Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Late Motakhayyel scare doesn't worry Hayes

$1.4 million colt Motakhayyel (Snitzel) is nearing a racetrack debut despite turning what looked an easy Tatura trial win into a narrow victory after shying at the winning post

The high-priced colt, secured by Shadwell Stud at this year's Easter Sales, was set to bolt in in his first official trial before Jake Duffy took a hold of him in the final stages and he held on to win by a neck.

Undeterred, co-trainer David Hayes told Racing.com that Motakhayyel would head to Flemington for a jumpout before a likely racetrack debut in the next month

"He'll go to Flemington in 10 days and that'll confirm whether he's ready to go to the races or not, but off today's performance I'd say we will be looking for him running before Christmas," he said.

"I would say he'll just get better. He'll have another trip away to Flemington and I'd say he won't have winning post-itis after that."

"He's never shown anything like that before. But it's his first trip away from home and he was out there on his own."

Motakhayyel is out of stakes-placed Tetsuko (I Am Invincible), who is a half-sister to Purrpurrlena, the dam of champion South African filly Entisaar.

Weir army hits Perth

Darren Weir's contingent for Saturday's G1 Railway S. at Ascot have arrived and Weir's foreman Jarrod McLean is expecting a strong showing from Peaceful State (Animal Kingdom {USA}) and Iconoclasm (Toorak Toff).

“They all travelled really well. It’s obviously a big ask, coming from Warrnambool. It worked out to be about 14 hours door to door,” McLean told RSN. “It was a big ask for them but they’ve bounced back really quickly.”

Iconoclasm drew barrier 12 for the 1600m race, with Peaceful State to come out of barrier four.

While McLean said Weir would have preferred the barriers were swapped, he is confident that Peaceful State, who was third in the G1 Cantela S. at his most recent start, can upset the locals and win the $1 million race.

“The way it’s gonna play out, I really like Peaceful State but that’s no knock on Iconoclasm at all.”

Zoubo impresses at Sandown

Smart filly Zoubo (Zoustar) made it two wins from as many starts with a strong finish in a 3-year-old benchmark race at Sandown on Wednesday.

The Mick Price trained Zoubo settled last in the six-horse field and rounded up the favourite Kaplumpich (All American) to win by three-quarters of a length.

Jockey Michael Dee, who also rode Zoubo in her debut win at Mornington, was suitably impressed by her turn of foot,

"That was a very impressive win," Dee said. "She won very convincingly at Mornington last start. Coming here today I knew she had a lot of improvement to take out of that first run which she has done - she's progressed really well," Dee said.

"I was always travelling quite comfortably (at the rear) and as we won last start from the back, she showed a good turn of foot.

"I always felt that when we'd straighten up that there'd be a good turn of foot. She's got plenty of upside."

Bred and raced by Andrew Calvert, Zoubo is out of Testa Reale, a stake-placed Testa Rossa mare who has already produced handy Hong Kong galloper Dehere's The Love (Dehere {USA}).

Volpe steps up Railway defence

Volpe Veloce (Foxwedge) takes the next major step towards the defence of her G1 Sistema Railway S. title in Saturday's G2 Dunstan Feeds Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Counties

Coming off a fourth in the G3 Sweynesse S at Rotorua last start, Volpe Veloce has taken substantial improvement according to her co-trainer trainer Graham Richardson.

“She was a fair bit off them on the turn and made up a lot of ground to get beaten by a head,” he said. “It was a big effort on a tight track, which probably didn’t suit her. I do believe she is a better horse right-handed.”

“Her work has been first-class and she has been fantastic (since her last run).”

Her performance will determine whether Richardson and Gavin Parker decide to give her another shot at the Railway S. on New Year's Day.

“It will depend on how she goes, but at this stage she’ll probably head to the Railway,” Richardson said.

Stevens calls time

Legendary American jockey Gary Stevens has confirmed his immediate retirement due to a spinal injury.

Stevens had a scan after suffering what he thought was a minor injury, but was told he risked serious damage to his spinal cord should he ride again.

In a career which spanned 39 years, Stevens won 5187 races, including three Kentucky Derbys and 11 Breeders' Cup races.

He has had both knees and hips replaced and has retired twice previously only to make a comeback but is adamant that medical advice prevents him from riding ever again.

Gary Stevens

Showcasing Leads The Way At Goffs

Showcasing (GB) can do little wrong at present and duly provided the top lot during the second session of the Goffs November Foal Sale. Brendan Holland purchased the colt (lot 405) for €160,000.

“Everyone wants a Showcasing and it’s good to have a young up-and-coming sire like him," said Holland. "This is a grand colt and the sire has his best crop still to race for him next year, so let’s hope that he continues to do what he’s doing.”

No Nay Never (USA) led the first day of trade and unsurprisingly he was responsible for several weanlings near the top of the table on day two.

Camas Park Stud stepped in for a chestnut colt (lot 417) out of the multiple-winning Pivotal (GB) mare Court Circular (GB) at €100,000. American agent Kim Valerio picked up lot 473 for €90,000.

Too Darn Hot To Darley Upon Retirement

Cartier champion juvenile colt Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) will stand at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket at the conclusion of his racing career after an agreement was reached between Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webbers' Watership Down Stud and Godolphin.

Unbeaten in four starts for trainer John Gosden, the ‘TDN Rising Star’ rattled off group victories in the G3 Solario S. at Sandown, G2 Champagne S. at Doncaster and G1 Darley Dewhurst S. after breaking his maiden by seven lengths on debut at Sandown on Aug. 9.