At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Woodside Park's Gr2-winning stallion Written Tycoon (Iglesias-Party Miss, by Kenmare) added a Group race success when 3YO Australian-bred colt Written By (Written Tycoon-Yau Chin, by Tobougg) showed his class when scoring a comfortable 1.25 length win in the $350,000 Gr3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) for 3YOs, defeating Encryption & Tony Nicconi. Written By, whose female line traces to No Finer, the dam of multiple stakes winners including Gr1 Australian Guineas winner and outstanding Waikato Stud sire Pins, advanced his record to 6 wins (including the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes, Gr3 Blue Diamond Prelude for colts & geldings & Gr3 Pago Pago Stakes) from 7 starts for $1,706,500 in earnings. Bred by Hall of Fame trainer Neville Begg, Written By was retained to race after he was passed in shy of his reserve at the 2017 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale. He races in the familiar Begg family colours of black, white and red that were carried to Gr1 glory by former stable stars Bonanova and Monopolize. Trainer Grahame Begg said he would now head to the stallion-making Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 3 November. "He will have a jump-out up the straight at Flemington on Friday week and he will be spot-on for the Coolmore," Begg told racing.com.
Meanwhile, while the powerful Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig stable is represented by exciting More Sundays (see above), Fundamentalist and Muuraqeb in Sydney (plus three in Adelaide), the bulk of their runners are at Caulfield where 17 alumni will step out, including a quintet in the Jockey Celebration Day Handicap (1400m). Although The Everest-bound Vega Magic is a short-priced favourite to back-to-back in the Gr1 Memsie Stakes, exciting 3YO colt Tony Nicconi has another chance to press his claims as one of the best sophomore sprinters in the country. Solidly supported into favouritism for the Gr3 HDF McNeil Stakes over 1200m, the jump-and-run type has the advantage of an inside draw, however will quickly know he is starting to play in the big leagues as he works towards a possible start in the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes. Stable-mate Alymerton, beaten less than 5-lengths in the Golden Slipper, makes his seasonal return, as does last start Gr1 Champagne Stakes heroine Seabrook. Throw in Champagne runner-up Bondi, Happy Clapper's Gr2-winning half-brother Not A Single Cent, speedy Brisbane raider Granny Red Shoes and Native Soldier, who was closing strongly behind Tony Nicconi last start, and the result is far from a certainty.
At Caulfield racecourse in Melbourne, Widden Stud's dual Gr1-winning sire Nicconi (Bianconi-Nicola Lass, by Scenic) added a Group race success when highly regarded 3YO Australian-bred colt Tony Nicconi (Nicconi-Wickham, by Elusive Quality) opened his stakes account despite sitting outside the leader and facing the breeze in the $150,000 Gr3 Vain Stakes (1200m) for 3YO colts & geldings, defeating his fast-finishing stable-mate Long Leaf & Native Soldier. Trained by David & Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, Tony Nicconi extended his unbeaten record to 2 wins form 2 starts for $166,750 in earnings. David Hayes said Tony Nicconi’s primary spring target is the Gr1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on 3 November, while Long Leaf will head to next month’s Gr1 Golden Rose (1400m) in Sydney.
The gloves are starting to come off as aspirants head towards the big-ticket Gr1 Caulfield Guineas in a few months. One of the more interesting runners nominated is Tony Nicconi from the Hayes, Hayes & Dabernig stable. The winner of his only start at Caulfield by 4-lengths over 1200m at the end of June, the 3YO colt was conspicuously short-priced when markets first opened following the feature race’s closure of nominations. Having trained Tony Nicconi’s sire Nicconi (sire of boom sprinter Nature Strip) to notable Gr1 success, David Hayes knows the breed and their ability well. Dropping to 55kg in tomorrow’s Vain Stakes at Caulfield over 1100m, Tony Nicconi has been crunched in to $2.30 favourite from an opening $3.20 quote. Drawn wide on debut where he had to do a ton of work yet was still able to leave them 4-lengths in his wake, Tony Nicconi ‘s more favourable Saturday barrier should provide Luke Nolen with a few options. It’s a perfect test to see if he’s ready to take the next step with unbeaten duo Rock Hard and The August also in the field, along with talented stable mate Long Leaf and untapped Native Soldier.
Following Tuesday’s confirmation of nominations for the 2018 Gr1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), market assessors have been hard at work to post early prices. While The Autumn Sun remains a popular favourite, the market is as wide open as the mouth of the Amazon River, with all runners quoted at double figure odds. Unsurprisingly, among the early fancies for October’s event is maiden Ooohood, triple Gr1-placed as a 2YO in the Blue Diamond, Golden Slipper and Sires Produce. Second favourite is Brutal, stunning winner of his only start by 5-lengths at Caulfield over 1200m. The only other entrants quoted at less than $26 are Good ‘n’ Fast, Miss Fabulass, Native Soldier, Outrageous, Perfomer, Smart Melody and Tony Nicconi. As is always the case there is a ton of water to flow downstream between now and post time.