Daily News Wrap

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Highway Session given Scone bonus

Inglis has opened up the $100,000 Inglis Challenge 2YO race at Scone to horses purchased at the upcoming inaugural Highway Session of Classic Sale.

The Scone race, held during the Scone Cup carnival in May, has usually been confined to horses who were bought through the Scone Yearling Sale, but from 2020, those bought as part of Book 2 of the Classic Sale - known as the Highway Session - are also eligible.

The Inglis Challenge has been held since 2000, with the subsequent Group 1 winner Voodoo Lad (I Am Invincible) among those on the honour roll having won the race in 2014.

Inglis has also introduced a $50,000 Inglis Highway Bonus this year.

On Wednesday February 13, Warwick Farm will host two Highway Handicaps – one for Country-trained horses and one for Provincial-trained horses.

Should the winner of either race be an eligible Inglis graduate and be paid up for the current or a former Inglis Race Series, the winning trainer will receive a $50,000 credit voucher to spend at the Highway Session.

The Highway Session features 205 catalogued horses and will be hosted at Riverside Stables on Thursday February 14.

“There’s been a huge volume of interest from country and provincial trainers especially regarding the Highway Session, many of whom have asked if graduates from the session will be or could be made eligible for the Inglis Challenge," NSW Bloodstock Manager Chris Russell said.

“In consideration of this, we have decided to act on that client demand and open up our Scone 2YO race to Highway Session graduates as well."

“Highway Session graduates will also still be eligible for the lucrative $8m Inglis Race Series, making it a must-attend session of the Classic Sale."

Alizee ready for Expressway

Alizee (Sepoy) is ready to back-up her strong first-up performance in Saturday's G2 Expressway S. at Rosehill according to her trainer James Cummings.

Alizee resumed off a bleeding ban with an impressive win in the Listed Christmas Classic and has had five weeks between runs, but that doesn’t concern Cummings.

“She did that quite effortlessly and technically gave Fell Swoop two kilos,” he told RacingNSW.com.au.

“She’s done brilliantly between runs. She looked wonderful in her action in a trial since her last win."

“This is a competitive race but the small field will help her on her way before she steps up in distance."

“This is second up after a long time off, therefore the pressure is on her to reproduce the form.”

Cummings also saddles up the veteran Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) for his first-up run over an unfamiliar short distance of 1200m.

“He resumes at an unlikely distance for him, but he’s going like a horse who can run a cheeky race,” said James Cummings.

“I was delighted with his barrier trial last week, he looks to have returned well and he gets into what looks like a barrier trial in a Group Two weight-for-age race. Look for him to be running on very strongly at the finish."

Bint Marscay remembered

1993 G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Bint Marscay (Marscay) has been euthanised after a long battle with chronic arthritis.

The champion 2-year-old, who was a dominant winner of Australia's 2-year-old race, had been residing at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred Retirement Farm in Georgetown, Kentucky.

"We are sorry to report that yesterday we said goodbye to our beautiful mare, Bint Marscay. It was our great privilege to care for this Australian champion since 2013. Godspeed, Binty. You will be deeply missed," Old Friends said on its Facebook page.

Trained by Lee Freedman, she won four of her 10 starts and over $1.5 million in prizemoney.

As a broodmare, Bint Marscay foaled three stakes winners, including Group 1 winner Bollinger (Dehere {USA}) as well as Group 3 winner Mannington (Danehill {USA}), who produced Group 1 Victoria Derby winner Benecio (More Than Ready {USA}).

Richard Freedman, who helped oversee Bint Marscay with his brother in the early 1990s, was among those to express his sadness.

“She was one of the greatest 2-year-olds to race in Australia, and she remains a yardstick by which Australian 2-year-olds are still measured today. She gave me, my family, and her racing connections so much joy," he said.

“I thank Old Friends for taking such loving care of her in her retirement, she deserved no less,” Freedman added. “Her final years were happy, and her passing was peaceful. RIP old girl, you will be remembered.”

Vale Peter Overell

Queensland breeder, trainer, owner and racing administrator Peter Overell has died aged 72 after a long battle with cancer.

Overell ran Croxley Stud near Toowoomba with his wife Ann for many years and also served as vice chairman of the Toowoomba Turf Club,

He was also the owner of Special Dane (Danehill {USA}), who won the G1 CF Orr S. at the G2 Sandown Guineas before standing at stud. Earlier, the Overells stood Prince Ruling. (Ruling {USA})

As a trainer, Overell trained 39 winners over the past ten years, the most recent being Cocktailsallround (Sidereus) who won at Goondiwindi in December.

His funeral is at Burstow's Chapel in Toowoomba on Friday at noon.

Wingatui dilemma for Robinson

Lance Robinson is having a hard time separating his two 3-year-olds Air Max (Nadeem) and Khimar War (NZ) (Sweet Orange {USA}) ahead of Saturday's Listed MediaWorks Dunedin Guineas.

Air Max was a last start winner of the Listed Gore Guineas and has taken improvement from that win.

“It was an extremely good run (in the Gore Guineas). He did a couple of things wrong, he’s still a little bit green, but he hit the line well,” Robinson said.

“He has come through his race fine. He had a gallop on Tuesday morning and we are really happy with him."

“He’s a horse that just keeps on improving. I think he has improved off his run again the other day, so I think he will be a good chance again.”

Air Max winning the Gore Guineas

But he sees Khimar War as a legitimate danger, despite being beaten by eight lengths by his stablemate last start.

“Khimar War had no luck the other day,” Robinson said. “It rained on the day with him and he didn’t cop the track. "

“He got a check at the top of the straight. When Air Max came out he half-pie knocked him down a wee bit, so he didn’t have a lot of luck that day."

“He’s really done well too and I think he is a good chance in the race also. There’s nothing between them, but Khimar War will be very hard to beat.”

Miss Labasa remains on Oaks path

Miss Labasa (NZ) (Swiss Ace) remains on track for a shot at the G1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks despite suffering her first defeat in the Karaka Million 3YO Classic.

Trainer John Bary was not disappointed in Miss Labasa's 11th-placed finish in the Ellerslie feature and said that she just needed to learn to relax.

“At that top level everything has to go your way. She was just a bit strong and you can’t do it at both ends, so it’s unfortunate,” he said.

Having progressed through her previous three starts unbeaten, Bary feels that the filly will adapt to races over a longer distance.

“It was only her fourth start and she was racing against probably the best three-year-old field that has gone around this season” Bary said.

“It bodes well, she travelled well. We will just regroup and go to the Lowland and the Oaks and just keep going forward.”