Daily News Wrap

7 min read

Faatinah flies in Dubai

Victorian speed merchant sprinter Faatinah (Nicconi) has begun his latest stint in Dubai with success over 1000 metres on the opening night of the Meydan carnival.

The Lindsay Park-trained Sheikh Handam-owned Faatinah produced a powerful finish under Jim Crowley to go to the line two and a-half lengths clear.

The 6-year-old has been set for another crack at the G1 Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night in March.

After winning the first of three starts in Dubai last year, Faatinah finished eighth in the Al Quoz won by Jungle Cat (IRE) (Iffraaj {GB}).

He subsequently came to Australia and won the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. during the Melbourne spring.

Faatinah’s co-trainer Ben Hayes was in Dubai and was naturally over the moon.

“As he has aged, he seems to have become quicker and we were keen to run him over 1000 metres as he had perhaps not always been seeing out the 1200,” Hayes told the Dubai Racing Club.

“He is my favourite horse in the yard and we will now have to think about how to campaign him.

“He runs well fresh as we know so that might be the plan - to give him plenty of time between runs, with the Al Quoz Sprint the final target on the Dubai World Cup card.”

Faatinah's stablemates Eshtiraak (Street Cry {IRE}) and Muraaqeb (Snitzel) will also be in action in Dubai in the coming weeks.

Cup incident a freak accident

An investigation into the injury and subsequent euthanasia of The Cliffsofmoher (IRE) (Galileo {IRE}) during the G1 Melbourne Cup has found it was a freak accident which could not have been predicted or prevented.

The Aidan O'Brien-trained Irish horse broke down passing the winning post at Flemington on the first circuit, sustaining a fracture to his right shoulder.

A post-mortem has confirmed the diagnosis, saying there was no evidence of a pre-existing condition and that the type and location of the fracture meant it could not be surgically repaired.

Racing Victoria released the findings of the investigation on Friday adding there were no prohibited substances detected in samples taken from the horse neither was there any evidence the track, rated a soft 6 after rain on the day, played any part in the incident.

The investigation found:

1: The Cliffsofmoher sustained a fracture to the right shoulder and that, on all the available information, no party could have predicted the injury was going to occur prior to the race; and

2: The RV veterinary team made the correct decision, and the kindest one for the horse, in electing to euthanise The Cliffsofmoher in a timely manner on the day.

RV integrity services boss Jamie Stier said his team was satisfied the right course of action was taken, but added they would undertake a review of the increased number of injuries suffered by international visitors to the spring carnival.

“In the end, this was an injury that occurs rarely in the racing horse with the rate of fatal incidents in Victorian racing 0.05 per cent of all starters.

“Visiting international horses are already subjected to enhanced veterinary scrutiny in their home country before travelling to Australia and also throughout their time at the Werribee International Horse Centre.

“That said, the increased incidence of racing and training injuries among the international horses during the spring requires further examination and we have commissioned a review to determine whether there are any identifiable risks that we can address in the future.”

Hopes all with Hills

Trainer Tony McEvoy’s hopes of further Magic Millions Classic success rest with Hills (Not A Single Doubt).

To gain a spot, the filly has to win Saturday's QTIS Two-Year-Old H., the same race her stablemate Sunlight (Zoustar) claimed 12 months ago before winning the Classic.

She is the stable’s only hope in the juvenile feature following the withdrawal on Wednesday of Sun City (Zoustar) due to a leg infection and Just Zerene (Zoustar) missed qualification.

Hills was a winner at Ipswich and McEvoy believes she has improved since.

Hills as a yearling

“I have always said we were behind with her after she bungled the start in a jump-out,” he said.

“But she has got into the field for Saturday and it is up to her now. Maybe it is our turn for some luck.

“She is a lovely filly and she is gradually getting things right.”

Star mare in the mix

Three-time Group 1 winner Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) has been nominated for the A$5m All-Star Mile at Flemington March 16.

“It will be tough for her to get a nomination, I am sure she will need to rely on one of the four wild cards,” Fortuna Director John Galvin said.

“We didn’t want to die wondering and the distance should be perfect for her at that stage of her preparation.”

Melody Belle

Trained by Jamie Richards, Melody Belle finished a gallant third in the G1 Railway S. last out after drawing a horror gate.

During the spring she won both the G1 Tarzino Trophy and the G1 Windsor Park Plate to go with her 2-year-old success in the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S.

Firm ground key to filly

Stakes winner Nomothaj (Snitzel) will appreciate a good surface at Caulfield on Saturday.

She has been unplaced in her two starts so far as a 3-year-old at Flemington and Ballarat, but struck rain-affected going both times.

Co-trainer Tom Dabernig believes a return to racing on firmer track in thePatricia Cooper H. (1000m) can see the filly turn her form around.

“I think back on top of the ground she will appreciate that and she looks to have found her right race here,” Dabernig told RSN.

“It's a smallish field. She's got plenty of weight but she comes into the race well with Lachie King's claim.

“I think it has been the wettish tracks so certainly it’s a bit of a crossroads for her. She would need to perform well in a race like this to see whether we press on for the campaign or whether she went for a spell.

“But she certainly looks to have been working well at home."

Cummings youngsters win jump-outs

Godolphin 2-year-olds Microphone (Exceed And Excel) and Landstrasse (Sepoy) impressed in straight-track jump-outs at Flemington on Friday.

The former easily won his 800 metre trial and stopped the clock at 47.13, more than a second quicker than the other juvenile trials on the course proper.

Stablemate Landstrasse was successful in his heat with Tony McEvoy’s Acerticus (Not A Single Doubt).

Neither Microphone or Landstrasse hold Group 1 Blue Diamond S entries, but both unraced colts are nominated for the Golden Slipper S.

Cummings trains the current $6 Golden Slipper favourite in Tassort (Brazen Beau), a five length debut winner of the Golden Gift in November.

Balham ready for bold showing

A top showing is expected from Balham (NZ) (Don Eduardo {NZ}) in Saturday’s Listed Gallagher Marton Cup at Awapuni.

The gelding finished a gallant second in the G3 Manawatu Cup last time out and a repeat performance would see him hard to roll.

“We're expecting the same sort of run we saw in the Manawatu Cup and he's definitely good enough to win this,” said Haworth, who trains in partnership with her father David.


“I was rapt with him last time. I thought he was going to win it half-way down the straight, but I was so proud of his run. He had run really well the week before and he's come through the Cup run super.

“It's like he hasn't even raced. He's bouncing off the training track. We don't do a lot with him once he's fit because once he's fit, he stays fit.”

A winner of six of his 48 starts, Balham has placed at stakes level on several occasions, among those another second placing in the 2016 Manawatu Cup.

“He's just so honest. If he gets the trip he likes, he just keeps going. If they run it at a genuine speed, he can roll into it and be right there,” Haworth said.