting."
Cyrus Rocks, the unraced 2YO whom Gai Waterhouse has nominated for Royal Ascot, will make his eagerly anticipated debut at Canterbury today. The Bernardini colt was last week given an ambitious entry by Waterhouse for the inaugural Gr1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June, and will take the first step in realising that goal when he steps out in the opening race at Canterbury over 1100m. Waterhouse's assistant racing manager, Emma Pearce, told ANZ Bloodstock News that the stable was expecting a bold performance from the colt. "He is going really, really well," Pearce said. "He's a colt Gai has always had a very high opinion of and she was delighted with how he has trialled so far. He's taken a lot of improvement from those [trials] and we are expecting a very good run from him [today]." Pearce said that a trip to England would be contingent on Cyrus Rocks making a winning debut. "If he was going to make the trip, we would expect to see a winning performance from him and to come through the run well and progress from it," she said.
A special ceremony took place at Sha Tin Racecourse on Sunday to bid farewell to two-time Hong Kong Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon, who has been retired to his native New Zealand, reports NZ Racing Desk. Ambitious Dragon (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon) retired with a record of 13 wins from 30 starts with stakes of HK$58,722,850 (about NZ$9.8 million) to make him the sixth-highest earner in Hong Kong racing history. Trainer Tony Millard prepared the brilliant son of Pins to win a host of big races at Sha Tin, notably Gr1 victories in the Audemars Piguet Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the 2012 Hong Kong Mile. He recorded a further five wins at the top level, including the Hong Kong Derby. Ambitious Dragon was selected and purchased from breeder Pat Lowry as a yearling for owner Johnson Lam by the Masterton-based bloodstock agent Bruce Perry. "I am delighted to confirm that Ambitious Dragon will be coming back to New Zealand to Kiwikawa Farm, the place where he was raised," said Perry. "He will enjoy a well-earned retirement, getting the best of care in a familiar environment."
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Gai Waterhouse has taken the unprecedented step of entering an unraced 2YO for Royal Ascot, reports racing.com. Cyrus Rocks, a colt by Bernardini out of the Flying Spur mare Lustre Lady, has been nominated for the inaugural running of the Gr1 Commonwealth Cup in June. Waterhouse's racing manager Adrian Bott confirmed the ambitious move. "Gai's all about looking internationally and keeping an open mind with these type of horses," Bott said. "She's wanted to take a two-year-old over to Europe for a number of years and this one may well be the likely prospect. Obviously it's still very early days and it would take a lot to confirm that move and take the horse over there but there's no harm in putting in a nomination." Cyrus Rocks, who has impressed in two recent barrier trials, will make his debut at Canterbury on Wednesday week. "That will give us an indication of which way he's going," Bott said. "He's doing everything right at the moment and (we've) been very impressed by what he's shown." He added, "He's a type with a lot of scope for improvement." The Commonwealth Cup, which replaces the Buckingham Palace Stakes, will be run on the Friday card for £375,000 and is open to 3YO colts, geldings and fillies. This only adds to the challenge for Cyrus Rocks, who will be regarded as a 3YO when he touches down in Britain despite really only being two.
Group winner Proisir, a son of the leading international Group One winner and producer Choisir, will commence the next phase of his career at Rich Hill Stud in New Zealand this year. Under the care of the champion Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse, Proisir (Choisir-Prophet Jewel, by Encosta De Lago) won his first two starts in commanding style before he distanced his rivals by six lengths in the Gr3 Spring Stakes at Newcastle. The colt then stepped straight up to Gr1 company to finish a close second behind the New Zealand Horse of the Year Dundeel in the Spring Champion Stakes, before rounding out his first preparation with a creditable midfield finish - the only unplaced start of his career - in the Gr1 Cox Plate behind Ocean Park. Proisir then kicked off an ambitious autumn program with a third placing in the Gr2 Hobartville Stakes behind multiple Gr1 performers Pierro and Rebel Dane. He again pushed Dundeel close when runner-up in the Gr1 Randwick Guineas, in a field that also featured top-flight gallopers Rebel Dane, Ferlax, and Sacred Falls. Proisir was subsequently sidelined by injury and after a rehabilitation period, he joined Peter and Paul Snowdon's stable. He trialled brilliantly late last year, but a decision was made to retire him after a recurrence of the injury. "Proisir was a legitimate Group One performer and fortunately he has the looks and pedigree to complete a quality package," Rich Hill's John Thompson said. "His sire Choisir has been a world-wide success story for Australian racing and Coolmore Stud. Choisir's first sire son at stud Starspangledbanner has made a sensational start to his career in both Hemispheres." He added, "Proisir's dam is a multiple winning mare by champion sire Encosta De Lago so he possesses all the genetic ingredients to make a successful sire. He will be a very valuable addition to the New Zealand stallion ranks." Proisir will stand at Rich Hill alongside Pentire, Shocking and Jimmy Choux at an introductory fee of NZ$7000 + GST, with a live foal guarantee.
Trainer David Hayes has mapped out an ambitious autumn campaign for talented mare Star Fashion (Street Cry-Elegant Fashion, by Danewin) who resumes in the Gr3 Frances Tressady Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on Saturday, reports racing.com. Hayes, who trains in partnership with nephew Tom Dabernig, said he had Gr1 options in both Sydney and Hong Kong in mind for the daughter of Street Cry and Hong Kong Derby winner Elegant Fashion if she can run well first-up. "I think she'll sprint well fresh and if she was to win first-up I might keep her fresh and head straight to the Queen Of The Turf (1600m) in Sydney," Hayes said. "She's owned in Hong Kong so if she ran well in that then I might take her for the international races in Hong Kong that follow after the Sydney Carnival if she was invited." Star Fashion hasn't raced since finishing 7th in the Gr2 Matriarch Stakes at Flemington on 8 November, but prior to that landed two wins in succession including the Gr3 Ladies Day Vase (1600m) at Caulfield.
Young trainer Sam Kavanagh's ambitious plan of aiming Tales Of Grimm at the Gr1 Doncaster Mile in April appeared more than reasonable after the European import made an impressive Australian debut in the Hong Kong Racehorse Owners Association Trophy (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday. Having his first start since finishing sixth in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot in June last year, Tales Of Grimm (Distorted Humor-Stupendous Miss, by Dynaformer) showed he could be a force to be reckoned with during the autumn carnival in Sydney when letting down with a smart turn of foot to score by 0.2-length over handy sprinters Tahitian Black and Earnest Ernest. "He's a pretty nice horse. We put a lot of work into buying these Europeans and I've got some great owners who have supported me here," Kavanagh told TVN. "He's got a fair bit of improvement in him so we will see where we end up. The nominations for The Championships are on Monday so we might see him in the Doncaster. He looks pretty decent." The $3 million Gr1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) will be run at Royal Randwick on day one of The Championships (4 April). By two-time Champion North American sire Distorted Humor from the Gr2-winning Dynaformer mare Stupendous Miss, Tales Of Grimm is a full-brother to Gr2 Zabeel Mile winner Do It All and is a direct descendant of South Ocean, dam of champion European racehorse Storm Bird. Tales Of Grimm has now won 3 of his 17 starts for $124,346 earnings.
Trainer Roger James has provided an update on outstanding Kiwi mare Silent Achiever (O'Reilly-Winning Spree, by Zabeel) who is scheduled to resume in the Gr2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday week (14 February). Speaking to RSNs Shane Anderson, James confirmed that the 4-time Gr1 winner will campaign in Sydney during The Championships with either the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) or Gr1 The BMW (2400m) as her main goal. Longer term, James and Silent Achiever's owner Kevin Hickman have mapped out an ambitious plan that involves travelling to Europe for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and a mating with the world's highest-ever rated racehorse, Frankel. "She's on the plane in about ten days time to run first-up in the Apollo Stakes on the 14th," James said. "We have three races lined up for her in Europe, all Gr1s, but before we can concentrate too much on that we've got Sydney first." He added, "As I say we start in the Apollo, then two weeks to the Chipping Norton and then three weeks to the Ranvet. After the Ranvet we've got to make a decision as to whether she runs in the Queen Elizabeth or the BMW."
Trainer Lee Freedman has confirmed that the Australian Derby is a potential target for promising young stayer Nozomi (Street Cry-Rose of Danehill, by Danehill), reports horseracing.com.au. The Geelong Classic (2200m) winner was sent for a spell after finishing third behind Preferment and Bondeiger in the Victoria Derby (2500m) in November, but is now back in work preparing for a similarly ambitious autumn campaign. "I really haven't settled down and had a good look at the calendar and I know to be ready for a race like the ATC Derby he will need to have run by February and I'm guessing that is the best time (to resume)," Freedman said. "It depends on how strong the Sydney Derby is looking because there are so many options in the autumn." He added, "There is the South Australia Derby and a host of races that we could aim at if we don't think he is ready for Sydney. He has certainly strengthened up since the spring." Freedman compared the son of Street Cry to his former Caulfield Cup winner Mummify, and said he was one of the most exciting horses in the stable. "He is built in the mould of a really good stayer," Freedman said. "He is a big strong horse. He needs to take the next step, but he reminds me, not in type, of a horse like Mummify, a horse that keeps improving with each start and looks like he will get a really solid 2400 metres."
Former Hong Kong sprinter Time After Time (Danehill Dancer-Recurring, by Pentire) is being set for the Gr1 Railway Stakes (1200m), a race his dam Recurring won for Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan in 2005, reports NZ Racing Desk. The 7YO Australian-bred gelding turned in an eye-catching New Zealand debut in the Listed Counties Bowl at Pukekohe on 22 November where he was tightened for room before finishing a close seventh. "He didn't have a lot of luck and if a few of those gaps had opened up he would have finished closer," said Margaret Carter, who trains in partnership with her husband Tim. The Cambridge couple are now racing Time After Time with his Hong Kong owner David Kam. "He's our number one client in Hong Kong and we've always had a few horses for him," Carter said. "This one has got a few joint problems so we have to manage him carefully and we're still learning about him, but we know the ability he's got." Time After Time showed plenty of ability when racing in Hong Kong, winning five races and finishing runner-up to two-time Horse of the Year Ambitious Dragon in the Gr1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup at Sha Tin last year. Saturday's Gr3 Concorde Handicap at Ellerslie will be Time After Time's last run before returning for to the same venue for the Railway Stakes on Thursday, 1 January.
Meanwhile, Rich Enuff's Caulfield Guineas conqueror Shooting To Win (Northern Meteor-Listen Here, by Elusive Quality) has been back in work for three weeks for trainers Peter and Paul Snowden, reports racingnetwork.com.au. Team Snowden is planning an ambitious autumn campaign for the top-class colt, which may include a tilt at the Gr1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on 4 April. "He will come back and run in the Royal Sovereign (Gr2, 1200m), Hobartville (Gr2, 1400m) and the Randwick Guineas (Gr1, 1600m), then we will assess where he's at," Snowden said on Monday. Snowden said a start in Australia's premier mile contest would depend on how well Shooting To Win was performing at the time. "What it comes down to is whether he's good enough – it's as simple as that," he said. "I don't think we'll stretch him past a mile this autumn." Shooting To Win is a full-brother to Alan Bell's exciting sprinter Deep Field and hails from arguably the most outstanding family in the studbook. His fifth dam is none other than legendary broodmare Eight Carat, dam of champion galloper Octagonal, his freakishly talented brother Mouawad, and fellow Gr1 winners Kaapstad, Diamond Lover and Marquise. Other esteemed family members include Viscount, Tristalove, Shower Of Roses, Viking Ruler and Don Eduardo.
At Ellerslie in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's dual Gr1-winning stallion Tavistock (Montjeu-Upstage, by Quest For Fame) added a black-type quinella when 3YO filly Tavy (Tavistock-The Cat's Whiskers, by Tale of the Cat) scored by a long neck for trainer Roger James in the NZ$50,000 Listed Trevor Eagle Memorial (1500m) for 3YOs, over 3YO geldings Midnitemagicman (Tavistock-Keep Alight, by Keeper) & Ambitious Unicorn (Pins-Peep Show, by O'Reilly). This was the first stakes victory for the promising Tavy who took her record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 3 starts for NZ$50,150 earnings. "She was quite impressive when she won her maiden and that was a pretty smart performance today – Vinnie never touched her," trainer Roger James told NZ Racing Desk. "I think she'll get 2000 metres and there's a lot ahead of her." Bred and part-owned by the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, Tavy is likely to return to Ellerslie for a Gr2 mile assignment before she is stepped up in distance. "Her next start will be the Eight Carat Classic I would imagine," James said. Tavy was purchased by James Bester for NZ$40,000 at the 2013 NZB Select Yearling Sale from the draft of Brighthill Farm.
At Sha Tin in Hong Kong, European champion 4-time Gr1-winning former Darley shuttler Shamardal (Giant's Causeway-Helsinki, by Machiavellian) added a Group success when 5YO gelding Able Friend (Shamardal-Ponte Piccolo, by Volksraad) scored by 2.25-lengths for trainer John Moore in the Gr2 Jockey Club Mile (1600m), over 6YO gelding Gold-Fun (Le Vie Dei Colori-Goodwood March, by Foxhound) & 8YO gelding Ambitious Dragon (Pins-Golden Gamble, by Oregon). Able Friend took his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Mile & Gr2 HKJC Chairman's Trophy) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Cup & Gr1 Hong Kong Derby) from 13 starts for $2,220,717 earnings. From the stakes-winning NZ-bred mare Ponte Piccolo, Able Friend was a $550,000 purchase by his trainer John Moore at the 2011 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Turangga Farm.
At Moonee Valley in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's reigning Champion Australian Sire Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) celebrated a Gr1 success when 5YO gelding Lankan Rupee (Redoute's Choice-Estelle Collection, by Stravinsky) scored by 0.1-length for trainer Mick Price in the $1 million Gr1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, over 5YO mare Angelic Light (Holy Roman Emperor-Flashed, by Fuji Kiseki) & 6YO gelding Famous Seamus (Elusive City-Clinique, by Dance Floor). Bred & owned by Mr Muzaffar Yaseen's Teeley Assets Ltd, Lankan Rupee had to survive an ambitious double protest from second and third placed horses Angelic Light and Famous Seamus to register his fourth Gr1 victory. He took his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 TJ Smith Stakes, Gr1 Newmarket Handicap, Gr1 Oakleigh Plate, Gr2 Rubiton Stakes, Gr3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes & Listed VRC Dilmah Earl Grey Stakes) & 5 placings (including the Gr1 Moir Stakes) from 19 starts for $3,568,010 earnings. "He is just a rocket this horse out of the machines and he grabbed the bit between his teeth," Newitt said. "He didn't really get a breather, but I dragged him around the corner and let him rail up." He added, " If they are good enough to run him down good luck, but I've said all along that I just can't wait to get him to Flemington and down the straight because I know he will improve out of sight," Newitt said referring to the Gr1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on 8 November. From the Gr3-winning Stravinsky mare Estelle Collection, Lankan Rupee hails from the same family as Victoria Derby winning stallion Grosvenor, Australian Oaks winner Mahaya, and her half-sister Shadea, the dam of champion racehorse and stallion Lonhro.
Former Hong Kong Horse of the Year Military Attack (Oratorio-Almaaseh, by Dancing Brave) made a winning debut for new trainer Caspar Fownes when resuming with an impressive victory in the Gr2 Sha Tin Trophy (8 furlongs) at Sha Tin on Sunday, reports scmp.com. Fownes saddled up Military Attack (ridden by Zac Purton) for the first time since transferring from the stable of John Moore and the four-time Gr1 winner responded brilliantly to defeat Gold-Fun in a photo, while Ambitious Dragon's first start since April 2013 produced an outstanding third, less than a length away. Military Attack will now be aimed at the Gr1 Hong Kong Cup at the International meeting in December. Fownes said he would have been happy to run in the "first four or five" over 1600m first-up, so was thrilled to emerge victorious from the race. "I gave him a nice prep to have him ready but a bit fresh for this and he only had one trial so there's definitely improvement to come," said Fownes. "We know he'll be better with more distance but then so will Designs On Rome and when we meet again over 2,000m in three weeks' time, then we'll really know where we all are."
Evergreen Hong Kong galloper Ambitious Dragon appears set to resume his racing career later this month, reports racing.smcp.com. A dual Horse of the Year in Hong Kong, Ambitious Dragon (passed-in for NZ$47,500 as a yearling at the 2008 NZB Select Sale at Karaka) completed his second trial (over 1000m) as he attempts a comeback after suffering a serious tendon injury that has seen him sidelined since the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in March 2013. The son of Waikato Stud stallion Pins has a record of 13 wins (also including 2013's Gr1 Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup, 2012's Gr1 Hong Kong Mile, Gr1 Hong Kong Gold Cup & Gr1 Stewards Cup, 2011's Gr1 Hong Kong Derby, Gr1 Hong Kong Classic Cup & Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup) & 5 placings (including 2012's Gr1 Champions & Chater Cup) from 26 starts. Ambitious Dragon is trained by Tony Millard, who intimated "the eight-year-old will resume in the Gr2 Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy on October 26."
Australian Oaks winner Rising Romance (Ekraar-Post Romance, by Postponed) will return to the scene of her classic autumn victory when she trials at Randwick on Friday, reports theinformant.co.nz. The Donna and Dean Logan-trained 4YO will fly from Auckland to Sydney today as she steps up preparations for an ambitious spring campaign aimed at the $2.5 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 18 October. "I'm very happy with her, she's galloping super and looking great," said Donna Logan, who will also travel to Sydney to supervise the Ekraar mare's trial. "She runs over 1200 metres on Friday and James (McDonald) will ride her. We're hoping he'll be able to stick with her, but that will depend on his other commitments." Before venturing south to Melbourne, Rising Romance will have three runs in Sydney beginning with the Gr3 Tramway Stakes (1400m) on Saturday week, followed by the Gr1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and Gr3 Craven Plate (2000m). "It's always been the plan to start her off in Sydney," Logan added. "We want her to be peaking when we get to Melbourne and the races in Sydney suit. The only worry is the weather, but hopefully it will clear and once it does those tracks come right pretty quickly."
Exciting colt Divan will open his spring campaign in the Cable Beach Club Resort & Spa Plate (1400m) at Sandown on Wednesday, reports racingvictoria.net.au. The son of Zabeel, who is out of 7-time Gr1-winning Kiwi mare Seachange, created a huge impression on debut in April when storming home from near last to claim third behind Merion in the Listed ANZAC Stakes (1400m) at Flemington. Divan, who will carry the familiar navy blue and white silks of leviathan owner Lloyd Williams, will be ridden by top jockey Damien Oliver with the pair drawn in barrier 17. The Robert Hickmott-trained colt is among the leading fancies for the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 11 October. He is also nominated for the WS Cox Plate at Moonee Valley two weeks later. Team Williams will also use Wednesday's Sandown program to unveil imported 5YO Timikar in the Le Pine Funerals Handicap (1600m). By Dynaformer, the sire of 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain, the gelding has only had two career starts; finishing fourth on debut over 1400m in Ireland behind Foundry before winning his maiden over 2400m. Timikar hails from a prolific Gr1-producing European family that includes Irish Champion Stakes, Beverly D Stakes, & EP Taylor Stakes winner Timarida, Falmouth Stakes winner Pugnacity, & Locking Stakes winner Relkino.
South African trainer Vaughan Marshall is planning an ambitious campaign for his exciting 3YO MLjet (Jet Master-Subyan Dreams, by Spectrum) who is now back in Cape Town, reports goldcircle.co.za. Marshall said: "He is going to run in the Selangor Cup at Kenilworth on 22 November although the Cape Classic (25 October) is an option. I would like to give him two races because straight after the Cape Guineas (20 December) he goes to Jo'burg to be prepared for the Triple Crown." The Jet Master colt won his first two starts at Clairwood in impressive fashion before finishing an unlucky third behind Harry's Son in the Gr1 Premier's Champion Stakes at Greyville (beaten a neck). The strength of the form surrounding MLjet is underscored by the fact that the Australian-bred Harry's Son was crowned Champion 2YO colt at the recent Equus Awards in South Africa. From the Spectrum mare Subyan Dreams, MLjet is a half-brother to dual Gr1-placegetter Felix The Cat.
Patrick Payne has described new stable acquisition Zanbagh (Bernardini-Wild Iris, by Spectrum) as the "ideal Caulfield Cup horse" ahead of the mare's seasonal opener in Melbourne on Saturday week, reports horseracing.com.au. Previously trained by the late Guy Walter, Zanbagh is about to embark on an ambitious spring campaign geared towards the $3 million Gr1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on 18 October. "We think she's an ideal Caulfield Cup horse. With the way she's rated at the moment and the way the weight scale is, it should suit her," Payne told AAP this week. The 4YO daughter of Bernardini and Australian Oaks winner Wild Iris will resume in a 1500m handicap at Moonee Valley on 23 August before heading to another non-stakes race under the same conditions over a mile a fortnight later. Zanbagh will then have her third run in the Gr3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on 20 September. "The Naturalism Stakes will determine where we go with her," Payne said. The Naturalism Stakes winner is exempt from the Caulfield Cup ballot and Payne confirmed that should Zanbagh win that race she would definitely be an acceptor for the world's richest mile-and-a-half handicap. "If she was able to win that then she would be showing signs she is a Caulfield Cup horse," he added.
Meanwhile, Wayne Hawkes also gave an update on lightly raced but promising duo La Amistad and Leebaz, who have both been set ambitious targets in the spring. La Amistad, a three-quarter sister to champion mare Makybe Diva, will attempt to emulate her older sibling by aiming at the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on 4 November. "She's back in the stable at Sydney after having a few weeks off," Hawkes told RSN. "If she's going to go to the Melbourne Cup then she has to do everything spot on, you can't afford to miss one little gallop." He added, "Nothing has been planned with her. She's passed one qualifying clause for the Melbourne Cup, she's going to be a long way down the weights, so she needs to step up to the plate and start winning a lot of races to end up getting into the race." As for talented 4YO Leebaz (Zabeel-Polish Princess, by Polish Precedent), Hawkes said the son of Zabeel's spring program would be geared towards the Cox Plate and Caulfield Cup. "He's only just come back into the stable but he's done really well. He looks a treat. He's probably my favourite horse in the stable because he's so exciting. He just keeps getting better this bloke. We'll probably give him four runs. He might end up in the Cox Plate but probably the Caulfield Cup."
Matamata trainer Ken Kelso has confirmed that star Kiwi filly Bounding (Lonhro-Believe'n'succeed, by Exceed and Excel) will embark on an ambitious campaign aimed at the major sprints during the upcoming Melbourne Spring Carnival, reports NZ Racing Desk. "She's been back in work nearly a month and she's coming along really well," Kelso said. "I'll just play it by ear with her. Whether she kicks off here or goes straight to Australia, it's probably really just down to track conditions. It's hard to set a programme for horses at this time of year here but the plan is to get her to Australia for the two Group One sprints in Melbourne." He added, "It all hinges on how she's coming up but if we go straight to Australia, she'll probably have a trial here first. Otherwise we'll try and find a suitable 1200m race here for her before we go." Bounding's two main targets are the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley on 24 October and the VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on 8 November. The Gr1 Railway Stakes winner has been named among the finalists for the sprinter and 3YO categories for the annual New Zealand Horse of the Year awards. "She's got a royal chance in sprinter of the year," Kelso said. "She was the first horse since Gold Hope to win the Railway against the older horses as a three-year-old filly in 33 years and she carried more weight than Gold Hope did too."