The Daily Wrap

6 min read

Thinkin' Cox Plate plans

Gai Waterhouse is seriously contemplating taking Thinkin' Big (High Chaparral {Ire}) to the G1 Victoria Derby through the G1 Cox Plate.

The 3-year-old, who was beaten into third place on a soft track in the G1 Spring Champion S. on Saturday, arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday and Waterhouse, who trains the colt in parntership with Adrian Bott, has big plans for him.

"We didn’t see him at his best in the Spring Champion, we had a very wet track," Waterhouse told RSN. "He doesn’t have the turn of foot in those conditions."

"He's nominated for the Cox Plate. So we may go through the 3-year-old race (the Vase) or the Cox Plate, we're just toying up with the idea."

Waterhouse said the horse would then progress to the Derby on November 3, and has left open the option that he could also contest the Melbourne Cup.

Waterhouse was inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame on Thursday night, becoming just the fifth trainer to receive the honour and joining her father TJ Smith in that elite company.

O'Brien tests water with Schillaci sprinters

Aidan O'Brien trio of runners in Saturday's G2 Keno Schillaci S. at Caulfield could be a sign of things to come, with travelling foreman TJ Comerford saying the Irish trainer was keen to test the waters with his sprinters in Australia.

Intelligence Cross (USA), Spirit of Valor (USA) and Fleet Review (USA) are all by War Front (USA), the same sire as Coolmore's U S Navy Flag (USA), who will contest The Everest at Randwick on Saturday.

"We're bringing out sprinters and it’s probably new territory for us, we normally don’t bring sprinters, " Comerford told RSN. "We have these three coming to test the water more than anything and hopefully we can salvage something out of it."

"They are probably playing second fiddle at home. And you never, know, it’s a Group 2, five and half furlongs and they are taking their chance."

Comerford said the stable was leaning to Spirit of Valour, who ran second to Merchant Navy in the G2 Greenlands S. before finishing eighth in the G1 Golden Jubilee S., as their main chance in the race.

"We really fancied Spirit of Valour against Merchant Navy that day at The Curragh and it didn’t really work out. Anything second to Merchant Navy measures up really well," he said.

"We put the blinkers on him the other day over five around Werribee, and it just seems to have woken him up a bit better. He'll have less time to think about things around the turn, and it just might work out better for him."

O'Brien also has The Cliffsofmoher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire})in the Caulfield S and Yucatan (Galileo {Ire}) in the Herbert Power S.

McDonald chasing Group 1s

James McDonald has spurned the opportunity to win Saturday's $13 million The TAB Everest in Sydney for a quality book at Caulfield.

The Sydney-based expatriate New Zealander had the choice of a handful of runners in the Randwick feature, but will be in Melbourne where his Group 1 mounts include the G1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas favourite The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice).

Winner of the G1 Golden Rose, The Autumn Sun is one of James McDonald's chances at Caulfield on Saturday

“He's the most exciting and most expensive colt in Australia,” McDonald said. “He's already a dual Group One winner and the class act in the race.

“He's got all the right attributes to be the next big thing in Australian racing.”

McDonald has a full book of rides at Caulfield and also rides favoured runners Smart Melody (Smart Missile) in the G1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas, Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) in the G1 Aquis Toorak Handicap and D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}) in the G1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m).

“I had a few to pick from in the Everest, but I thought I was better off going to Caulfield and it probably couldn't have worked out any better,” McDonald said.

“These are time-honoured Group One races. It would be great to win the Everest but it would be great to win a Caulfield Guineas too. I'm looking forward to the day."

McDonald was excited about the prospects of Smart Melody in the Thousand Guineas and had no concerns about the filly running out a strong 1600m.

“She'll run the mile on her ear,” he said. “It looks a nice race for her. She's so adaptable. She can race on the speed and she's got a turn of foot. I'm pretty excited to be partnering her in that.”

Humidor in series driving seat

A top four finish from Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo {IRE}) will secure him the New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield Spring WFA Championship.

The fourth and final race in the series is Saturday’s G1 Ladbrokes Caulfield S.

Following his victory in the G1 Memsie Stakes and placing in the G1 Underwood S., Humidor has earned 17 points.

His closest challenger is Homesman (USA) (War Front {USA}), who collected 10 points with his G1 Underwood S., victory two weeks ago and if he repeats that result on Saturday with Humidor out of the placings, he will top the table.

Tosen Basil (Jpn) (Harbinger {USA}) is also within striking range with eight points, but he would need both Humidor and Homesman to finish well outside the placings.

The Caulfield S., also features interesting newcomers to the series, including the recent Sydney Group 1 performers D’Argento (So You Think {NZ})) and Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock), well-performed Irish raider The Cliffsofmoher (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Melbourne spring star Night’s Watch (NZ) (Redwood {GB}).


Well-related youngster scores

The Tailors Niece (NZ) (Showcasing {GB}) turned in an encouraging run to win on debut at Tauherenikau on Thursday.

As his name alludes to, the Kevin Hickman-bred and raced 2-year-old is closely related to the multiple Group 1 placegetter Savile Row (NZ) (Makfi {NZ}) who is serving his first book of mares at Valachi Downs.

The Tailors Niece is the first foal of the Authorized (IRE) mare Kelly Jane (NZ), who is a half-sister to Savile Row with their dam Fleece (GB) (Daylami {IRE}).

It is the family of the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Solemia (IRE) (Poliglote {GB}) and the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Silasol (FR) (Monsun {GER}).

Runner-up in her only trial for trainer John Bary, The Tailors Niece was tardily away before she improved to sit outside the leader. She then finished determinedly under Johnathan Parkes to take the thick end of the stake in the New Zealand Bloodstock Insurance Pearl Series Race.