Daily News Wrap

8 min read

Powerful Godolphin representation

Godolphin will play a strong hand at the Gold Coast on Saturday with three last-start winners in action.

Exhilarates (Snitzel) contests the $2 million The Star Magic Millions 2YO Classic, Tally (Street Cry {IRE}) runs in the $970,000 Sky Racing Magic Millions Trophy and Manicure (Exceed And Excel) takes aim at the Mote & Chandon Magic Millions for fillies and mares.

Tally and Manicure won their way into their races with wild card wins at Doomben last Saturday week.

Exhilarates nailed down her place in the Classic with victory at the Gold Coast last Saturday.

“On the strength of her last two runs I think we can rely on her to run well again,” Godolphin head trainer James Cummings said.

“Even if she'd won at Wyong she would have run again. She needed it not only for the benefit of her fitness, but she got the added advantage of having a look at the track.

“She's really flying along and wanting to get to the line. She's one of the big improvers. Her work has been very good and she's ready to go.”

Exhilarates had a visit to the beach this week and is enjoying life on the Gold Coast.

Cummings said Goldolphin was looking to reap the benefits of the hard work put into finding the right yearlings outside the group's breeding operation.

“Buying a yearling and having it turn out as she has is not easy to do, particularly when you appreciate that 3000 yearlings were sold at Magic Millions sales last year.

“We're setting out to broaden our horizons and diversify our bloodstock and we've been able to secure a filly like her and to consolidate her value.”

Victorian hope sore

An injury cloud is hanging over the $2 million The Star Magic Millions 2YO Classic contender Yes Yes Yes (Rubick).

The Victorian colt will need to pass a veterinary test if he is to take his place in Saturday’s feature at the Gold Coast.

Stewards and vets conducted inspections on Thursday of all runners and emergencies in the event.

The Darren Weir-trained Yes Yes Yes was originally to be flown to Brisbane, but when no flight was available he was sent by float.

A Queensland Racing Integrity Commission spokeswoman said the youngster was found to be displaying soreness over the rump and a degree of lameness in the near hind leg on arrival on Thursday morning.

“A further examination will be carried out on Friday morning,” she said.

Yes Yes Yes has won his last two starts in Melbourne and was favourite for the Classic until Tuesday when he drew barrier 21.

Shinn rides trackwork

Top jockey Blake Shinn has returned to trackwork for the first time in nearly five months.

He has been side-lined following a barrier trial fall and has since been recovering from neck fractures.

Shinn received the go-ahead earlier this week to get back to business and rode five horses at Randwick on Thursday.

“This morning was a great feeling, to drive into Randwick in the early hours about 4 o'clock,” Shinn told RSN927.

“It was nice to be able to do that with my riding gear and get back doing the job that I love, riding racehorses.

“I was a little bit anxious. I was anxious to see how I would actually feel. To see whether I would have the same feeling ... but in terms of getting back on, I wasn't nervous or anything like that.

“Once I got on the first horse and was trotting around there I had a little quiet moment to myself and I'm like this feels good, feels no different.

“I've really made sure in the past few months that I was ready to come back.

“I feel my body and mind needed to be as strong as before because you never know what can happen.

“I was ready to go and I'm just looking forward to the upcoming weeks and building up to getting into a race.”

Shinn will ride in trials at Randwick on Friday and Rosehill next Tuesday before making a call when he returns to the races.

Manolo market leader

After two encouraging runs this summer, talented gelding Manolo Blahniq (NZ) (Jimmy Choux {NZ}) is the early favourite for the Listed Chester Manifold Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

The Tony Noonan-trained 5-year-old finished well for third in a 1000 metre benchmark event at Pakenham last month before running second in the Listed Christmas S. at Caulfield.

Dwayne Dunn rode Manolo Blahniq in the Christmas Stakes and has been riding him in trackwork ahead of Saturday.

“I rode him in work on Wednesday morning at Mornington and he's going really well,” Dunn said.

“He's drawn a little bit sticky in barrier 12 and he's out of the handicap a little bit, but he's going along well.

“The 1400 will suit him and his work was really good so he should run well.

“He's probably got a little bit more fitness to come after this race, but he should be nearly ready to peak."

Manolo Blahniq began his racing career in New Zealand and won a Group 3 race at his second start as a juvenile.

“He gives me the feel that he's definitely a Listed class horse,” Dunn said.

“Tony has got him going as good as he can and he should be ready to peak this run or the one after.”

Waiting tactics paying off

Trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood are now beginning to reap the rewards of their patient approach with Saturday’s G1 Fusion Electrical Levin Classic contender Hypnos (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}).

“He’s been a horse that we have had to make along the process,” Wellwood said.

“He wasn’t a ready-made racehorse, but he is certainly going the right way and we have been very happy with his form of late.”

That includes a placing in the G3 Bonecrusher S. at Ellerslie last month before returning to the track on Boxing Day to take out the Listed Uncle Remus.

“I thought his run in the Uncle Remus was super,” Wellwood said. “He’s a horse that has been known to over-race a little bit, but he relaxed reasonably nicely.

“He was probably one of the fitter in-form horses and it was a wet track, so it was certainly his day.

“He’s been great since Boxing Day, he has actually been handling his preparation well. He eats well and is a real professional athlete and we’re really happy with the way he has progressed on from there.

“It’s only a small field, so we have just got to hope that he has a bit of luck and gets a bit of an economical run. I am sure he will be there or thereabouts.”

“Depending on how he comes through Wellington, he may look to head to the Karaka Million 3YO Classic,” Wellwood said.

Waddell gets plum ride

Cambridge jockeys Jason Waddell has picked up the coveted ride on Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) in Saturday week’s G1 JR & N Berkett Telegraph at Trentham.

He has got the nod for the mount on the Jamie Richards-trained mare, who is raced by syndication company Fortuna, after original rider Opie Bosson was ruled out when he copped a five-day suspension for careless riding at Matamata on Wednesday.

“Jamie Richards and I had a good look at the riding options, Jason is riding in great form and he was available,” Fortuna’s John Galvin said.

A three-time Group 1 winner, Melody Belle was a fast-finishing last-start third in the G1 Railway S. and a performance that has her a less than even money favourite for the Telegraph.

Ownership partnership

A ground-breaking partnership between Racing Queensland and miRunners is set to revolutionise racehorse ownership for Queenslanders by offering premium and affordable ownership with some of the state’s top trainers.

miRunners, one of the country’s most innovative ownership platforms, offers fans the chance to own their own share in affordable thoroughbreds with a view to competing in some of Australia’s richest races.

Racing Queensland CEO Brendan Parnell said miRunners would this week be purchasing high-quality yearlings from the 2019 Magic Millions Yearling Sale and also at the QTIS March Yearling Sale.

“This innovative partnership aims to introduce a new generation to the excitement of horse ownership that is both highly rewarding and affordable.”

The first yearling will be trained by leading Queensland horseman Rob Heathcote with training fees starting at just $15 per month with 1000 ownership units in each horse.

“Queenslanders are looking for both affordable and premium thoroughbred ownership and, in the past, haven’t been afraid to look interstate to achieve this,” miRunners co-founder Steve Brown said.

“This trade marketing partnership will ensure Queenslanders are able to experience the thrill of owning a regally bred colt or filly in their home state, with a leading local trainer.”