Daily News Wrap

7 min read

Sad loss of Sweet Melody

Group 2 winning filly Smart Melody (Smart Missile) has died of a colic-related illness.

Lees Racing announced via Twitter that the 3-year-old, a winner of five of her six races, including the Listed Cap D'Antibes S. and the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude, had died on Wednesday.

"It's with a heavy heart we announce the loss of Smart Melody today to a colic-related illness," the tweet said.

"Our thoughts are with all the staff @GooreePark and @Leesracing."

Bred and owned by Gooree Stud, she was undefeated in her first five races before finishing seventh as a short-priced favourite in the G1 Thousand Guineas.

Smart Melody

Golden aims for Rosina Kojonup

She Will Reign's half-sister Rosina Kojonup (Shamus Award) is set for bigger things after an authoritative win at Warwick Farm on Wednesday.

Trainer Bjorn Baker even cheekily mentioned the new $7.5m Golden Eagle as a possible long-term aim for the filly, who took her record to two wins from three starts.

"She's still got a long way to go but she's exciting because she's got speed," Baker said.

"You saw her tactical speed there. She just jumps and travels and it's very nice to have her in the stable."

A $425,000 Easter Sale buy for John Squarcini, she was bought shortly after She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain) won the G1 Golden Slipper S.

The younger half-brother Time To Reign (Time For War) recently won his first two 2-year-old starts and is high up in Golden Slipper markets.

Sun spring plans unchanged by Eagle

The Autumn Sun's (Redoute's Choice) 2019 spring campaign won't be altered by the addition of the $7.5m Golden Eagle next year according to Arrowfield Stud principal John Messara.

While supporting Racing NSW's bold programming of the rich event for 4-year-olds, Messara, who is in charge of the racing program for The Autumn Sun, said the G1 Cox Plate the week before would be a preferred target to the 1500m race at Rosehill.

The Autumn Sun

"I'd say the ones below him (The Autumn Sun) might consider that race but he's in a slightly special situation in that he's proven himself superior to his own age group - significantly superior - and we're hoping that's reinforced in the new year and that he will be aiming for weight-for-age success so he has a pretty clear route as to where to go," Messara told Racing.com.

"Yes the (Golden Eagle) money is very attractive and the race would be easier to win than the one he'll be going in probably because it's only got one age group, but for stud purposes, winning against all ages is probably a better underpinning to where he's going."

Messara said that while he wasn't sure that the lure of the race would stop the top-line 3-year-olds retiring to stud before they reach four, he suggested it would impact the amount of horses sold to Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.

"The ones they are buying from Hong Kong, they are buying the progressive horses that at three have shown something and they are going to be good four-year-olds, but we've lost them," he said.

"Making it four-year-olds only has a special purpose and I think the purpose is to keep the horses in training that might have otherwise been sold to Asia."

Better track to suit stayer

Lord Fandango (Ger) (Lord Of England {Ger}) can put a last-start failure behind him on a firmer track, according to his trainer Archie Alexander.

The stayer dropped out to tail the field home in the Listed Ballarat Cup, but much better is expected in Saturday’s Listed Pakenham Cup.

“It was too wet for him at Ballarat,” Alexander said. “He just doesn't go on a wet track.

“The Ballarat Cup winner (Kiwia) has gone up in weight and I know we were a long way off him at Ballarat, but on his day Lord Fandango is a good horse,” Alexander said.

“We meet a lot of the same horses but the difference is it's a different track and I'm looking forward to it.”

Stewards also reported Lord Fandango, who ran fourth in last year’s G1 Caulfield Cup, pulled up lame at Ballarat but Alexander said the 6-year-old was fine leading into Saturday.

“He wouldn't be running if he wasn't,” Alexander said. “We've looked at him since. It was just an off day.

“I think Dal Harraild is the one to beat. He beat us fair and square in the Zipping Classic.”

The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained import has finished second in the G3 Bendigo Cup and G2 Zipping Classic in his past two starts with Lord Fandango fourth in those races before Ballarat.

Slick performer earns his chance

Sam Slick (Strategic) has earned himself a shot of a decent prize at Pakenham on Saturday.

The 4-year-old has won four of his last five starts and his progression has convinced trainer Greg Eurell the gelding is deserving of a spot in the VOBIS Gold Bullion.

“We really thought he was the horse on the up and thought we would have a throw at the stumps,” he said.

“It's a very inviting race being a VOBIS Gold race and the 1400-metres will be ideal for where he's at in his preparation.

“It sort of ticked all the boxes. He's certainly up in grade but you can't knock the way he's been going.

“I had a chat to his managing owner and I believe the horse will pick up a race in town, so I said why don’t we have a go at this race.

“I think all he will need is a bit of luck and he will be highly competitive.”

Flying start for Miller

Former jumps jockey Daniel Miller has successfully cleared the first hurdle of his training career.

The Matamata-based trainer sent out his first runner at Pukekohe Park on Wednesday and Sheezallmine (NZ) (Super Easy {NZ}) led all the way to win the Mount Shop Maiden and give him the perfect start.

“It’s a great result and all the family is here,” said Miller, who rode 23 winners. “Mum and Dad got rid of all the kids and bought this filly off gavelhouse.com for NZ$1000."

“I broke her in and then put her out and she came back twice the size.”

Ahead of her debut, Sheezallmine was unbeaten in two trials and was ridden in the latest by Miller’s partner Tegan Newman who retained the ride on Thursday.

They jumped to the front and, although tiring at the post, had enough in reserve to see it through by three-quarters of a length.

Sheezallmine is a 3-year-old daughter of Bast (Tale Of The Cat {USA}), a half-sister to five winners including the Group 3 performers Laafaire (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB} ) and Dorian Grey (NZ) (Postponed {USA}).

The headline act within the first three generations of the pedigree is the G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Khaptingly (Bletchingly).

Trainer fined over fight

Victorian trainer Matthew Leek has been fined $5000 over a physical altercation with fellow trainer John Gunning.

The Racing and Disciplinary (RAD) Board found Leek guilty of a charge under AR 175(q) which involves engaging in unseemly behaviour after an altercation in June ended with Leek punching and kneeing Gunning.

Meanwhile, Racing NSW stewards suspended Adam Hyeronimus for seven days after finding him guilty of failing to ride his mount out to the line

Hyeronimus rode the Bjorn Baker-trained Vega (Lope De Vega {Ire}) in the Australian Turf Club Benchmark 70 Handicap (1100m) last Friday at Canterbury and acting chief steward Philip Dingwall said in the opinion of stewards, 'the vision showed an opportunity to improve over the final 80 metres and ride his mount out'.

Hyeronimus was found guilty of the charge and was suspended from November 15 until November 22.