DAZZLER DEAN YENDALL 1st $4
PILLAR OF CREATION CHRIS SYMONS 2nd $3.60F
TENNESSEE WILLS BEN KNOBEL 3rd $26
Dead 5 track and a persistent drizzle to start the afternoon. The top two in the market were Pillar of Creation and Dazzler but they enjoyed very different runs. Pillar Of Creation got well back and was the widest runner at the turn, whereas Dean Yendall found a great spot on Dazzler racing 5th and one off the fence behind a solid tempo. He was produced at the perfect time and showed a good turn of foot to find the line well and remain unbeaten. Tennessee Wills raced up on the pace and held on OK, especially considering the two leaders (Textiles and Epic Choice) both dropped right out to finish last and second last.
Worth noting: A welcome win for the Snowden stable who have had a terrible 2012 so far.
Race 2. 1200M Peter Rowland Catering Handicap
MANHATTAN MAID BEN MELHAM 1st $5F
ROSES IN THE GLEN CRAIG NEWITT 2nd $7
BONARIA PETER MERTENS 3rd $8
A very open race with six horses between $5 and $9 in the market. Most speed maps suggested there would be a pretty good tempo and that’s how it played out. Manhattan Maid had run very well first up, coming off a ‘forgive’ campaign where she competed in Listed and Group races throughout but obviously didn’t come up. She’s a good good tough filly. Roses In The Glen finished well in this despite having a big weight first up first up and looks to be in for a good prep. Vain Attraction never looked likely. Michelle Payne’s was quite a daring ride to go one out on the inside rail in search of fresh ground. Hard to be critical of her taking a chance on a big priced horse that was always going to need some luck.
Worth noting: This will go in the results as a dead track win but Melham said the track was definitely slow and it was downgraded immediately after this race.
Race 3. 2800M Schweppes Plate
DAME CLAIRE PETER MERTENS 1st $20
ALMODOVAR LINDA MEECH 2nd $1.40F
HIGH KINGCZAR VLAD DURIC 3rd $18
Almodovar was sent around at $1.40 in a very shallow race. Starlet O’Hara found the front as normal and Almodovar got a lovely run in 3rd spot. Meech said post race she would have preferred a stronger pace up front but there were no excuses here. Nothing much happened in the run until the 800m mark. Dame Claire benefited from the pre-race plan to push forward and Mertens carried it out to the letter. Dame Claire’s a fit tough stayer who ran the trip out well. High Kingczar ran an improved race with the blinkers on.
Worth noting: Fair to say that Pat Carey knows to train a stayer.
Race 4. 1600M Cleanevent Handicap
HORSE Rider Fin SP
SHENZHOU STEEDS CRAIG NEWITT 1st $4.60
ERASET BEN MELHAM 2nd $11
KALLOGG VLAD DURIC 3rd $18
Basically three equal favourites here with two of them trained by Peter Moody. Shenzou Steeds had the gun run with the drop on the two leaders and Newitt got going at the turn. He hit the front at the 400m, but with the big weight drop on his first up run he held on strongly. The other equal favourites were disappointing. Elusive King wasn’t fast away, got back and only plodded in the straight up against the rail. Testascana was dropping back in distance and didn’t show his usual turn of foot. Eraset has run run eight minor placings since his last win.
Worth noting: The winner probably heads up to Queensland and the trainer believes he goes even better right handed.
Race 5. 1400M James Boags Plate
HOT LOVER MICHELLE PAYNE 1st $4.60
XAVI BEN MELHAM 2nd $19
CLUB COMMAND LINDA MEECH 3rd $3.20F
As the market support suggested he would, Club Command worked across from the outside barrier quite comfortably to sit outside Toned. But he was no match for Hot Lover who looks a serious horse in the making. Big striding horse and his breeding suggests he’ll get over more ground so in the Paddy Payne stable he is worth following. Xavi ran a good race at odds. Bashan got home well but does tend to get back in his races.
Worth noting: Good decision from Patty Payne to listen to his sister and not scratch the horse despite the deteriorating track.
Race 6. 2000M Spotless Handicap
CHASSE VLAD DURIC 1st $4.60F
PLAYWRIGHT BEN KNOBEL 2nd $6.50
DARK NOTE JASON BENBOW 3rd $17
Another race with quite a few chances on paper but again we saw a Chasse/Playwright quinella. Deep Cove ran them along at a good clip, but was gone at the turn. Chasse copped quite a bit of criticism earlier in his career for supposedly not being genuine, but in 9 runs this campaign has run 3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 1st, 2nd and 1st. He’s a good genuine open company handicapper and I’d certainly be happy to own him. The win brought up a double for Snowden in Melbourne and the stable also had a decent day north of the border. Playwright ran an honest race and has been very consistent this campaign. Apprentice Jake Duffy stuck to the fence on Supremacy and never came into the race. Laristan was ordinary but was reported to have had the thumps.
Worth noting: Vlad Duric is not a particularly high profile jockey but he’s a very good one and since returning from Singapore has just picked up from where he left off.
Race 7. 2000M Secondbite Fresh Food Rescue
SOROS VLAD DURIC 1st $3.20F
DURNFORD DAMIAN LANE 2nd $8.50
CHIEFTAIN JACK JASON BENBOW 3rd $6
Railblazer took up the running and strung the field out but was another leader gone at the turn. Soros ran the clear favourite and Duric got him to the right part of the track at the right time for a comfortable win. He’s another one that is probably heading up to Brisbane. Pat Carey’s Durnford had stuck on well in a couple of fast run races this campaign and today appreciated the big drop in class, the return to Melbourne and getting a sit. Chieftain Jack enjoyed a great run in transit but was no match for the winner.
Worth noting: Duric rode for Freedman, Snowden, Moody, Sadler, Ryan and Hope today and in this kind of form will continue to get plenty of support from trainers.
Race 8. 1700M Flemington Green Fields Raceday Handicap
GAIL NICHOLAS HALL 1st $10
ROCK HIT BEN MELHAM 2nd $9
NERIANI VLAD DURIC 3rd $7
Star Of Giselle was well backed despite being the obvious leader on a track clearly favouring run-on horses getting wide in the straight. She was gone just after straightening and the other on-pacer Ky’s The Limit didn’t fare much better. Gail was suited by the big track and 1700m and was a nice way for Nick Hall to finish a huge week.
Worth noting: The winner’s planned mating with Reset may be scrapped now.