Daily News Wrap

6 min read

NZ venture confirmed

True Excelsior (Exceed And Excel) will be on a plane to New Zealand next Saturday.

The Rosemont Stud-owned mare’s tilt at the G1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph at Trentham has been confirmed.

“The race is there and it's a Group 1. If you could fluke winning it, it would be great, especially for a mare,” said Leon Corstens, who trains with his son Troy.

True Excelsior finished third in the Group 3 Standish H. on New Year's Day at Flemington in her most recent start and that was enough to earn her an overseas trip.

True Excelsior

She is a multiple stakes placegetter, including two at Group 3 level at Moonee Valley last season as a 3-year-old while her only Group 1 outing resulted in a run for fourth in the Sangster S. for fillies and mares in Adelaide in May.

That form has encouraged the stable to give her a chance at The Telegraph.

Corstens said True Excelsior had come through her Standish H. run in great condition.

“We've taken her down the beach with another couple of horses and she's really come ahead in leaps and bounds.

“You just hope that she cops the travel all right. That's the main thing.”

Cummings in confident mood

James Cummings is bullish about his chances of joining his grandfather, the late Bart Cummings, as a Magic Millions Classic-winning trainer.

The legendary horseman won the race with Malibu Magic (Prego {IRE}) and Mimi Lebrock (Show A Heart).

The James Cummings-prepared Exhilarates (Snitzel) will be the first runner for Godolphin in the Classic on Saturday.

Exhilarates as a yearling

The trainer is not feeling pressure about his first Magic Millions Classic, having already overcome one major obstacle.

“I have already done the Gold Coast theme park circuit with the kids and believe me that is stress,” Cummings said.

Exhilarates won her way into the race with a decisive victory on Saturday.

“She was poised before the turn and then let down sharply. It looked like the performance needed from a 2-year-old who is backing up in seven days,” Cummings said.

“It was a run she needed. Exhilarates wouldn't have been ready for the Millions without it.”

“The Millions looks an open race, but she is a fit horse with good form.

End of the line for Maygrove

Well-performed stayer Maygrove (Authorized {IRE}) has been retired following an unplaced run in Saturday’s Listed Gallagher Marton Cup.

Trained by Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman for Lib Petagna and Patrick O’Rourke, the grey won nine races, including the G2 Wellington Cup, the G2 Awapuni Gold Cup and the G3 Counties Cup.

The Wellington Cup performance is the one that stands out most for Petagna’s bloodstock manager, Bruce Perry.

Maygrove winning the 2015 Wellington Cup

“He has provided us with some wonderful memories, but I would rate his Wellington Cup victory at the top of that pile,” he said.

“It is a terrific race to win, but for his co-owner Patrick O’Rourke it was very special as he grew up in Wellington and had attended the meeting over so many years with his family.

“To own the winner of that race made for a very special day.”

While Perry is thankful for what Maygrove has achieved over his career, he is disappointed that the retirement has been forced by the current handicapping model operating in New Zealand.

“He is as sound as a bell and I have no doubt he is fully capable of winning more races,” he said.

“It is just a shame that horses like him are being forced out by the handicapping as he has continually had to carry topweight in his races.

“He has been a very good performer, but the system just doesn’t seem to be able to cater for this type of horse as they get older as there is no weight-relief available for them.

“Our staying ranks are thin as it is and seeing these horses being retired is a real shame.”

Maygrove also campaigned in Australia in 2015 and finished fourth in the G3 Bart Cummings and filled similar placings in the G3 Geelong and Bendigo Cups.

Filly passes muster

Veterinary inspection has failed to find anything amiss with last-start failure Media Sensation (I Am Invincible).

In her first appearance since winning the G1 New Zealand 1000 Guineas, the filly failed to beat a runner home in the G2 Eight Carat Classic at Ellerslie on Boxing Day.

Media Sensation winning the NZ 1000 Guineas

“Tests can’t find anything wrong with her and she had a run along on Saturday morning,” said Peter Williams, who trains the 3-year-old with his wife Dawn.

“At this stage we’re pressing on and she could go to Wellington for the Desert Gold S. or the other option is the Karaka Million. We’ll work it out this week.”

Stakes success a priority

Toowoomba horseman Steve Tregea is keen to get black type on the resume of his tough 5-year-old Prioritise (Rothesay).

“I would love for him to get at least a black-type placings because we have his dam and several others from her,” Tregea said.

“Maybe at Toowoomba Cup or the Ipswich Cup, but I might look at going back to Sydney to get some black type.”

A fourth placing at Randwick was the best result of Prioritise’s winter trip to Sydney and since then the gelding has won five races, including the Aquis Farm H. at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

He set the pace under apprentice Michael Murphy and kicked away in the straight for the 10th victory of his 28-start career.

Prioritise is out of Kimash (Jeune {GB}), who is a half-sister to the influential sire Canny Lad and the dam of the current stallion star Not A Single Doubt.

She also hails from the family of the G1 Sir Rupert Clarke S. winner Rewaaya (Singspiel {IRE}) and the G1 Doomben Cup winner Sense Of Occasion (Street Sense {USA}).

Track walker appointed

Racing Queensland has taken a major step toward providing more accurate track ratings.

Former chief steward Allan Reardon is confident his new role as a track walker can help the industry overcome a controversial problem.

Trainers and jockeys have been complaining for some time about what they say are inaccurate track ratings at some TAB meetings.

In response, Racing Queensland has appointed Reardon to assess the tracks before race meetings.

Reardon retired in June after more than 40 years as a stipendiary steward in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Reardon, who began work last week, emphasised the track ratings would still be the responsibility of the various racecourse managers.

“My job is to help them in assessing the rating,” he said. “So far I have had no problems but it has been nothing but fine weather and it is keeping me fit."