Veteran jockey Jeff Lloyd will get one more chance to ride another Group 1 winner in Brisbane when Invincible Gem lines up in the $500,000 weight-for-age Tattersall's Tiara (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday, reports Sky Racing. The 57 year-old South African-born hoop has indicated he will retire from the saddle at the end of this year, and the Tiara is the final Group 1 race for the Australian season. Lloyd last rode a winner of a Group 1 race when Pear Tart won the 2012 edition of the Tatt's Tiara. The Kris Lees-trained Invincible Gem is rated an $11 chance with TAB and is coming off a 9th place finish in the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) two weeks ago. "She seems to be well and Kris is pleased with her. Her run in the Stradbroke was solid," Lloyd said. After Saturday, Lloyd will return to his homeland to try and win South Africa's most prestigious race, the Group 1 Durban July. "It's a race I have been trying to win it for more than 40 years," he said.
Group 1 winner Inference (So You Think-Pontiana, by Redoute's Choice) has been retired and will stand at Chatswood Stud for the 2018 breeding season. He will stand his debut season at a fee of $8,800 inc GST. Trained by team Hawkes, Inference won 4 of his 17 starts for over $1 million in earnings. His biggest win was in the 2017 Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) where he defeated Invincible Gem and Comin' Through. He was also Group 1-placed in the VRC Derby and Rosehill Guineas. Chatswood's Greg Willis commented: "Chatswood has launched the stud careers of Flying Spur, Danzero, Invincible Spirit and more recently Reward For Effort. Inference will also be provided with the same opportunity. We are fortunate to have formed the base of a solid syndicate with renowned breeder Greg Peters to ensure he is well supported and has the chance to show what he can do as a sire."
At Scone in the NSW Hunter Valley, Darley's deceased shuttler & Gr1 Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry (Machiavellian-Helen Street, by Troy) added a black-type success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Osborne Bulls (Street Cry-Jerezana, by Lonhro) claimed a well-deserved maiden stakes victory when sprinting clear for a comfortable win in the $150,000 Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) for 3YO+, defeating Red Excitement & invincible Gem. A homebred for Darley and Godolphin, Osborne Bulls is out of the Listed Ramornie Handicap winner Jerezana. He improved his record to 5 wins and 5 placings from 10 starts for $317,700 in earnings.
Meanwhile, Godolphin trainer James Cummings is confident that promising sprinter Osborne Bulls will give a good account of himself when he makes his stakes debut in the $150,000 Listed Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Scone tomorrow. The 4YO son of Street Cry has established a good horse's record of 6 wins from 9 starts, but he faces by far his biggest test to date against a quality field that includes triple Gr1 winner Le Romain, Gr1 Winterbottom Stakes winner Takedown, and Gr2 winner and Gr1 Randwick Guineas runner-up Invincible Gem. "Osborne Bulls makes his Stakes debut in the Luskin Star after continuing to thrive after the closest of second placings at Randwick last start," said Cummings. "This race should set up nicely for him, and while he can get back, he should have the entire straight to wind up. He'd add more to his reputation if he can show himself in a good light against horses of this calibre."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) celebrated an elite race success when 7YO Australian-bred gelding Happy Clapper (Teofilo-Busking, by Encosta de Lago) showed he had returned from a break in tremendous order with a stylish first-up win in the $500,000 Gr1 weight-for-age Canterbury Stakes (1300m) for 3YO+, defeating Global Glamour & Invincible Gem. This was the second top-flight success for Happy Clapper after his Gr1 Epsom Handicap win in the spring which advanced his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Epsom Handicap, Gr2 Tramway Stakes, Gr2 ATC Villiers Stakes) & Gr3 Newmarket Handicap) and 11 placings (including the Gr1 VRC Emirates Stakes, Gr1 George Main Stakes, Gr1 ATC Doncaster Handicap – twice & Gr1 ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes) from 32 starts for $3,875,800 in earnings. "I just hope I haven't taken too much out of him first-up but who cares, it is a Group One," trainer Pat Webster told Sky Racing. Webster and owner-breeder Michael Thomas will now discuss the best options for Happy Clapper ahead of his primary autumn target, the $3 million Gr1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick on 7 April. Thomas is also the breeder and part-owner of Happy Clapper's half-brother Not A Single Cent (Not A Single Doubt) who was an impressive winner of Saturday's Gr2 VRC Sires' Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 7YO gelding Happy Clapper (Teofilo-Busking, by Encosta de Lago) powered home by 0.8-length for trainer Pat Webster in the $198,000 Gr2 Tramway Stakes (1400m). Given a patient ride by Josh Adams, Happy Clapper defeated 6YO gelding Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas) & 4YO mare Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible). The win took Happy Clapper's record to 8 wins (including the Gr2 ATC Villiers Stakes) & Gr3 Newmarket Handicap) and 8 placings (including the Gr1 ATC Doncaster Handicap – twice & Gr1 ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes) from 26 starts for $2,348,800 earnings. He is expected to line up in the Gr1 Epsom Handicap.
Kris Lees is expecting an improved second-up performance from triple Group One winner Le Romain (Hard Spun-Mignard, by Strategic) in Saturday's star-studded weight-for-age $1 million Gr1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield. "He worked well this morning [at Caulfield] and arrived down in good order," Lees told racenet. "He's come on really well from the encouraging first-up run so he's ready for 1400m," Lees said of the 5YOs first-up second to stable-mate Invincible Gem in the Gr2 Missile Stakes (1200m) in Sydney. Lees said Le Romain was likely to head to the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) after Saturday, but that he still hoped to secure a slot in the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 October. "He could still go to the Makybe Diva but if he gained a slot in the next week or so, I'd probably take him and give him one more run at home," Lees said. "If he got a wet track, he'd be right in the race. He beat Chautauqua over 1300m at weight-for-age."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Yarraman Park's Gr3-winning stallion I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit-Cannarelle, by Canny Lad) added a Group success when 4YO bay mare Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible-Diamond Day, by Marwina) resumed with a brilliant win in the $200,000 Gr2 Missile Stakes (1200m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate and three-time Gr1 winner Le Romain & The Monstar. Invincible Gem improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 Spring Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Randwick Guineas) from 10 starts for $544,850 in earnings. Trainer Kris Lees said Invincible Gem was now likely to head to the Gr3 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) for fillies & mares at Rosehill Gardens on 9 September. "She's come back in super order. She's a high quality mare," Lees told Sky Racing. "You never know how these fillies will come back in the early spring, but she's come back in terrific order." Lees added: "She will probably go to the Sheraco but her main aim is the Golden Pendant [Gr2 over 1400m at Rosehill] and then hopefully we can get to Melbourne for the Myer [Gr1 Myer Classic over 1600m]."
Meanwhile, trainer Kris Lees said he was delighted with the first-up performance of Le Romain in Saturday's Gr2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick. The three-time Gr1 winner remains on track for the inaugural $10 million The Everest (1200m) at Royal Randwick on 14 October, following his encouraging second behind classy stable-mate Invincible Gem in the $200,000 sprint feature. "He was exposed the whole way which we thought he might be," Lees told Sky Racing. "His condition probably just gave out the final 50 metres but he's in for a good preparation."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Coolmore Stud stallion and former Australian Champion racehorse So You Think (High Chaparral-Triassic, by Tights) celebrated a Gr1 triumph when 3YO colt Inference (So You Think-Pontiana, by Redoute's Choice) scored by 0.2-length for trainers Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes in the $1,000,000 Randwick Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, over the filly Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible-Diamond Day, by Marwina) and fellow colt Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock-Mica's Pride, by Bite The Bullet). Under a patient ride by Tommy Berry who scraped the paint on the outside rail to get up, Inference looked every inch a future Derby contender. Runner-up on debut last April as a 2YO where he rattled home in eye-opening fashion, Inference has been knocking on the door of a major race victory since last Spring. Saturday's win took his record to 4 wins & 3 placings (including the Gr1 VRC Derby & Gr3 Caulfield Classic) from 9 starts for $842,950 earnings.
The final field (14 runners) has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1 million Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) to be run at Royal Randwick this Saturday, 4 March. The $4.50 Tab favourite Comin' Through, a half-brother to multiple Gr1 winner Criterion, has drawn perfectly in barrier 4, while equal second favourites Man From Uncle and Inference have been set a difficult task after drawing wide in barriers 13 and 11 respectively. Those under double figure odds to have drawn well include Echo Effect ($9, barrier 2) and Invincible Gem ($9.50, barrier 6), while Victoria Derby winner Prized Icon ($7) has drawn the outside in gate 14. Click here to view all fields for Randwick's Saturday meeting.
Progressive filly Invincible Gem will be given her chance at Gr1 level by running in the $1 million Randwick Guineas (1600m) on 4 March. Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible-Diamond Day, by Marwina) boosted her record to 4 wins from 8 starts when bounding clear for a dominant 3.8 length win in the Gr3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick eight days ago. "We went into that race with an open mind but we definitely weren't expecting her to win in that fashion," trainer Kris Lees told racenet. "I don't know if she's necessarily coming out of the right form race but she's certainly in form. And from what I've seen I think she can be competitive."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Yarraman Park's Gr3-winning stallion I Am Invincible (Invincible Spirit-Cannarelle, by Canny Lad) added a Group success when 3YO filly Invincible Gem (I Am Invincible-Diamond Day, by Marwina) scored a dominant 3.8 length win for trainer Kris Lees in the $150,000 Gr3 Spring Stakes (1600m) for 3YOs, over fellow 3YO filly Faraway Town (Not a Single Doubt-London Calling, by Dehere) & 3YO gelding Salsonic (Hinchinbrook-Salsify, by Grand Lodge). Invincible Gem boosted her record to 4 wins and 2 placings from 8 starts for $237,850 earnings. Trainer Kris Lees said he would now look for another suitable black-type race for Invincible Gem over the carnival. "She has certainly surprised me this filly the level she has gone to," Lees told Sky Racing. "She's just a plain-looking little filly but she's just gone to a whole new level this preparation." Lees added: "She probably should be going for a break but it's hard to spell a filly when they are winning like that."