Horse Racing

Saturday racing in review

Invincible Gem returned with a bang in the Group Two Missile Stakes at Randwick, Nozomi ruined everyone’s quaddie at Flemington and could history repeat for Team Williams? 

 Star Performer

Invincible Gem (Randwick R7)

Invincible Gem in the Missile Stakes

It’s been a rapid rise through the ranks for this gem of a mare. Five starts back she won a 3YO BM67 race at Warwick Farm. Since then she has won at Group Three level and finished runner-up in the Group One Randwick Guineas and added a Group Two win on Saturday with victory in the Missile Stakes.

Corey Brown tracked Le Romain turning for home and finished over the top of the more fancied stablemate. There was plenty of support though for Invincible Gem in betting on Saturday, with the four-year-old mare firming from $ 10 into $ 5.50 before getting back out to $ 7 at the jump. The Group Two Sheraco Stakes on September 9 had been pencilled in for her next start, but trainer Kris Lees will now have a rethink with the Golden Pendant and the Myer Classic the main targets for spring.

It was a star performance from Brown as well, having walked Kokoda during the week for charity.  

 Front Bar Fodder


Seeing Red
Red Alto was very easy in the betting for The Stayers Lounge Handicap (1200m), with fancied runners Lord Von Costa and Hay Bale expected to compete for the spoils at the end of the straight six.  It looked that way until about the 100m mark when Brett Stanley’s gelding suddenly leapt out of the ground to overtake them and bolt it in.

It was a first Melbourne win for Perth apprentice Jordan Turner, who is enjoying a spell with the Corstens crew and making his way to Bendigo once a week to work with Stanley.

Keep an eye on…
We were reminded a few times that this meeting was part of Almandin’s Melbourne Cup preparation last year, so it’s a touch ominous that another stayer out of Macedon Lodge impressed at headquarters today.  Former British gelding Aloft goes well fresh, and proved that again today with a tough win in the 2000m Nursery Handicap.

A few rivals had a crack at him but he just kept cruising up through the gears as he needed to.  He’ll want for absolutely nothing at Lloyd’s place, so should only improve as he gets closer to the major Spring titles.

Ups & Downs
Late in the week there was a seemingly simple query in the office regarding correct terminology: are races run “up the Flemington straight” or “down the Flemington straight”?

Answers were split and neither party could be shifted, so we put it to the people – and over 500 of them had an opinion:

61:39 isn’t exactly an overwhelming result on a question of right or wrong, but nonetheless would’ve ended the discussion… until we heard from none other than the chief of the straight himself:

It’d appear Mick is with #TeamUp… we tried to confirm that with him, but no response.  Perhaps he’s being deliberately mischievous. Or more likely he has better far things to do.  Either way, the debate continues.

Still to come…
A metro weekend double of sorts in Melbourne, with Sandown hosting Sunday’s Grand National Hurdle meeting.  But with last week’s Caulfield abandonment, the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes has also been tacked onto the card.  Our Melbourne man James Lamb has previewed the race here.


New season, same Highway result
Matthew Dunn continued his love affair with the Highway Handicaps, claiming the first of the new season with promising four-year-old Care to Think. The even-money favourite (backed in from $ 2.75) had just the one runner behind him when they straightened for home, before showing he was a class above his rivals, sprinting strongly down the middle of the track to score a dominant win by 1.5 lengths.

Stayer Sayed smashes his rivals
The Chris Waller-trained Sayed has emerged as a serious stayer through the winter. The lightly-raced five-year-old was only having his 11th career start on Saturday and while he wasn’t up against much in the BM85 race over 2400m, he saluted in style. Given a patient ride by Kerrin McEvoy as the speed went on mid-race, Sayed stormed clear in the straight to score by 5.3 lengths. The Newcastle and Wyong Cups will be targets with a view to gaining a start in The Metropolitan.

It was a space job by Sayed. Image: Bradley Photos


Byrning up the track
Jim Byrne went to Doomben with a very nice book and didn’t disappoint, getting four winners home on an eventful day.

Arrester (Race 1), El Campeador (Race 3), Pleased (Race 6) and Stella Ombar (Race 9) all got home underneath Byrne – not that he was content with that.

“I could have ridden at least two other winners but I am not complaining. Any day you ride four winners can’t be bad,” he said.

And just to prove that the racing gods like to keep jockeys in check as much as they do punters, Byrne’s day also included a charge of careless riding, which was sustained and resulted in an eight day suspension.

Interstate expansion
Probably bored with dominating New South Wales racing, Chris Waller has set up a satellite stable in Queensland, with the northern setup promptly producing its first city winner today.

Devil Hawk ($ 8.50) proved too strong in Race 2, beating home more fancied runners in Stanley and stablemate Loving Home.

Paul Shailer, who spent ten years as Waller’s right hand man in Sydney before having his own successful training stint in New Zealand, is managing the Queensland operation for Waller.

And down the highway…
It was at the Gold Coast, but we really do owe a mention to perennial whipping boy Heart of Australia.

The horse nicknamed (Pea) Heart became a famous enemy of the punters over the past twelve months, being rolled in his first twelve starts at odds of $ 13, $ 4, $ 2.40, $ 3.40, $ 2.50, $ 2.70, $ 3, $ 1.60, $ 2.30, $ 2.60, $ 1.65 and $ 2.30.  Eye-watering stuff.

But in a moment few thought would ever come, the mare finally broke her maiden at Ipswich a couple of weeks back.  But it didn’t go to her head… she backed up today on the Gold Coast and saluted again!

It seems she’s got the winning taste and is simply unable to stop.

It might have been coming from beyond the stratosphere, but it would appear the penny has finally dropped!


Thornton with a peach on Brown Ben
Damien Thornton just missed out on getting the nod for the pearler after a patient ride aboard Brown Ben. Settling last, Thornton rode for a bit of luck in the straight by sticking to the inside, but it was the winning move. Brown Ben flashed past odds-on favourite Moss ‘n’ Dale at the 50m, going on to score by 1.3 lengths.

Alamonteel @ Morphettville Parks over 1950m =💰
Alamonteel continued her love affair with Morphettville Parks on Saturday making it three from three at the track and distance. She backed up her 2.4 length win on July 22 with an even easier victory, scoring by 4.6 lengths over Birds of Tokyo. Apprentice Raquel Clark has been in the saddle for both victories.

Lucere, a full sister to Memes, made her debut at Kembla Grange and was confidently backed from $ 2.50 into odds-on at $ 1.90. She showed plenty of early speed to lead, but compounded badly in the straight to finish last, over seven lengths adrift of the winner Could You Be Loved.

The celebrations will be wild in Darwin for those who backed Niccoco in early markets for the Palmerston sprint. The five-year-old gelding opened as much as $ 31 and was into as low as $ 5.50 at the jump. Captain Punch looked home at the top of the straight having established a four-length lead, but he was out of gas at the 100m and Niccoco surged to the front with Raymond Vigar in the saddle.

 Punters Pearler

John Allen on Yogi, Flemington R6

It’s fitting that on National Jockeys Trust Day that were a number of candidates for the best ride, and a special mention goes to Damien Thornton for his efforts in getting Brown Ben past Moss ‘n’ Dale at Morphettville.

But for our dough, the performance of the day goes to plucky Irishmen John Allen for his industrious showing on Yogi at Flemington.  Sitting near the back at around the 1000m mark, Allen moved his charge out three wide to make ground, and got swinging a long way out when it became clear the big bear wasn’t too keen to rise from his slumber.

It was a lesson in horsemanship as Allen pulled out all stops to rouse his mount: driving, corralling, switching and booting Yogi all the way the line to get him over the top of Chequered Flag by a nose.

A jockey’s performance is often cited as the reason a horse gets rolled; this was a perfect example of a rider’s skill and initiative being the key cause of victory.

Darren Weir once said of Allen that he’s the greatest horseman I’ve ever had anything to do with, and I’ve seen a few.”  Not a bad endorsement.

 Get in the Sea

The Flemington quaddie killer
Well done to anyone who took the field in the third leg of the quaddie. For everyone else, Nozomi’s shock win first-up spelled the (inevitable) end of quaddie hopes. Nozomi SP’d at $ 151 (with $ 201 available with some bookies) with his last win coming in the Great Western Cup.

Not everyone was shocked by the win however…😮

Moss ‘N’ Dale
He’s become costly to punters of late, getting rolled at $ 2.30, $ 2.35, $ 4.20 and $ 1.70 at his past four starts. The mudder would have been anchoring plenty of multi’s at Morphettville on Saturday.

Count of Limonade
Has failed to beat a runner home in three Sydney runs for a combined margin of 80.8 lengths. The Sea/Retirement awaits this lad.

 The Winners

Flemington Saturday 5th August Full Results SP Margin
R1 1000m 1 Azazel L Currie, T Mcevoy $ 5.00 0.75L
R2 1700m 1 Hell or Highwater B Thompson, D B H T Dabernig $ 6.00 0.20L
R3 1000m 3 Crown Witness B Thompson, S Webb $ 3.50 0.50L
R4 2000m 5 Aloft B Melham, R Hickmott $ 4.60 0.75L
R5 1200m 5 Red Alto J Turner, B Stanley $ 21.00 1.00L
R6 2500m 7 Yogi J Allen, D Weir $ 3.20 0.10L
R7 1600m 12 Jaminzah S Baster, C Waller $ 6.50 0.20L
R8 1600m 4 Rhythm to Spare P Moloney, M Moroney $ 7.50 2.50L
R9 1400m 1 Nozomi T Marshall, L A Freedman $ 151.00 0.20L
R10 2000m 9 Eureka Street D Moor, R Smerdon $ 4.40 0.40L

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