Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Gate no barrier to success

Bjorn Baker isn’t perturbed by an outside barrier for his G2 Villiers S. contender Goodfella (Snitzel).

“It's not the worst draw for him, he tends to like being out in the open and with a bit of rain around that could work in our favour,” he said.

Rain and storms are predicted for Sydney and Goodfella has won two of his three starts on soft and heavy going. He also has a similarly strong record over 1600 meters at Randwick.


A stakes winner as a 3-year-old, Goodfella was consistent in his spring campaign with a win and four minor placings in six runs, his only unplaced effort coming in the G1 Epsom H.

At his most recent appearance he finished runner-up to Villiers rival My Nordic Hero (GB) (Archipenko {GB}) in the G3 Festival S.

He had a short freshen-up and ran well in the Festival and generally he is better second and third-up, so hopefully that is the case,” Baker said.

“He's earned just $1 million, he's been a great campaigner so it would be fitting if he could earn over the million on Saturday."

Adam Hyeronimus, who has won on Goodfella before, has the Villiers mount.

Smart 4YO to Weir

Progressive 4-year-old English Gambler (Casino Prince) has transferred to the stable of leading Victoria trainer Darren Weir.

He made a bright start to his New Zealand career under the guidance of Cambridge trainer Lauren Brennan with two wins and four placings from six appearances.

English Gambler

“English Gambler has gone to Darren Weir, it’s unfortunate to lose him, but business-wise it’s a good idea for the owners,” she said.

A $34,000 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale purchase, English Gambler is a son of the Zabeel (NZ) mare Christmas Day, a half-sister to the G3 Cameron H. winner New Tipperary (High Chaparral {IRE}).

It is also the family of the Group 1 winning siblings Assertive Lad (Zeditave) and Assertive Lass, who is the dam of the G1 Australian Guineas winner and sire Reset (Zabeel {NZ}).

Heart of a stayer

Staying mare Heartlet (Duke Of Marmalade {IRE}) has earned her shot at black type in Saturday’s Listed Christmas Cup at Randwick.

She has posted a win and two placings over the 2400 metre trip and trainer Kerry Parker pointed to her third placing at the trip as the turning point.

“I put it down to that race at Kembla, she sat outside the leader and worked the whole way,” Parker said.

“I think she learned a lot out of that day. She learned to relax and switch off a bit more and since then she's gone ahead in leaps and bounds.

“She's always been a lovely, big, strong filly, but she was very straight in front and needed time to develop.

“It's good for the owners that they were patient and now they're getting rewarded.”

Permission to bet required

Jockeys agents in New South Wales will have to get written permission to bet under a new local rule.

The Racing NSW board has introduced the rule to come into effect on March 1 next year.

It has been under consideration for some time and surfaced again after an inquiry into tactics in a race at Rosehill last month.

Stewards questioned jockey Josh Parr about his ride on odds-on favourite Roheryn (Lonhro), who finished second to Chess Master (Fighting Sun)who started at $9.50.

During the inquiry it came to light that Parr's manager John Walter, who has an online tipping service, had selected Chess Master.

Stewards accepted Walter's reasoning he had assessed Chess Master as over the odds and the horse was better value.

Agents who want to bet will have to get written permission from Racing NSW before the rule comes into effect.

Further Cup honours beckon

Well-performed stayer Five To Midnight (Domesday) is chasing consecutive wins in the G3 Skycity Hamilton Waikato Cup at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Trainer Lisa Latta is hoping he bounces back from a disappointing run when out of the money in his lead-up outing the G3 Counties Cup.

Five To Midnight as a yearling

“He just didn’t like the track at Counties,” Latta said. “We put him in the paddock for a couple of days after that and his work’s been really good.

“He’s got to carry 60kgs, which is a big ask compared to some of the others that are only carrying 53.5kgs, so that is a concern but he’s got a nice draw to use.”

NZTR pinpoints top priorities

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has identified four priorities as the racing industry prepares for the implementation of the Messara Report.

NZTR Chairman Dr Alan Jackson told the Annual General Meeting in Wellington this week that they would enable the changes the industry so badly needed.

They are Racefields, a globally competitive wagering operator, wagering confidence and customer participation and fit for purpose facilities.

At present, two operators, BetEasy – which was formed by a merger between CrownBet & William Hill Australia - and Betfair were making voluntary Racefields payments. These two operators represent approximately 35 per cent of the Australian corporate market and the New Zealand thoroughbred code is projected to get around NZ$1.5 million a year from these two operators.

“Once the Racefields legislation is in place and all corporates are included and therefore competing on an equal basis, we should be able to commence with annual revenue of around NZ$4 to NZ$5 million,” Jackson said. “That will grow to NZ$10 million at least over the next three years, aided by further promotion of our racing in the Australian market by NZTR.

“We share the Racing Minister’s view that the legislation has to be fit for purpose, but it is also vital that it is fully in place for the next racing season. We have waited too long already.”

Jackson reiterated NZTR’s support for the outsourcing of the TAB wagering operations.

“There is significantly increased international competition for the major punters, who operate in a global market place that now includes consumption taxes in Australia,” he said.

“Analysts predict these changes will increasingly favour the large, low-cost operators and continue to pose challenges for the New Zealand TAB, which lacks the economies of scale and the deep pockets available to their mainly global competitors.”

Non-TAB stake increases

Racing Queensland will increase prize money on non-TAB country race meetings by $550,000 annually from Saturday.

Following consultation with the Country Racing Advisory Panel the increases were finalised.

RQ chairman Steve Wilson said minimum prize money for all non-TAB thoroughbred races would rise to $7450 with the payment for winning increasing to $5000.

“The prize money increases for both non-TAB and TAB thoroughbred racing aim to directly improve cash flow and industry viability for participants and owners,” Wilson said.

“It is hoped the recent announcements will help lift confidence within the Queensland industry and make it more attractive to race a horse at any of Queensland's 120 thoroughbred clubs.”