Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Valley winners target Caulfield Group 1s

Ultra-consistent mare I Am A Star (I Am Invincible) and imported stayer The Taj Mahal (Galileo {Ire}) are both set to tackle Group 1 races at Caulfield on October 13 after winning at Moonee Valley on Friday.

I Am A Star extended her record to nine wins from 25 starts, with a comfortable all-the-way win in the G2 The Sporting Globe Stocks S, her eighth at black-type level.

Trainer Shane Nichols was relieved to see the 5-year-old live up to her short-price and he immediately has his sights set on the G1 Toorak Handicap, a race she ran last in 12 months ago.

"Last year she went to the Toorak off winning this, but she felt that win last time. The Toorak is the logical one. She's won five Group 2s, we might as well target as many Group 1s as we can now," he said,

The Taj Mahal notched his second win in Australia by a narrow margin in the G3 DrinkWise JRA Cup. His ultimate spring goal is the G1 Caulfield Cup, but owner and stable representative Nick Williams said post-race, he would likely first go to the G1 Caulfield S.

"I think the Caulfield Cup is his race. He's been pretty good at 2400m. I think today is a good stepping stone and we move forward towards that race," he said.

"He's a gross stallion, he'll need another run, I'd say the Caulfield Stakes is the first thing that springs to mind."

Gai and Adrian sweep 2YO trials

Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott clean-swept the 2YO trials at Randwick on Friday morning, with wins in all three heats.

Speedycom, from the first crop of Cornerstone Stud stallion Zebedee (GB), was a dominant winner of the opening trial, leading all the way and winning by close to four lengths.

A $130,000 Magic Millions buy, he is a half brother to Eckstein (I Am Invincible) and looked thoroughly professional over the 735m.

Invincible Vision (I Am Invincible), a $1.05m purchase at this year's Easter Sales, was untested in recording the fastest time of the three trials, coasting to a 1.3l win.

He is a half-brother to G1 Golden Slipper S winner Mossfun (Mossman) and looks to have similar precocity to his sister after making two wins from as many trials.

Speedy filly Evening Slipper (Snitzel) strode clear midway through her trial and went on to win by nearly three lengths in another impressive performance.

A $240,000 buy at the Easter Sales, she is a full-sister to Group 1 winner Sweet Idea as well as Showtime.

Torcedor out of Cup running

Torcedor (Ire) (Fastnet Rock) has been ruled out of the G1 Melbourne Cup after a temperature spike as he was supposed to enter quarantine.

Having had just one run for Cup winning trainer Andreas Wohler, it was expected Torcedor would arrive in Australia this spring, but the setback cost him his chance to enter quarantine.

Willie Mullins pair Thomas Hobson (GB) (Halling {USA}) and Max Dynamite (Fr) (Great Journey {Jpn}) are also absentees as quarantine closed, along with the Aidan O'Brien-trained pair Flag of Honour (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Kew Gardens {Ire}) (Galileo {Ire}).

That left nine horses to enter quarantine, Magic Circle (Ire) (Makfi {GB}), Muntahaa (Ire) (Dansili {GB}), Latrobe (Ire) {Camelot {GB}), Marmelo (GB) (Duke of Marmalade {Ire}), Rostropovich (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), Idaho (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), The Pentagon (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Nakeeta (GB) (Sixties Icon {GB}) and Master Of Reality (Ire) (Frankel {GB}).

Only eight of those can be accommodated at Werribee, when they arrive on October 13, so as it stands Master Of Reality would miss out.

UK treble for Toronado

Toronado (Ire) had a huge Thursday in the UK with three runners for three winners for the Swettenham Stud-based stallion.

Korcho (GB) and Name The Wind (GB) won at Kempton Park at 1m and 7f respectively, while Illusions (GB) was successful over mile at Pontefract.

Korcho and Name The Wind were both sold at the Tatts October Yearling Sale, with Korcho selling for £50,000 and Name The Wind £62,000, while Illusions is bred and raced by Bearstone Stud.

Toronado (Ire) is standing at Swettenham Stud for $20,000 (+GST), and will be represented by his first Australasian 2-year-olds this season.


Derby goal for Kiwi 3YO

The Stephen McKee-trained Hasabro (NZ) (Savabeel) has arrived in Melbourne with the Gr.1 VRC Derby his target.

A brother to last season’s G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas winner Hasahalo, he has placed twice from his six appearances and was a last-start fourth over 1400 metres at Ruakaka earlier this month.

“We’ve had a plan with him dating back to February to target the VRC Derby,” Go Racing Syndications Albert Bosma said.

“Stephen McKee recognised early on that the horse just wants to stay and he said he thought he was the right sort of horse. He’s got the temperament, he will stay and we believe he has the ability.

“He’s still a maiden, so we’ve made the commitment based on his potential.”

Bosma said New Zealand connections should back their judgment and send progressive horses to compete in Australia earlier.

“Most horses make their money on the way through the grades and if you wait until you’re proven and highly rated, it is hard to compete over there.

“Hasabro will compete in a $26,000 maiden on Monday and will step up in prizemoney from there.”

Go Racing will also be represented by the Chris Waller-trained import Alward (IRE) (Aqlaam {GB}) in Saturday’s Gr.1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.

“We imported two horses from England in Alward and Raqeeq and they have both been very successful and I will be heading up to the Newmarket Horses in Training Sale to try and find another couple to send to Australia.”

Apprentice making his mark

Apprentice jockey Nik Bakar has made a flying start to his career with the 25-year-old from Malaysia having ridden seven winners from his first 15 New Zealand rides.

He said he owes much of his success to compatriot and fellow Te Akau rider Shafiq Rusof, who is also riding the crest of a wave, notching a Group 1 double aboard Melody Belle (Commands) this season.

“I have known and ridden horses with Shafiq for fifteen years, we’re from the same hometown, and he recommended me to David Ellis and Te Akau,” Bakar said.

“I’m very happy working at Te Akau and there is no stress for me, it’s very nice.

“In races, I try to follow the instructions that Jamie (Richards, trainer) has given me and Shafiq teaches me that riding horses you must think very fast. I try to learn from everyone and you need a bit of luck.

“Good horses make a good jockey and Jamie has put me on some good horses. I’ve enjoyed the new experience of travelling to the South Island. I like the track at Ashburton in particular, and it has been good to me.”