Trainer Greg Hickman is confident that classy galloper Pierata can provide him with his first winner of the Gr1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday. Pierata, who is the $5 second favourite for the Epsom behind stable-mates D'Argento and Unforgotten (both at $4.20), will be having his third run this campaign. The 4YO son of former champion colt Pierro resumed with a strong win over Kementari in the Gr2 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick, before a wide run proved his undoing when an unlucky second to Siege Of Quebec in the Gr3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at the same track two weeks ago. "His run [in the Bill Ritchie] was gallant. All he had to do was draw inside Tom Melbourne and he could have done it a bit easier," Hickman told Sky Racing. "You see where Tom Melbourne finished, he finished down the track, so Pierata's effort was nothing but gallant. He'd had six weeks between runs...it was the one that got away." Hickman added: "He's stepped up again from that. We're pretty happy with what we've done with him this week."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock-Mica's Pride, by Bite the Bullet) survived a protest to post a strong first-up win in fast time (1:22.17) in the $200,000 Gr2 Tramway Stakes (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating stable-mate Tom Melbourne & Dixie Blossoms. The well-related Comin' Through improved his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Doomben Cup, Gr2 Ajax Stakes, Gr3 Bill Ritchie Handicap & Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Doncaster Mile & Gr1 Randwick Guineas) from 18 starts for $1,786,521 in earnings. Retained to race by his breeder Sir Owen Glenn, Comin' Through is the ninth foal to race from the prolific producer Mica's Pride, dam also of multiple Gr1 winning stallion Criterion, Gr2 winner Varenna Miss and Listed winner Silently.
Promising stayer Divine Unicorn will resume in the Maroochy Surf Club Open Handicap (1400m) at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday in what connections hope will be the launching pad to an international campaign, reports Racing Queensland Webnews. The UK-bred gelding indicated a bright future awaits when he scored a strong win in the Gr3 Tattersall's Cup (2200m) in Brisbane in June. The Matt Dunn trainee is being set an ambitious program that includes the Gr1 Caulfield Cup and the Hong Kong international race day at Sha Tin in December. "He had a trial over 1000 metres at the Gold Coast a few weeks ago and he went well behind Big Tree and Tom Melbourne," Dunn said. "The trial was good enough for a first-up run over 1400m." Dunn added: "After this run he’ll go to Melbourne for a 1600-metre race at Moonee Valley in two weeks." Divine Unicorn (Lope De Vega-Inchberry, by Barathea) will then progress to the Gr3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on 22, the Gr1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on 6 October, before rounding out his Australian prep in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) two weeks later. All going well he’ll then head overseas for the Gr1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on 10 December.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $650,000 Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) to be run at Doomben racecourse in Brisbane this Saturday. A field of 13 horses has accepted for the weight-for-age middle-distance feature. First run in 1933, the Doomben Cup has been won by horses of the calibre of champion Bernborough (1946), Winfreux (1966), Rough Habit (1991-93), Durbridge (1994), Danewin (1995), Juggler (1996), Might And Power (1998), and Intergaze (1999). This year the $4.40 TAB favourite for the race is the Japanese import Ambitious who is set to benefit from a huge drop in class after his last-start eighth to champion Winx in the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in Sydney on 14 April. Next in the market is the Gr2 Hollindale Stakes winner Oregon's Day at $5, ahead of another Japanese import in Satono Rasen at $5.50, and Comin' Through and Tom Melbourne at $9.50. All other runners are available at double figure odds. Click below to view field and barriers.
At the Gold Coast in Queensland, Aquis Farm's Gr2-winning stallion Domesday (Red Ransom-In the Past, by Zafonic) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred mare Oregon's Day (Domesday-Oregon Seal, by Oregon) unleashed a strong sprint to claim the biggest prize of her career in the $350,000 Gr2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Man Of His Word. Oregon's Day, who is a half-brother to Gr2 Perth Cup winner Talent Show (Jeune) & Listed winner Oregon Spirit (Bel Esprit) from the Gr3-winning mare Oregon Seal, improved her record to 4 wins and 7 placings (including the Gr1 Coolmore Classic, Gr2 Emancipation Stakes, Gr2 Angus Armanasco Stakes, Gr3 Summoned Stakes) from 19 starts for $788,180 in earnings. Oregon's Day will now attempt to become just the second mare (along with Streama in 2014) to claim the Hollindale Stakes & Doomben Cup double when she contests the Gr1 Doomben Cup (2000m) on 19 May.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group race success when 4YO Australian-bred gelding Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock-Mica's Pride, by Bite the Bullet) showed he was on track for next month's Doncaster Mile when running home strongly to land the $200,000 Gr2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Radipole. Comin' Through improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr3 Bill Ritchie Handicap & Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Randwick Guineas) from 13 starts for $608,550 in earnings. Retained to race by his breeder Sir Owen Glenn, Comin' Through is the ninth foal to race from the prolific producer Mica's Pride, dam also of multiple Gr1 winning stallion Criterion, Gr2 winner Varenna Miss and Listed winner Silently. Trainer Chris Waller confirmed Comin' Through's primary target is the $3 million Gr1 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick on 7 April. "He's down right at the weights, he was placed in the Randwick Guineas as a three-year-old. He's never been far away in some of the best races in town," Waller told Sky Racing. "I'd be pretty bullish about his chances."
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the final Group 1 race of the year, the $1 million weight-for-age Kingston Town Classic (1800m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. Black Heart Bart, who will be chasing his sixth Group 1 victory, is the current $3.40 TAB fixed odds favourite for the race, ahead of Godolphin import It's Somewhat at $4.60 and local mare Perfect Jewel at $6. Perennial bridesmaid Tom Melbourne is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The field is:
At Ascot in Perth, Western Australia, Eliza Park's Gr1 Galaxy-winning stallion Magnus (Flying Spur-Scandinavia, by Snippets) added a black-type success when 5YO Australian-bred gelding Great Shot (Magnus-Satin Covers, by Dr Grace) caused a huge upset at odds of 31-1 when holding on for a brave win in the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Black Heart Bart & Tom Melbourne. Great Shot, who was a $31,000 purchase by Francis Edwards at the 2014 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale from the draft of Scenic Lodge, improved his record to 8 wins (including the Listed Old Comrade Stakes, Listed Cyril Flower Stakes & Listed Belmont Guineas) and 11 placings (including the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes, Gr3 WATC Asian Beau Stakes, Listed Bunbury Stakes & Listed Grandstand Cup) from 24 starts for $1,204,875 in earnings. From a daughter of Gr1 Orlando Wines (now known as the Gr1 Coolmore Classic) winner Satin Sand, Great Shot is a three-quarter brother to Melbourne stakes winning mare Gawne. He is also a half-brother to the dam of Casino Dancer, a multiple Group winner also sold by Magic Millions. Young trainer Rhys Radford, who was celebrating the biggest win of his brief career, commented: "I thought he'd run a great race. I couldn't get him any better, so we were just hoping his best was good enough," he told the West Australian. "I've never had a horse try as hard as he does. It's really a credit to him, he never gives it away. I couldn't be happier."
Defending champion Scales of Justice has retained favouritism for Saturday's Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot despite drawing barrier 13 in the $1 million feature, reports the West Australian. But with three of the four emergencies drawn inside him, Scales Of Justice (Not a Single Doubt-Beymatilla, by Umatilla) is likely to start from barrier ten in his bid for back-to-back Railway victories. Despite the unfavourable draw, he is currently the $5.50 TAB fixed odds favourite for the race ahead of 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart ($6) and Gr1 performer Tom Melbourne ($6.50). "I've got great faith in the horse," managing part-owner Chris Wells said. "If he's right he'll go very well." However, trainer Lindsey Smith does not seem to share Wells' optimism. Smith has been playing catch-up with West Australia's best racehorse ever since he pulled up lame in the Gr1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes in Melbourne. The 5YO was also below his brilliant best when resuming with a third placing in the Gr2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on 11 November. "I think Lindsey's a bit apprehensive, but as time goes on we get more confident. The weight (57.5kg) is not a problem. It's whether he's 100 per cent," Wells added. Scales Of Justice will run with a pad on his off-fore foot on Saturday, but Wells said the gear change wasn't a cause for concern. "Lindsey's farrier suggested it because his off-fore is two degrees off his near-fore. He doesn't have a foot problem," he said.
OTI Racing's Terry Henderson says talented but enigmatic galloper Tom Melbourne gets his chance to break through at the elite level after coming up with the rails draw for Saturday's $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot. Trained by Chris Waller, the Irish-bred import has proved frustrating for connections this preparation finishing runner-up at five of his six outings, including in the Gr1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in Sydney and the Gr1 Cantala Stakes (2000m) at Flemington. "He can be a puller, but can also come out of the gates well and he might even lead," Henderson told racing.com. "Over the mile, he's so fit he should be able to do that. You wouldn't give up the barrier because he could be two back on the fence and pulling his head off." Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World), who is pushing Scales Of Justice ($5.50) for Railway favouritism at $6.50, will be ridden by champion jockey Damien Oliver.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the 131st running of the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. Defending champion and local star Scales Of Justice is currently the $5.50 TAB favourite for the race, ahead of 5-time Gr1 winner Black Heart Bart at $6 and Gr1 performer Tom Melbourne at $7. The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Supply And Demand is the only other runner under double figure odds at $8. The final field is:
The final field has been declared for the 131st running of the $1 million Gr1 Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot racecourse in Perth this Saturday. The barrier draw will be conducted today commencing at 4:30pm (7:30pm AEDT) and will be telecast live on Sky Racing. The final field is:
At Flemington in Melbourne, Waikato Stud's Cox Plate-winning champion sire Savabeel (Zabeel-Savannah Success, by Success Express) celebrated an elite race success when 6YO bay mare Shillelagh (Savabeel-Trocair, by Flying Spur) landed the biggest prize of her career when arriving late to score a narrow win in the $1 million Gr1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Wyndspelle. Shillelagh, who is full-sister to Gr2 Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore and recent Listed Spring Stakes winner Grazia, improved her record to 7 wins (including the Gr3 Godolphin Crown) and 3 placings (including the Gr2 MRC Tristarc Stakes & Gr3 VRC Hong Kong Jockey Club Stakes) from 19 starts for $850,320 in earnings. "She's a good horse that's gone to a new level this preparation in my opinion," trainer Chris Waller told racing.com. "She came to me from New Zealand and is owned by Mr Grace and his wife. It's a fantastic story. They're only an hour up the road from where I'm from in New Zealand; one of my cousins actually works for them so it's a very special win."
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 bay gelding Happy Clapper (Teofilo-Busking, by Encosta de Lago) finally broke through for a thoroughly deserved maiden top-flight triumph in the $1 million Gr1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Snitzson. Shedding his "best horse yet to win a Group One" status after placing 4 times previously at Group One level, Happy Clapper advanced his record to 9 wins (including the Gr2 Tramway Stakes, Gr2 ATC Villiers Stakes) & Gr3 Newmarket Handicap) and 9 placings (including the Gr1 George Main Stakes, Gr1 ATC Doncaster Handicap – twice & Gr1 ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes) from 28 starts for $3,029,800 in earnings. The Victory was all the more special as it was trainer Pat Webster's first Group One winner. "He is a great horse," Webster told Sky Racing. "He deserved it." Webster added: "It's my biggest moment in racing. We've had 16 Group winners but this is our first Group One."
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Coolmore's former Gr1-winning Champion Australian Sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a Group success when 4YO bay gelding Comin' Through (Fastnet Rock-Mica's Pride, by Bite the Bullet) did just enough to hold on for a tough win in the $150,000 Gr3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) for 3YO+, defeating Tom Melbourne & Burning Passion. This was the second stakes victory for the well-bred Comin' Through who improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Carbine Club Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 Randwick Guineas) from 9 starts for $459,875 in earnings. Retained to race by his breeder Sir Owen Glenn, Comin' Through is the eighth foal to race from the prolific producer Mica's Pride, dam also of multiple Gr1 winning stallion Criterion, Gr2 winner Varenna Miss and Listed winner Silently. Trainer Chris Waller said Comin' Through would now head to the $1 million Gr1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on 1st October. "If he draws a good gate in the Epsom he will be very hard to beat," Waller said.
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.
Talented but enigmatic import Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) is set to have his first start for new trainer Chris Waller in Saturday's Spring Preview Handicap (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens. Waller has taken over the training duties of the OTI Racing-owned 7YO after he was transferred from the Victorian stable of Lee & Anthony Freedman. Tom Melbourne is being aimed at the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) at Royal Randwick on 30 September.
Champion mare Winx (Street Cry-Vegas Showgirl, by Al Akbar) will make the first public appearance of her spring preparation when she barrier trials at Randwick this morning. Winx will contest heat one over 900m at 8.45am this morning. She will be joined in the trial by Gr1 Coolmore Legacy Stakes winner and stable-mate Foxplay, along with other Chris Waller trainees Antonio Giuseppe, Comin’ Through, Tom Melbourne, Who Shot Thebarman, Gr2 winning colts Diamond Tathagata & Souchez. Winx, a recent inductee into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame, is preparing for an historic spring campaign in which she will attempt to join the legendary Kingston Town as the only horse to win three Cox Plates. Click here to view all today’s Randwick barrier trial information.
The connections of enigmatic but gifted galloper Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) are hoping a change of environment and regime can help the talented Irish import realise his significant potential. Chris Waller will take over the training duties of the OTI Racing-owned 7YO after transferring him from the yard of Lee & Anthony Freedman. "As we know this horse has been a little disappointing, and he's not the easiest horse to train," said OTI's managing director Terry Henderson. "He's one of those horses that although we've had him for 18 months we really don't know where he sits; is he a 2000m or a 2400m horse, or really something more precocious?" He added: "I'm sure Chris will help work that out for us, Chris has shown over time that he is exceptionally good at turning these horses around." Henderson said Tom Melbourne had already commenced work with Waller and was being aimed at the Gr1 Metropolitan (2400m) in the spring.
The final field has been declared and the barrier draw conducted for the $1.5 million weight-for-age Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) to be run at Flemington racecourse this Saturday. Joint $4.20 Tab favourites for the race are stable-mates from the Darren Weir yard Humidor and Jameka who are coming off second and fourth placings respectively in the Gr2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield. Next best is Peter Young Stakes victor Stratum Star at $6, followed by The United States at $7.50 and Exospheric at $8.50. The final field is:
Lee Freedman says he may have found the key to talented Irish import Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World), reports Racing.com. The Hall of Fame trainer has always thought that the talented middle-distance galloper possessed the requisite talent to be competitive at Group One level, but thus far he has fallen just short. The OTI Racing-owned 7YO showed he was not far off elite company with consecutive Gr3 placings in the MRC Coongy Handicap (2000m), VRC Lexus Stakes (2500m), and VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) in the spring. "We've been doing a lot of work with him trying to get him to settle a lot better," Freedman said. "He'd always rejected the use of a cross-over noseband on him before but the last couple of weeks, he accepted it really well and I think that will make a major difference to how the horse races." If all goes to plan, Freedman says Tom Melbourne's ultimate target is the Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on 11 March. "I thought maybe something like the Carlyon Cup into the Australian Cup if his run was good enough in the Carlyon Cup," he said.
Meanwhile, talented middle-distance galloper Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) will be aimed at the Gr1 Australian Cup in the autumn, reports racing.com. The Lee and Anthony Freedman-trained import showed he was not far off elite company with consecutive Gr3 placings in the MRC Coongy Handicap (2000m), VRC Lexus Stakes (2500m), and VRC Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) in the spring. "Tom Melbourne will be aimed towards the Australia Cup - we learned a lot last spring, painfully," co-owner Terry Henderson of OTI Racing said. "He'll head to the Australia Cup, and possibly toward Sydney." The Gr1 Australian Cup (2000m) will be run at Flemington on 11 March.
At Flemington in Melbourne, 5YO UK-bred gelding Oceanographer (Sea the Stars-Que Puntual, by Contested Bid) announced himself as a serious Melbourne Cup contender when powering home from last on the turn to score by 0.4 length for trainer Charlie Appleby in the $300,000 Gr3 Lexus Stakes (2500m) for 3YO+, over 6YO Irish-bred gelding Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) & 4YO entire Tally (Street Cry-Itemise, by Kris S). Oceanographer, who improved his record to 5 wins and 1 placing (the Gr3 Geelong RC Geelong Cup) from 11 starts for $271,311 earnings. Such was the dominant nature of his win, that Oceanographer is now $6 second favourite behind fellow Godolphin galloper Hartnell ($5) for tomorrow's $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup (3200m). "Whether he can win the Cup I don't know, but he can back up for sure," said trainer Charlie Appleby. "He came out of the last race so well, bucking and kicking, and the sunshine on his back will do him a power of good."
At Caulfield in Melbourne on Saturday, Coolmore's former dual Champion Australian Sire Encosta De Lago (Fairy King-Shoal Creek, by Star Way) added a Group success when 4YO entire Vanbrugh (Encosta de Lago-Soho Secret, by Lucky Owners) scored by 0.5 length for trainer Chris Waller in the $150,000 Gr3 Coongy Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over 6YO Irish-bred entire Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) & 6YO US-bred gelding It's Somewhat (Dynaformer-Sometime, by Royal Academy). A $100,000 yearling consigned by Widden Stud at the 2014 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Vanbrugh's record now stands at 5 wins (including the Gr1 Spring Champion Stakes & Gr3 Gloaming Stakes) and 2 placings from 17 starts for $691,125 earnings.
At Caulfield in Melbourne, Arrowfield Stud's multiple Champion Australian Sire Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) added a black-type success when 6YO gelding Great Esteem (Redoute's Choice-Park Esteem, by Singspiel) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer Stuart Webb in the $120,000 Listed Heatherlie Stakes (1700m) for 3YO+, over 6YO Irish-bred gelding Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) & 7YO gelding Longeron (Lonhro-I'm a Showoff, by Thunder Gulch). This was the first stakes victory for Great Esteem who improved his record to 8 wins and 7 placings from 35 starts for $406,380 earnings. Great Esteem was a $600,000 purchase by James Bester at the 2012 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale from the draft of Hunter Valley-based boutique nursery Cressfield Stud.
At Albury in new South Wales, European Horse Of The Year & 6-time Gr1-winning Coolmore shuttler Dylan Thomas (Danehill-Lagrion, by Diesis) added a black-type success when 5YO Irish-bred gelding Tom Melbourne (Dylan Thomas-Roshanak, by Spinning World) scored by 3.5-lengths for trainers Lee & Anthony Freedman in the $170,000 Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding High Opinion (Lord Jim-Kerzaz, by Arena) & 6YO gelding Hippopus (High Chaparral-Straight Eight, by Danske). This was the first stakes victory for the OTI Racing-owned Tom Melbourne who advanced his record to 5 wins from 7 starts for $233,196 earnings. This was quite an incredible performance by Tom Melbourne who, despite racing very greenly - at one point he went from racing in the middle of the Albury track to drifting right over to the rail - and proving a real handful for Glen Boss, proved far superior to his rivals. Indeed, the winning margin could have been 10 lengths or greater had he raced true and not carried his head to one side for the entire length of the straight. Tom Melbourne will now head to the Mornington Cup (2400m) on 2 April, with the winner gaining an automatic entry into this year's Gr1 Caulfield Cup.