Daily News Wrap

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Appleby pair Melbourne-bound

Stablemates Hamada (GB) (Cape Cross {IRE}) and Walton Street (GB) (Cape Cross {IRE}) have booked their tickets to Australia.

Trainer Charlie Appleby is eyeing the G1 Melbourne Cup with the pair following their bold showings in the G3 Geoffrey Freer S., at Newbury at the weekend.

Hamada won the event, his fifth consecutive victory, while Walton Street stayed on for third after making the running.

“Hamada is getting better with racing and I feel he’s got the right sort of profile to go to Australia,” Appleby said.

“We’ll find out what weights both horses get for the Melbourne Cup next week. I’d quite like to go straight there (with Hamada) if possible, as he’s had plenty of racing this year already, but it depends what weight he gets.”

Heavyweights on trial

Two 1100 metre trials at Taupo on Wednesday will showcase a number of New Zealand’s leading performers.

The opening heat will feature the country’s reigning Horse of the Year Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi {GB}) when she takes a step closer to the Melbourne spring carnival.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained mare will be opposed by her Group 1 winning stablemate Jon Snow (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) and the elite level galloper Wyndspelle (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), now with Johnno Benner and Hollie Wynyard after a stint in Melbourne with Michael Kent.

The second trial will see Wyndspelle’s stablemate Scott Base (NZ) (Dalghar {FR}), who holds a G1 Cox Plate nomination, square off against Melbourne hopeful Ocean Emperor (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ} and the multiple Group 1 winner Lizzie L’Amour (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

Sea King does it in style

In what was most likely his farewell performance, the evergreen jumper Sea King (NZ) (Shinko King {IRE}) bowed out in style when he won Sunday’s Grand National Steeplechase at Ballarat.

Sent to Patrick Payne’s Victorian stable by his Kiwi Kevin Myers, the 12-year-old came with the dourest of finishes at the end of 4500 metres and 16 fences to claim the feature in the hands of Steve Pateman.

“Much as I like to stick my chest out, all the credit goes to Kevin Myers in New Zealand,” Payne said. “He’s an unbelievable horse and he’s been coming to our place for the last four years now. This is likely to have been his last race.”

The race was marred by the early tumble of the favourite Wells (Galileo {IRE}) who was bidding for a record fourth win in the event.

Winning trend continues

Trainer Toby Edmonds’ successful association with Segenhoe Stud has continued.

The Gold Coast conditioner produced the well-bred Awake The Stars (Redoute’s Choice) for a clear-cut victory on their home track on Saturday.

“I have lost count of the winners we have had for Segenhoe in recent years, but it is starting to get right up there. They are great clients,” Edmonds said.

Edmonds has two of the stud's mares, Granny Red Shoes and Winter Bride, in Melbourne for the spring carnival but there are no such lofty heights for Awake The Stars.

“She is off to stud. A city win will do a Redoute's Choice mare like her a lot of good at stud,” Edmonds said.

Awake The Stars is a daughter of the Group 2 winner My Chicharita (NZ) (Towkay), who is out of a half-sister to the triple Group 2 winner Le Zagaletta (Last Tycoon {IRE}).

Sprinter likes his own company

Everest contender Vega Magic (Lope De Vega {IRE}) likes to keep to himself.

With his solitary nature in mind, senior co-trainer David Hayes took the opportunity on Saturday to give the six-year-old a hit-out on his own between races at Caulfield.

“He's a horse you can't work in company because he wants to overdo it a bit so an exhibition gallop was ideal for him,” he said. “The only time he sees company is in a race or a trial when the tempo is strong.”

Hayes said he would put the finishing touches for Vega Magic’s upcoming defence of his G1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes title at Lindsay Park.

Vega Magic will then head to Sydney for The Everest at Randwick on October 13, in the hope he can go one better after finishing runner-up to Redzel (Snitzel) last year.

“He's got six weeks after the Memsie so he'll have a freshen up and then we'll gradually build him up,” Hayes said.

Vega Magic stretching his legs between races at Caulfield

Group 1 ambition

The Gold Coast Turf Club believe the Hollindale S., deserves to be upgraded to Group 1 level.

“The club is hopeful of getting a prize money boost for it in the next allocation of money. If we can get prize money up around the $450,000 mark we should a have a real case for Group One status,” chief executive Steve Lines said.

“If we can get Group One status I think there will be the temptation for more horses to push on from the autumn into our carnival.”

Currently a Group 2 contest, the Hollindale is run over 1800 metres at weight-for-age.