Daily News Wrap

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Strasbourg all class on debut in Max Lees

Peter and Paul Snowden's Strasbourg (I Am Invincible) justified his odds-on quote on debut to win the Max Lees Classic at Newcastle.

The $750,000 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale purchase for China Horse Club/Newgate/Winstar charged home under Corey Brown to win by a widening 2-1/4 lengths.

"I gave Corey the option to sit off them knowing he would be good late so that was the case," Peter Snowden told Sky Racing. "It was good to see him run right through the line and hit top gear 100(m) out."

"He's a good sort - they paid a lot of money for him and you can see why. We just have to earn it back now."

Strasbourg is out of stakes-placed Danish Spy (Dane Shadow), who is a half-sister to Forest Spy out of Listed winner Super Snooper.

Snowzone (Snitzel), trained by Max Lees' son Kris, held on for second ahead of Stralex (Stratum) in the second running of the race.

Strasbourg as a yearling

Race-free Mondays start in Victoria

Victoria starts its race-free Mondays concept from this week, with this Monday the first of 13 without racing over the next three months.

Most of those meetings have been to a midweek timeslot to create double-header Wednesdays where afternoon and twilight meetings are programmed.

“Our customers warmly embraced the trial with turnover on the 10 double-header Wednesdays last season up a collective 14.1 percent when compared to the combined figures of the Monday and Wednesday meetings during the same period in 2017,” RV Executive General Manager – Racing and Participant Wellbeing, Greg Carpenter, said.

“The Wednesday twilights were particularly popular with an average turnover of 12.78m per meeting, up from $10.85m per meeting when held in the Wednesday afternoon timeslot the season prior."

“Our analysis showed that racing fans were able to better engage after work with the Wednesday twilight meeting and that the break from racing on a Monday was viewed as a positive by the industry and an innovation worth persisting with.”

Showcasing Shines At Tatts

A colt and a filly by Showcasing (GB) were the stars on the final day of the Tattersalls December Foal Sale, selling for 120,000gns apiece.

Timmy Hyde Jr. purchased lot 1161 from Jamie Railton.

“She owned the ring out there, she’s gorgeous,” said Hyde, who will reoffer the filly through his family’s Camas Park Stud. “There have been a lot of nice horses this week but there’s also been a lot of competition.”

Minutes later it was the turn of lot 1166, a colt out of the listed Beverley Bullet victrix and seven-time winner Duchess Dora (Ire), who fetched the same price and will be added to the Yeomanstown Stud team of pinhooks.

A bumper Friday session meant that the foal sale as a whole saw record turnover just shy of 35 million gns for 681 weanlings sold at a rate of 70%. The median remained unchanged at 25,000gns and the average was up by 16% at 51,285gns.

“The world’s highest priced filly foal in 2018, new record December Foal turnover of nearly 35 million guineas, as well as an unprecedented number of foals selling for 500,000 guineas or more and also for 100,000 guineas or more are all heartening statistics to be able to take from this week’s Tattersalls December Foal Sale,” said Tattersalls Chairman Edmond Mahony at the close of the sale.

He added, “While we can reflect on the positive aspects of this week’s December Foal Sale and also the record-breaking Tattersalls October Yearling Sale, we should not overlook the challenges that currently exist in certain sectors of the bloodstock market. The overall clearance rate this week has fallen and it is abundantly clear that the current imbalance between supply and demand at the lower end of the market is an issue for all concerned."

Colless returns for Brisbane summer

Experienced Queensland jockey Glen Colless will take a significant step towards a return to race riding when he resumes trackwork on Monday.

The two-time Group 1 winning jockey has been sidelined with a back injury since September 15 but is on the road to recovery and hopes to be back race riding in the next couple of weeks.

Colless, a rider of over 1000 winners, will again hook up with Chris Waller's Queensland-based stable.

Robbie Fradd also returns to the Queensland riding ranks this week after winning the riding premiership in Mauritius.

Ashlor set for another G1 challenge

Heartened by Ashlor's (Hard Spun {USA}) sixth in the G1 Winterbottom S., trainer Dan McCarthy is headed back to the top again with the 5-year-old.

In his first attempt at Group 1 level, Ashlor fought on gamely to be beaten less than three lengths, despite many of his fellow on-pacers fading late.


McCarthy will now aim Ashlor at the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) in February.

“He was fantastic, he really was,” McCarthy told Racing.com.

“Given the sectional times they ran in the race, as much as it looked like he kicked and was going to run in the first three, he was never going to be able to maintain those sectionals they ran."

“To only be beaten by two and a half lengths, it was a very brave effort."

“He won’t spell but he’ll have a nice freshen when he gets back to get over the trip and then we’ll be having a crack at the Oakleigh Plate."

“Under the right handicap conditions and with a bit of luck, we’re definitely going to be competitive in a lot of races going forward because he’s still maturing and he’s still getting better.”

Bigger targets in sight for stayer

A trip back to stakes company awaits Shared Secrets (NZ) (Nadeem) after her return to form in a ratings race at Wanganui on Saturday.

The one-time St Leger Trial winner made it three wins from 18 starts and trainer Mark Oulaghan feels that win could prove the spark to the 5-year-old mare getting back to her best.

“She’s a handy sort of mare that’s just taken a while to come to it,” Oulaghan said. “She was well ridden and I think that counts a bit for it (the win).”

Oulaghan has her nominated for the Dunstan Feeds Stayers Championship Final (2200m) on January 1 and the G1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup (3200m) on March 9, while the G3 Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup (2100m) at Awapuni on December 22 and the Listed Gallagher Marton Cup (2100m) at the same venue on January 5 were also possibilities.

“We’ll look at something a bit better at her next start,” he said. “That will be a staying race somewhere.”