At Morphettville in South Australia, White Robe Lodge's regally bred stallion Raise The Flag (Sadler's Wells-Hasili, Kahyasi) added a black-type success when 5Y0 mare Etah James (Raise The Flag-Etah, by Danasinga) romped clear to win the $120,000 Gr3 Lord Reims Stakes (2600m) for trainer Matt Cumani over Master of Arts and Benzini. Etah James took her record to 6 wins from only 10 starts including a second earlier this year in the Listed Bagot Handicap for $238,765 in earnings. Utah James' dam is a sister to another handy dual Gr3-winning stayer in Tickle.
At Trentham in New Zealand, Cambridge Stud's deceased multiple champion sire Zabeel (Sir Tristram-Lady Giselle, by Nureyev) added a Group race success when grey 5YO New Zealand-bred gelding Von Tunzelman (Zabeel-J'Adane, by Danehill) finishing full of running to claim the second stakes win of his career in the $70,000 Gr3 Trentham Stakes (2100m) for 3YO+, defeating Devise & Benzini. The well-bred Von Tunzelman improved his record to 6 wins (including the Listed Kaimai Stakes) and 5 placings from 18 starts for $133,994 in earnings. Von Tunzelman is just the third foal to race from former smart racemare J'Adane (Danehill), who was placed three times at Gr1 level - namely in the Mudgway Stakes (behind champion Kiwi mare Seachange) & Kelt Capital Stakes (behind Princess Coup) in New Zealand, as well as the Gr1 Winter Stakes (behind Nova Star) in Queensland.
Jockey Kelly McCulloch is confident that a weight advantage can help Benzini turn the tables on his last-start conqueror in tomorrow's Listed Caloundra Cup (2400m) at the Sunshine Coast, reports NZ Racing Desk. Benzini (Tale of the Cat) was beaten 6.75 lengths when second to Self Sense in the Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) on 17 June, but with a 2.5kg weight swing in his favour McCulloch has no doubt the 7YO can exact revenge on Saturday. "The winner was pretty dominant, but his run was good on a track that he wasn't ideally suited to and he had that big weight," McCulloch said. "He has to carry a big weight again but at least he's down half a kilo this time and the other horse goes up a couple of kilos. The winner caught me a bit by surprise - he wasn't a horse I had put in my top two dangers - so hopefully he might have already had his day." History is against Benzini as no horse has carried more than 59kg to win the Caloundra Cup since it was first run in 1985. The Chris Waller-trained Index Linked eclipsed former New Zealand stayer Shenzhou Steeds' record of 58kg set in 2012 when he carried 59kg to win two years ago.
At Ipswich in south east Queensland, Darley's 2006 Champion 2YO Colt & 2007 Gr1 Kentucky Derby-winning shuttler Street Sense (Street Cry-Bedazzle, by Dixieland Band) added a black-type success when 6YO brown gelding Self Sense (Street Sense-Be My Person, by Personal Flag) outstayed his rivals when romping to victory in the $175,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) for 3YO+, defeating Benzini & Jumbo Prince. Registering the second stakes win of his career, Self Sense improved his record to 8 wins (including the Listed Kilmore Cup) and 12 placings from 40 starts for $664,140 in earnings. "The horse loved the ground which was a big thing in his favour today," local jockey Michael Cahill said after riding his first Ipswich Cup winner. "I knew he was in a positive mood doing his preliminary and he was able to race handy from his good barrier." Cahill added: "From the 1000 metres it was just a matter of getting an uninterrupted run."
Saturday's Gr3 Premier's Cup (2200m) at Eagle Farm, one of the Queensland winter carnival's signature staying races, was dominated by graduates of the Karaka sales complex. The race was won by Kaiser Franz (Savabeel), who cost $65,000 at the 2012 Premier Sale, and the runner-up was Zambezi Warrior (Pentire), who sold at the same Sale two years later for $75,000. Saturday's big race was the seventh win of Kaiser Franz's career and boosted his prize money earnings to $286,250. Trained by Robert Heathcote and ridden on Saturday by Robbie Fradd, the 6YO Kaiser Franz produced an irresistible finish to flash home and win the race by half a length. Zambezi Warrior was second, with the New Zealand-trained Benzini (Tale of the Cat) fourth. "He's beaten some good horses today," Heathcote said. "Today was his big test and maybe its pie in the sky to run him in the Brisbane Cup but the extra 200 metres next time will suit him."
Kelly McCulloch is hoping to do her sister proud when she combines with Benzini in tomorrow's Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in Brisbane, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Pukekohe-based jockey has taken the reins from her injured sibling Rosie Myers, who won the Gr2 Brisbane Cup on the Adrian and Harry Bull-trained stayer 12 months ago. "Rosie had a fall and broke a leg. She was desperate to get back to ride Benzini but the doctors have put her back in a moon boot and she is still out," McCulloch said. Benzini finished runner-up in the Gr1 New Zealand Stakes and third in the Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup before leaving for Brisbane. "I rode him in a barrier trial and it was a good effort to finish second behind what I am told is a smart horse (Perfect Dare)," McCulloch said. Benzini is rated a $26 chance with TAB.
At Riccarton Park in New Zealand, White Robe Lodge's multiple group-winning Australian-bred stallion Gallant Guru (Montjeu-Proud Halo, by Don't Say Halo) added a Group success when 8YO gelding Tommy Tucker (Gallant Guru-Lady Vital, by Yamanin Vital) posted the fifth stakes win of his career when saluting in the $100,000 Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, defeating Bloodstream & Benzini. Rising nine-years-old, Tommy Tucker improved his record to 15 wins (including the Listed CJC Easter Cup – twice) and 10 placings from 46 starts for NZ$348,046 in earnings.
Kelly McCulloch will keep the saddle warm for her sister Rosie Myers when Brisbane Cup winner Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) has his final hit-out on Saturday ahead of next month's Gr1 Hong Kong Vase, reports NZ Racing Desk. Trainers Adrian and Harry Bull accepted a last minute invitation for the 7YO gelding to join a star-studded field at Sha Tin for the international meeting on 11 December. Consequently, Benzini is a late entry for the Gr3 Eagle Technology Stakes (1600m) at Ellerslie with McCulloch booked for the ride with Myers already committed to engagements at Wanganui. Harry Bull will accompany Benzini to Hong Kong and his father Adrian is looking forward to the stable's first runner in South China. "It's really exciting and it will be a huge experience for Harry. The horse is well too," he said. McCulloch, who has won two races on Benzini, said she was happy to fill in for her younger sister at Ellerslie. "The mile will probably be a bit short for him, but with him going to Hong Kong it was a race that fitted in well," McCulloch said. In his second run back from his successful Queensland winter campaign, Benzini flashed home for second in the Gr3 OMF Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie earlier this month.
At Eagle Farm in Brisbane, former Coolmore shuttler Tale Of The Cat (Storm Cat-Yarn, by Mr Prospector) added a group success when 6YO gelding Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) scored by 0.3-length for trainers Adrian & Harry Bull in the $300,000 Gr2 Brisbane Cup (2400m), over fellow 6YO gelding Sir John Hawkweed (Sir Percy-Athene, by Rousillon) & 7YO gelding Junoob (Haafhd-Faydah, by Bahri). Benzini took his record to 5 wins (also including the Listed Kaimai Stakes) & 4 placings (including the Gr1 Livamol Classic, Gr3 Premier's Cup, Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup & Gr3 New Zealand Cup) from 11 starts for $461,171 earnings. He was a $25,000 yearling at the 2011 Magic Millions National Sale.
At Doomben in Brisbane, LP Stallions & Lauriston Park's triple Gr1-winning stallion Desert King (Danehill-Sabaah, by Nureyev) added a Group success when 5YO mare Real Love (Desert King-Flaming Heart, by Salieri) scored by 1-length for trainer Darren Weir in the $125,000 Gr3 Premier's Cup (2200m) for 3YO+, over 5YO entire Puccini (Encosta de Lago-Miss Opera, by Paris Opera) & 6YO gelding Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune). A homebred for prominent WA owner-breeders Bob & Sandra Peters, Real Love improved her record to 9 wins (including the Gr2 Perth Cup, Gr3 JRA Cup, Gr3 Asian Beau Stakes, Gr3 Queen's Cup & Listed St Leger) & 11 placings (including the Gr2 Perth Cup, Gr2 Western Australian Derby, Gr3 Western Australian Oaks, Listed Torney Night Cup, Listed Carbine Club of WA Stakes & Listed Natasha Stakes) from 27 starts for $1,140,410 earnings.
At Riccarton in New Zealand, Fairdale Stud stallion Howbaddouwantit (Rahy-Fair To The Wind, by Nijinsky) added a black-type success when 6YO gelding Authentic Paddy (Howbaddouwantit-Authentic Cross, by Cape Cross) scored by a half neck for trainer Lisa Latta in the NZ$100,000 Gr3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over fellow 6YO geldings Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) & Scapolo (Bachelor Duke-Kadesa, by Zabeel). This was a well-deserved maiden stakes victory for the consistent Authentic Paddy who took his record to 10 wins and 22 placings (including the Gr1 Captain Cook Stakes) from 54 starts for NZ$367,470 earnings.
New Zealand trainer Tony Pike says Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) favourite Sacred Master (Mastercraftsman-Trickle, by Storm Creek) is in excellent order ahead of Saturday's $500,000 staying feature at Ellerslie, reports theinformant.co.nz. A winner of 6 of his 12 starts, the 4YO Raffles Racing-owned gelding confirmed his status as the most promising stayer in the country when scoring a fast-finishing win in the Gr2 Avondale Cup (2400m) on 20 February. "The horse is really fit and well," Pike said. "He'll have his final serious gallop tomorrow [Tuesday] morning. We couldn't be happier with how he's going." He added: "You'd have to say he's one of the most exciting stayers in the country. He's already done a great job this season. He's gone from being a maiden on August 1 to being the favourite for the Auckland Cup. You can't ask for much better than that." Sacred Master is currently the $3.40 TAB favourite for the Auckland Cup ahead of Benzini and Farm Boy at $6 and $7 respectively.
At Riccarton in New Zealand, 7YO gelding Jimmy Mac (Zed-Go Annie Go, by Racing is Fun) claimed his first black-type success when scoring by 0.5-length for trainer Gene Andrew in the NZ$255,000 Gr3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) for 3YO+, over 6YO geldings Southern Sav (Savabeel-Ride the Waves, by Thunder Gulch) & Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune). Jimmy Mac took his record to 7 wins and 7 placings from 26 start for NZ$237,690 earnings.
At Hastings in New Zealand, Longspring Stud's beautifully bred stallion Colombia (Zabeel-Eight Carat, by Pieces Of Eight) celebrated a Gr1 success when 6YO New Zealand-bred gelding Addictive Habit (Colombia-Chasing the Habit, by Sky Chase) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer Lee Somervell in the $250,000 Gr1 Livamol Classic (2040m) for 3YO+, over fellow 6YO gelding Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) & 5YO mare Celebrity Miss (Civics-Classic Dame, by Classic Fame). "What a horse and I'm so pleased for Isabell Roddick, who bred him, as she's pretty ill and in hospital so this will be a tonic for her," Somervell told NZ Racing Desk. "He had that residual fitness from his Australian holiday. He came back stronger and he's such a warrior – he loves a battle." Bred by Hawke's Bay couple Graham and Isabel Roddick, Addictive Habit, who is out of a half-sister to champion Kiwi galloper Rough Habit, took his record to 10 wins (including the Gr2 Foxbridge Plate, Gr2 Coupland's Bakeries Mile & Listed Southbank Insurance Brokers Open Handicap) and 10 placings from 34 starts for $565,287 earnings.
A Brisbane Cup campaign for talented Hunterville stayer Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) has been ruled out through injury, reports NZ Racing Desk. The Adrian and Harry Bull-trained Benzini was rested after finishing sixth as second favourite in March's Gr1 Auckland Cup (3200m) following successive wins in the Wairarapa Cup (2050m) at Tauherenikau, the Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) at Matamata and the Nathans Memorial (2200m) at Ellerslie. He began his Brisbane build-up with a third placing in a trial at Wanganui at the beginning of April but injury ruled him out of a planned start in last Monday's Anzac 1600 at Awapuni. Harry Bull confirmed the campaign was over on Wednesday when he tweeted: "Benzini to spell with wrenched joint, be back for spring time".
At Matamata in New Zealand, former Coolmore shuttler Tale Of The Cat (Storm Cat-Yarn, by Mr Prospector) added a black-type success when 5YO gelding Benzini (Tale of the Cat-Paris Perfume, by Kurofune) scored by 0.75-length for trainers Adrian & Harry Bull in the NZ$50,000 Listed Kaimai Stakes (2000m) for 3YO+, over 6YO mare Classcoroc (Sirocco-Class Torque, by Masterclass) & 6YO gelding Surpass (Savabeel-Surprise, by Bakharoff). This was the first stakes victory for Benzini who took his record to 7 wins and 4 placings from 22 starts for NZ$120,045 earnings. Benzini was a $25,000 purchase by Beamish Bloodstock at the 2011 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale from the draft of Emirates Park.