Daily News Wrap

9 min read

Waller taking cautious approach

Chris Waller has tentative plans for Winx (Street Cry (IRE) to race in the autumn, but warned if she showed any signs she is not at her best she will be immediately retired.

All going well, the champion mare will follow the same path as previous years, resuming in the Group 2 Apollo S. followed by the G1 Chipping Norton S., the G1 George Ryder S. and the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

The decision to race on had been made after discussions with the owners Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke and jockey Hugh Bowman.

“She has nothing left to prove to us or her many followers and we are under no illusion that she is getting a little older,” Waller said.

“However, she is in excellent condition both physically and mentally and had she not pleased us in any area of her wellbeing or mental state she would have been retired immediately.

“This is not to say that it may not happen before her first run of the preparation, after her first run or at any stage where we are not happy with any aspect of her training or physical state.

“We will not commit to any races as yet, but it would be logical to follow the path we have previously, commencing in the Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick in February and if she did manage to get through a four-race preparation it would most likely culminate in the Queen Elizabeth S. at Royal Randwick.

“I must stress to everyone that it shouldn't be assumed she will be there, it will be a race by race assessment as it has always been, especially over the past two seasons when deciding whether to go towards a third Cox Plate, a second Queen Elizabeth or even a fourth Cox Plate as it was in her last start.

“Each race is important for its own reason and we fully appreciate all of the support that she has had throughout her career.

“For her to be still racing in the form that she is while remaining in such good health is a credit to the owners, Hugh Bowman and other riders that have ridden her and most importantly the staff at Chris Waller Racing who continue to keep her safe and have enabled her to be appreciated in the manner that she is."

Hobartville start for top colt

Boom colt The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice) will resume in the G2 Hobartville S. at Rosehill on February 23.

“From there he will be aimed toward the G1 Randwick Guineas on March 9 but we won’t rule out other options,” trainer Chris Waller said.

“Given The Autumn Sun is a horse that boasts an exciting distance range from 1200 metres and beyond, there are a host of opportunities to allow us to showcase him against the best of his age as well as the best of his open class rivals.”

The Autumn Sun enjoying a beach recovery

The Autumn Sun won the G1 Golden Rose in October for owner Hermitage and prior to the G1 Caulfield Guineas, which he also added to his record, Arrowfield Stud purchased a 50 per cent holding in the colt.

“He managed to win these races, in my opinion, as an immature horse who required further physical development so he was sent to the paddock immediately after the Caulfield Guineas for this reason,” Waller said.

Adkins out with heart complaint

Young Sydney jockey Andrew Adkins will miss the holiday racing period after being diagnosed with pericarditis, an inflammation of the heart.

Racing New South Wales said on Friday that Adkins would be side-lined for at least the next two weeks.

Sydney's champion apprentice for 2016-17, Adkins rode his first Group 1 winner earlier this year aboard Daysee Doom (Domesday) in the Coolmore Classic.

Daysee Doom is trained by Adkins' former boss, Ron Quinton, who has nurtured the early careers of several of Sydney's leading riders, most notably Hugh Bowman.

Fact-finding mission

Trainer Danny O'Brien is hoping to find out more about promising filly My Pendant (NZ) (Pins) who chases a winning hat-trick at Flemington.

The three-year-old runs in Saturday's Santa's Workshop Plate following victories over shorter trips at Sandown and Moonee Valley.

“She steps up in trip on Saturday so it'll be good to get a look at her at 1400 metres on her home track and hopefully she can keep the streak going,” O'Brien said.

My Pendant rises to 60kg on Saturday with O'Brien resisting the temptation to engage a claiming apprentice in favour of Craig Williams, who is proven on the filly.

“He seems to have unlocked the potential,” O'Brien said.

“We are hoping she can get to some sort of black type races in the autumn as she's shown enough talent, so it might not be out of her reach.

“She'll go down to Thirteenth Beach after Saturday and take it easy for a month or so and potentially bounce in the autumn.”

Hollindale hopes boosted

The Gold Coast Turf Club's chances of attaining Group status for the G2 TAB Hollindale S. have been boosted by a stake increase for the current Group 2 contest.

Racing Queensland has announced the Aquis QTIS 2YO Jewel and the TAB Hollindale Stakes will have stakes boosts to $500,000.

The Aquis QTIS 3YO Jewel will also receive a significant increase to $200,000.

The increases have been made possible by sponsorships from Aquis and the TAB.

The Hollindale Stakes on May 4, will increase from $358,000 to $500,000 in a move aimed at attracting some of Australia's top weight-for-age performers to the Gold Coast.

Views from the GCTC Grandstand

The GCTC has been hoping to get an upgrade to Group 1 for the Hollindale, which is a traditional lead-up to the G1 Doomben Cup.

The increase for Aquis QTIS Jewel, on March 16, means QTIS-eligible horses will compete for $1.5 million in stakes.

RQ chief executive Brendan Parnell said the increases for Jewel Day would provide even more incentive for buyers at the 2019 Gold Coast March Yearling Sale, featuring lots by Queensland sires Spirit Of Boom and Better Than Ready.

“The Hollindale is a proven form-line for horses targeting the Doomben Cup, so the increase aims to make it an even more attractive lead-up,” Parnell said.

“Ultimately, the aim is to work alongside the Gold Coast Turf Club to ensure the Hollindale receives the highest rating possible with a view to achieving Group 1 status in future years."

Australia on mare’s radar

Multiple Group One-winning mare Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) may cross the Tasman early next year if she satisfies her connections in her upcoming three New Zealand assignments.

The Jamie Richards-trained mare enjoyed an outstanding spring preparation, winning all three of her starts, including two at the elite level.

She has since returned to the trials in the last couple of weeks, winning both of her heats and Fortuna Syndicate manager John Galvin was pleased with what he saw.

Melody Belle

“She has been flying in her work, you couldn’t ask for any better than winning those two trials the way she did, particularly the second one where she was three-wide,” he said.

“Shafiq (Rusof, jockey) eased her back, which is a bit unusual for her to race from that position in the field, and she was able to gather them up and win in a pretty quick time.”

Melody Belle’s first summer test will come in the G1 Sistema Railway at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day and the 4-year-old mare will have a final hit-out on Saturday in preparation for the race.

“She is going to gallop on Saturday in-between races at Te Rapa and that will tighten her up really nicely for her big assignment on New Year’s Day,” Galvin said.

All going to plan, Melody Belle will then have two more starts in New Zealand before a possible Australian venture.

“We have got the three sprints to get through here first – The Railway, Telegraph and the Waikato Sprint (BCD Group Sprint). After that we will firm up on some definite plans for Australia, subject to her form being good enough,” Galvin said.

“We do plan to throw a nomination in for The All-Star Mile. That mile would suit her on March 16 because it is three or four weeks after the Waikato race.”

Galvin said another possible target for Melody Belle could be the G1 Coolmore Legacy at Randwick in April.

Stablemates ready for Cup

Gary Vile is happy with the conditions of his G3 Hotel Coachman Manawatu Cup contenders and expects both to make their presence felt on Saturday.

The Awapuni trainer will saddle 2016 winner Jacksstar (NZ) (Zed {NZ})and last year's Listed New Zealand St Leger winner Rock On (NZ) (Road To Rock).

“I'd think both will be very competitive, especially with a bit of rain around. A rain-affected track won't hurt either of them,” Vile said.


Jacksstar is building up well in his summer campaign, having spent 17 months on the side-line after suffering a serious tendon and ligament injury when running third in last year's G1 Auckland Cup.

“It was a really good run here last time. Every run, he's got better but that last run had a lot of merit," Vile said.

“The short course is no help for him and the step up to 2200 metres suits him better. He's coming back really well, though he still might need another one before he shows his best. His ultimate aims are the Wellington and Auckland Cups.

“Cameron Lammas is back on him this weekend and he knows him well. He should go a good race.”

Rock On is also coming back from injury, having injured a tendon last year.