Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Melham's got Hustle

Leading G1 Blue Diamond S. chance Brooklyn Hustle (Starspangledbanner) will be ridden by Ben Melham in the 2-year-old feature.

Melham has replaced Beau Mertens on the filly, who jumped out at Mornington for Jason Warren on Thursday.

Brooklyn Hustle

"Ben (Melham) was really pleased with her, it was his first feel of the filly in competition and he was very pleased with her action and felt that she'll come on again from today," Warren told Racing.com.

"The Prelude will have her cherry ripe for the main race. Ben is going to ride her in both races, the Prelude and the Blue Diamond."

Melham will retain the ride on I Am Immortal (I Am Invincible) for the colts and geldings preview on February 9, but will stick with the filly for her autumn target.

Godolphin fillies flying

James Cummings expects to see considerable improvement from his fillies Avon River (Fastnet Rock) and Amercement (Lonhro) in Saturday's G3 Widden S at Rosehill.

Avon River had been beaten into second at both of her starts by promising horses and Cummings feels she is ready to break through at start number three with a change of gear.

“Avon River brings very solid 2-year-old handicap form back to fillies’ company in the Widden,” Cummings said.

“She appears to have sharpened up with blinkers on and provided she relaxes well, she can run a strong race in what is an important race for her.

“We hope to see her improve strongly.”

Amercement returns to the track having run fourth in the G3 Gimcrack S. back in September.

“She looks ready to run another good race here,” Cummings said.

“She’s had a good grounding for this and has the scope to improve as she stretches out in distance.”

Marsh working on barrier plan

Stephen Marsh is hatching a plan to overcome the awkward barrier draws for his two hopes in the G3 Woburn Farm Classic at New Plymouth.

Chiaretta (NZ) (Makfi {GB}) came up with barrier 10 in the 11-horse field while Scotch (I Am Invincible) will jump from barrier 8,

"The draws are horrible. I couldn't believe they both drew wide," Marsh said.

"Chiaretta will go back from out there and hopefully she can be hitting the line strongly but Scotch has more tactical speed and can take up a handy position, but the draw won't make that easy."

Scotch was a winner at the same track five weeks ago, while Chiaretta was only beaten less than a length on debut on Boxing Day.


"They are both very well," Marsh said. "They both trialled brilliantly at Matamata. Scotch won nicely at New Plymouth and his trial was super. He's come ahead in leaps and bounds. He was still green in that first race and didn't know what it was all about but he'll be better for that experience."

"We like Chiaretta too. She was second to Appellant at Ellerslie on debut and that horse was unlucky not to have finished closer in the Karaka Million, so that form looks good too."

Schabau's slight setback

Highly-rated import Schabau (Ger) (Pastorious {Ger}) has suffered a slight setback which forced him out of a return to racing at Caulfield on Saturday.

An impressive winner at his Australian debut at Flemington on New Year's Day for trainer Robert Hickmott, the 4-year-old has not raced since and will now be set for a race at Flemington on February 16.

Schabau winning at Flemington

"It is nothing too serious, it is very minor but I don't want to go to the races at 95 per cent with a horse of his quality," Hickmott told racing.com.

"You want to make sure everything is spot-on so we will wait two weeks and head to Flemington."

"There is a 2000-metre rating 84 race that looks ideal for him."

Oaks credentials on show at New Plymouth

Janelle Millar feels her filly Jakkalbomb (NZ) (Jakkalberry {Ire}) is ready to show her G1 New Zealand Oaks credentials when she steps out at New Plymouth on Saturday.

The last start runner-up in the G3 Desert Gold Stakes (1600m) at Trentham contests the Listed Fasttrack Insurance Oaks Prelude on Saturday and her trainer feels she has improved greatly since her last start.

“She is just one of those horses that every time I throw something at her she takes it in and she improves on it,” Millar said.


“She has progressed really well, the trip didn’t bother her,” she said. “Being that young and her first trip away, she did really well. "

“She has come home and she has done even better, so I can’t really complain about anything really, her work has been great. She probably looks better than what she did going into that race."

Jakkalbomb must overcome barrier 16, but Millar sees it as all part of the learning experience for the filly.

“I am really disappointed about the draw, but in saying that our aim is getting her to the Oaks, so more experience being out will help her chances.”

“She has got an amazing turn of foot. Once she puts it all together, which will hopefully be sooner rather than later, she will be one of the best fillies I think."

“She always finishes really strongly to the line. We don’t know if she is going to stay the 2400m, but how many three-year-old fillies do?

“But you can put her to sleep, put her anywhere in the race and she has got an amazing turn of foot. It is in her blood, so she should stay.”

Kendrick plots Passage to winter

Stuart Kendrick will use Saturday's QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap at Eagle Farm to assess whether Winter Passage (I Am Invincible) is worth a shot at stakes company next campaign.

Kendrick has a high opinion of the filly and believes she can turn the tables on Magic Fox (Foxwedge) from their last meeting at the same track two weeks ago.

Winter Passage as a yearling

“She’s very promising but lacked maturity until this campaign," Kendrick told Racing Queensland.

“She’s got a cracking pedigree being by I Am Invincible and there’s Black-Type right through her pedigree.”

The 1200m of Saturday's race will be a crucial test for Kendrick to see if Winter Passage can step up to black-type in the Brisbane winter.

“I think she can get 1200 metres and possibly 1400,” Kendrick said. “I liked the way she was very strong to the line against Magic Fox last start."

“If she goes to the winter she’ll be aimed for fillies and mares black-type races."

“It would be great for her when she eventually goes to stud if she has black type next to her name.”