Connections are expecting an improved performance from Age Of Fire when the talented Kiwi colt steps up in distance in Saturday's Gr1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney, reports NZ Racing Desk. A winner of the Gr1 Levin Classic (1600m) at Trentham in January, Age Of Fire (Fastnet Rock-Dragon's Tail, by Galileo) made his Australian debut when 11th (beaten 5.9 lengths) behind star colt Kementari in the Randwick Guineas (1600m) on 10 March. "I thought he was okay. He drew awkwardly, and he's got another one [barrier 15] on Saturday, and had to go back in a quick race," said Jamie Richards, who trains in partnership with Stephen Autridge. "His work since has been very good and the 2000 metres is what he's looking for now. He's been out to the beach a couple of times and he's enjoyed that." Age Of Fire's primary target is the $2 million Gr1 Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on 7 April.
Ace High is primed to return to the winner's circle in Saturday's $600,000 Gr1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m), according to his trainer David Payne. A last-start fourth behind Kementari in the Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m), Ace High (High Chaparral-Come Sunday, by Redoute's Choice) has proven that he is a dominant 3YO over a mile-and-a-quarter and beyond, winning the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) and Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last spring. "We are happy. He has had a nice prep and is peaking at the right time," Payne told ANZ Bloodstock News. "Barrier 11 won’t be a concern and the track is going to be wet, so he might be better off out wide. The wet shouldn’t worry him being by High Chaparral and he has form on soft tracks but over unsuitable distances. It was a good run in the Randwick Guineas and he was attacking the line." Payne added: "He had an 1800 metres gallop on Tuesday so he is spot on for Saturday."
Racing NSW has announced the following re-handicaps for the Group 1 Doncaster Mile:
The following horses are exempt from ballot in the Doncaster Mile:
Superstar mare Winx headlines a field of eleven horses nominated for Saturday's Gr1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill. The George Ryder is shaping as an intriguing race with the likes of star colt Kementari, dual Gr1 winner Happy Clapper, and Winx's highly promising younger stable-mate D'Argento set to contest the $1 million weight-for-age feature. The Chris Waller-trained Winx surpassed Black Caviar in setting a new Australian record of 16 Group 1 victories when she opened her autumn campaign with an effortless 7 length win in the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick two weeks ago. She will be chasing her 24th consecutive victory in the George Ryder, after which connections will decide whether or not to embark on an international campaign aimed at Royal Ascot. Click here to view Rosehill nominations.
Trainer John Sargent is confident Luvaluva's class will carry her a long way in Friday's Gr3 Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) for 3YO fillies. Luvavlua (Mastercraftsman-Wansesingyee, by Galileo), who showed she was among the better staying fillies in the country when winning the Gr2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and placing fourth in the Gr1 VRC Oaks in the spring, resumed with a slashing sixth behind boom colt Kementari in the Gr2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on 24 February. Her primary autumn target is the Gr1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on 14 April. "She is definitely bigger and stronger now and she will come into her own once the races get longer," Sargent told racingnsw.com.au. "She has to carry a penalty on Friday from her Wakeful Stakes win but she has definitely earned it. She will get back over the mile and find the line and will appreciate the big track." Sargent added: "This is the perfect stepping stone to her Group 1 targets in the Vinery Stakes and Australian Oaks and I'm confident she will prove to be right up there with the best fillies I have trained by the end of the autumn." Sargent has a huge opinion of Luvaluva, describing her as potentially the female he has ever trained. That is some statement, with the ex-pat Kiwi having guided the careers of VRC Oaks winner Kirramosa, Australian Oaks winner Gust Of Wind, Queensland Oaks winner Quintessential, and VRC Oaks runner-up Thunder Lady. "Luvaluva is showing the signs of being up there with all of them and might even be better than them but we will find that out in her next couple of runs," he said.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire & 11-time Gr1-winning World Champion Miler Lonhro (Octagonal-Shadea, by Straight Strike) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) confirmed himself as one of the rising stars of Australian racing with a brilliant win in the $1 million Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Pierata & Trapeze Artist. Trainer James Cummings was in awe of Kementari's dominant victory. "He is a serious horse," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "He's put them away in the style of a really high class colt. On that performance, he has to be one of the best in the country." He added: "This is the sort of horse that Sheikh Mohammed is in racing for." Cummings would not be drawn on whether Kementari would now head to next month's Gr1 Doncaster Mile where he will carry just 51kg. "We make no decisions on race day," he said. A homebred for Darley and Godolphin, Kementari advanced his record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 ATC Hobartville Stakes & Gr3 ATC Eskimo Prince Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas) from 9 starts for $1,368,250 in earnings. Kementari is out of the Redoute's Choice mare Yavanna making him a half-brother to the very talented Listed Lonhro Plate winner & Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes runner-up Telperion. Yavanna, herself, is a daughter of dual Gr3 winner Wild Queen and is a direct descendant of VRC & Queensland Oaks winner and celebrated blue hen Denise's Joy. This is one of the most sought-after families in the Australian Stud Book and includes the likes of 8-time Gr1 winner More Joyous, Australian Oaks winner Sunday Joy, 4-time Gr1 winner Tuesday Joy, deceased Gr1-winning stallion Thorn Park, and Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway, among many others.
At Flemington in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) added a stakes success to his dizzyingly successful record when 5YO mare Secret Agenda (Not A Single Doubt-Negotiate, by Red Ransom) took out the $120,000 Listed Bob Hoysted Stakes(1000m) defeating I'm Wesley & Crystal Dreamer. Secret Agenda took her record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 Gucci Stakes, Gr3 How Now Stakes, Gr2 Sapphire Stakes and Gr1 Ubet Classic) and 4 placings (including the Gr3 Champagne Stakes, Gr3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes, Gr3 Typhoon Tracy Stakes & Gr2 Sapphire Stakes) for $1,369,400 in earnings. Secret Agenda was a $120,000 yearling purchase from the draft of Arrowfield Stud at the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale. Secret Agenda is a half-sister to Gr3 Blue Diamond Prelude place-getter Sweetener and her second dam is the outstanding Gr1 Champagne Stakes winning filly Euphoria. It’s a pedigree page that includes boom Godolphin colt Kementari.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, what is likely to prove one of the form races of the season for 3YOs could equally turn out to have posed more questions than answers. Over the 1400m journey, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire & 11-time Gr1-winning World Champion Miler Lonhro (Octagonal-Shadea, by Straight Strike) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) made it back-to-back stakes wins in saluting by a length for trainer James Cummings in the $400,000 Gr2 Hobartville Stakes for 3YO colts & geldings. Not content to ride for luck, jockey Glyn Schofield pinged favourite Kementari from his wide barrier to sit just off Gr1 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist before wresting control soon after entering the straight. A significant plunge on recent Magic Millions 3YO Guineas hero Pierata after he had left the mounting yard was close to the money with the rising star 3YO colt closing strongly to finish just ahead of equally impressive hitherto unbeaten colt D'Argento. Godolphin's assistant trainer Darren Beadman was hugely impressed with the run, enthusing, "To run past a horse like Trapeze Artist, who has the runs on the board, was very impressive. This was a test for him (Kementari) today and he has put them away nicely. We have seen a star in the making." Kementari's win took his record to 3 wins (including last start's Gr3 Eskimo Prince Stakes) & 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas & Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude) from 8 starts for $781,250 earnings. The result sets up a hugely intriguing Gr1 Randwick Guineas in less than two weeks. Bookies have priced Kementari $3 favourite for the Sydney 3YO mile feature ahead of D'Argento ($4.20) and Pierata ($6.00). Fifth-placed dual Gr1 winner Ace High ran a bottler and will be much better suited over the mile for which he is at $15. Looking ahead to Kementari's Randwick Guineas engagement, Beadman was emphatic: "This colt has a mile written all over him. He is very brilliant but is a clean-winded horse and that will assist him in getting a strong 1600m."
Trainer Greg Hickman is quietly confident that rising star colt Pierata (Pierro-November Flight, by Flying Spur) will acquit himself well in tomorrow's Gr2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill. Pierata - who has built an imposing record of 4 wins from 8 starts including the Gr3 Vo Rogue Plate at Doomben and Listed (R) Magic Millions 3YO Guineas at the Gold Coast - faces the biggest challenge of his career in the $400,000 3YO feature. The son of Pierro will be up against a high-class line-up that includes Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist, VRC Derby & Spring Champion Stakes winner Ace High, Kementari, and boom colt D'Argento. "My jockey [Corey Brown] loves my horse and he's done well through the week," Hickman told racingnsw.com.au. "If he comes out and beats them all it'll be happy days. You don't get many horses that have had eight starts and won nearly $2 million and if worse comes to worse we can go back to the Gold Coast next year." Hickman added: "He's just improved every time he's gone around. He's done everything right and whatever happens, happens." Hickman says Pierata has the potential to be the best horse he has ever trained. That's high praise indeed when you consider he has prepared horses such as Gr2 winners Sportsman, Sir Dex, and the enigmatic but richly talented Private Secretary. "This bloke has been unassuming. Yes he's done everything right but he's not doing anything different to the other horses," he said. "The only thing with this bloke is there's nothing wrong with him. If he stays sound that's why he'll end up being better. I'm just happy to be racing in Group races again, having some nice horses around."
Highly regarded colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) will be out to test his Guineas credentials when he contests the $400,000 Gr2 ATC Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday. Kementari turned in one of the most eye-catching performances by a 3YO this season when resuming with a dashing win in the Gr3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on 10 February. The dynamic nature of the win prompted Godolphin trainer James Cummings to label the son of Lonhro "world class" and showed why the royal blue army consider him a leading contender for the $1 million Gr1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in Sydney on 10 March. "He was well-treated under the conditions of his last race. Now he has to step up again at level weights against some very good three-year-olds in the Hobartville," Cummings told Godolphin.com. "This is all about who's the best." Cummings added: "His first-up win spoke for itself...he was able to take his first-up run very well and he's held his form nicely. He's made me eager to get him back to the races." Chief among Kementari's rivals on Saturday are Magic Millions 3YO Guineas winner Pierata, Gr1 Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist, and Chris Waller's exciting unbeaten colt D'Argento.
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings has provided some important feedback for racing fans and punters alike as the racing season builds towards major events in both Sydney and Melbourne. Cummings made the decision to take Hartnell back to Osborne Park after his slashing Gr1 CF Orr Stakes win, noting, "He's a horse who loves to be turned out after his training, and we get the opportunity to do that up here. That gives me every chance to get him big and round and bouncing around before his next start. We've got plenty of options on the table and we haven't locked in anything yet because we need to see how he recovers from that big, first-up performance." Meanwhile, Cummings is brimming with confidence after the first-up pummeling Kementari gave his rivals in the Eskimo Prince Stakes, revealing that the boom son of Lonhro will have another run before being set for the Gr1 Randwick Guineas early in March.
At Warwick Farm in Sydney, Darley's former Champion Australian Sire & 11-time Gr1-winning World Champion Miler Lonhro (Octagonal-Shadea, by Straight Strike) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Kementari (Lonhro-Yavanna, by Redoute's Choice) posted a well-deserved maiden stakes victory with a dominant win in the $150,000 Gr3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Siege Of Quebec & Brave Song. A homebred for Darley and Godolphin, Kementari improved his record to 2 wins and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Caulfield Guineas) from 7 starts for $551,650 in earnings. Kementari is out of the Redoute's Choice mare Yavanna making him a half-brother to the very talented Listed Lonhro Plate winner & Gr1 ATC Sires' Produce Stakes runner-up Telperion. Yavanna, herself, is a daughter of dual Gr3 winner Wild Queen and is a direct descendant of VRC & Queensland Oaks winner and celebrated blue hen Denise's Joy. This is one of the most sought-after families in the Australian Stud Book and includes the likes of 8-time Gr1 winner More Joyous, Australian Oaks winner Sunday Joy, 4-time Gr1 winner Tuesday Joy, deceased Gr1-winning stallion Thorn Park, and Gr1 Vinery Stud Stakes winner Fenway, among many others.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's multiple stakes-winning stallion Not A Single Doubt (Redoute's Choice-Single's Bar, by Rory's Jester) celebrated an elite race success when 3YO chestnut colt Mighty Boss (Not A Single Doubt-Bullion Mansion, by Encosta de Lago) scored a shock win at odds of 100-1 in the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs, defeating Kementari & Catchy. Mighty Boss, whose second dam is the Gr1 Australasian Oaks winner La Volta, improved his record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 6 starts for $1,239,750 in earnings. Racing in the familiar colours of Mr Muzaffar Yaseen's Teeley Assets, Mighty Boss was purchased by his trainer and co-owner Mick Price for $180,000 at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale from the draft of Curraghmore Stud. Price was counting his lucky stars that Mighty Boss – who was the first emergency – even gained a start in the stallion-making feature. "I really liked this bloke as a yearling and I asked My Yaseen if I could keep ten percent," Price told racing.com. "Ever since he won his Sale maiden, we wanted to point him in this direction and see if we could get a run." Price added: "We crossed our fingers and a little bit of magic got us in the field." Price said Mighty Boss would now be spelled and aimed at the Gr1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington in March.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $2 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) for 3YOs to be run at Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne this Saturday. The stallion-making feature - which boasts top stallions on its honour roll such as All Too Hard (2012), Starspangledbanner (2009), Lonhro (2001), Redoute's Choice (1999), and Luskin Star (1977) - has attracted a capacity field of 16 horses with the Mick Price-trained Mighty Boss the lone emergency. Current race favourite Royal Symphony has drawn midfield in barrier 9, while others to draw a good gate include the only filly entered in the race, Catchy, in barrier 3, Levendi (7), Salsamor (8), Caulfield Guineas Prelude winner Perast (2), Gold Standard (6), and Showtime (1). In a competitive market, Royal Symphony is the most popular runner at $4 with TAB, ahead of Catchy at $5, Kementari ($5.50), and Perast next best at $10. Click below to view the Caulfield Guineas field.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added Group race success when 3YO bay colt Perast (Snitzel-Thousand Veils, by Zabeel) put up an excellent Caulfield Guineas trial when scoring a determined front-running win in the $175,000 Gr3 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) for 3YO colts & geldings, defeating Summer Passage & Kementari. This was the first stakes victory for Perast who improved his record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Gr2 Run To The Rose) from 8 starts for $181,000. Purchased by his trainer Paul Perry for $100,000 at the 2016 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale, Perast is out of the Listed SAJC St Leger (2400m) winning mare Thousand Veils (Zabeel) and hails from the successful US family of 4-time Gr1 winner Versailles Treaty and dual Gr1 winner General Assembly. Given his stamina laden pedigree, Perry said he expects Perast to improve even more when he steps up to a mile in the $1 million Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on 14 October. "He's a nice colt," Perry told racing.com. "He did well to hang on because they went hard in that race." He added: "I think the mile will suit him much better than today. The way he's bred, he's out of a Zabeel mare so I can only see him improving."
Despite having drawn the outside barrier of the 11 runners in tomorrow's Gr2 The Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens, favourite Menari has continued to tighten in markets over the past 48 hours, coming in from $2.80 to $2.40. Pariah is solid at $3.20, ahead of Kementari who has been nibbled at to close up to $4.60. The Godolphin-trained runner will have a red-hot Kerrin McEvoy in the irons from barrier 7, while Josh Parr is going to have to find a way to slot Menari in with cover somewhere, without leaving him with too much to do in the straight.
Godolphin head trainer James Cummings is heading into Saturday's Gr2 Run To The Rose (1200m) with the foresight that whatever the stable's well-regarded colt Kementari does against race fit opposition, he will be an even better horse over the 1400m of the Gr1 Golden Rose. "He's trialled up nicely and he's had a very solid grounding for his first up run," revealed Cummings, also acknowledging, "He's going into the race with a reputation built mainly on potential. It's now time for us to find out what he's made of." Pariah (barrier 3) and Menari (barrier 11) are the top two picks ahead of Kementari (barrier 7), and Cummings observed, "If he's in the mix against these horses first-up, then I'd say he's going to improve sharply over 1400 metres second-up. But he still has the speed to be with them on Saturday… He oozes quality and there's certainly something left in the tank for the future."