The Daily Wrap

7 min read

Currie stood down

Queensland trainer Ben Currie has been stood down from training after he failed to satisfy Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) Stewards that he be allowed to keep his license at a show cause hearing on Monday.

Currie, based at Toowoomba, is suspended with immediately effect and the ban will remain in place until seven charges issued against him are heard.

These include charges relating to the alleged use of "jiggers" on two horses, as well as unauthorised shockwave therapy.

QRIC said the decision was made in the interest of the integrity and reputation of the sport.

Headline Rosehill acts

Glamour colts Tassort (Brazen Beau) and The Autumn Sun (Redoute’s Choice) will be star attractions at Rosehill on Saturday.

The Godolphin-owned Tassort contests the G2 Silver Slipper S. with Chris Waller’s The Autumn Sun to run in the G2 Hobartville S.

The Autumn Sun

Tassort has been the G1 Golden Slipper favourite since his winning debut in November and will be having his second start on Saturday.

The Autumn Sun will be going to the races for the seventh time with a record of five wins, three at Group 1 level.

John Messara has bought into The Autumn Sun who will stand at his Arrowfield Stud, perhaps as soon as the next breeding season.

"I think he has come back well," Waller said. "We don't put our horses under pressure in trials. It is race day that counts."

Maher fancies his chances

Ciaron Maher is bullish about his chances of adding the G1 Blue Diamond S. to his training resume.

Maher boasts a G1 Caulfield Cup and two G1 VRC Oaks among his feature race wins, but he has never had a starter in the 2-year-old feature.

That will change as he has reigning favourite Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) and fellow stakes winning filly Bella Rosa (Snitzel) in Saturday's $1.5 million race at Caulfield.

Loving Gaby

"This is a race I've been hoping to be successful in for a few years now so it's great to have a couple of real contenders," said Maher, who trains with David Eustace.

"I think Loving Gaby has got that X-factor about her," Maher said. "She's got the strength and size and everything else to go with it, so she would be the one I'm most confident with.

"Bella Rosa makes her own luck and carried two kilos more than Loving Gaby last start," Maher said. "She gets a little bit forgotten but she's a pretty impressive horse."

Lees chasing another feature

Kris Less will be chasing another Group 1 prize in Melbourne this Saturday.

Fresh from success with In Her Time (Time Thief) in the Lightning H., he will be represented by Le Romain (Hard Spun {USA}) and Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}) in the Futurity S.

"Le Romain has done really well since his first-up run," Lees said.

Kris Lees

"We considered running in the Apollo on Saturday, but we've been down that path plenty of times, taking Winx on.

"He'll be very competitive on Saturday, and we're hopeful that if he can run top two it might get him into the All-Star Mile."

Brave Smash loomed strongly in the G1 C F Orr S. before finishing a close fourth.

"They said he would probably take one more run and they were just right," Lees said.

"He nearly won. He's going into the race pretty well."

Time called on top sprinter

Triple Group 1 winning sprinter Start Wondering (NZ) (Eighth Wonder {NZ}) has been retired after suffering a minor tendon strain.

Prepared in Wanganui by Evan and JJ Rayner, the 8-year-old won 11 of 29 starts, including back to back editions of the G1 Waikato Sprint and the G1 Railway.

Initially prepared by Paul Belsham, Start Wondering enjoyed a stint across the Tasman with Chris Waller, where he won three races in Sydney before joining the Rayners after a bleed.

Under the Rayners’ guidance, Start Wondering was voted New Zealand’s Champion Sprinter for season 2016-17.

“He’s still at our place, but he is out in the back paddock and we are really trying to find a good home for him,” Evan Rayner said.

Rayner, who has been training since 1969, is also planning to retire with daughter JJ to take sole charge of the stable.

“At the end of March, the end of the financial year, I will hand it over to JJ,” he said. “I will still be around, but I won’t renew my licence.”

Inglis Premier showcased

The one-hour 2019 Inglis Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale Preview will air on Tuesday February 19 at 9pm AEDST on Sky Thoroughbred Central (Foxtel Ch 528) and streamed live on

Caroline Searcy will be joined by Inglis Victorian Bloodstock Manager Simon Vivian to recap recent Premier sales’ graduates and previews of Blue Gum Farm, burgeoning racing and breeding operation Yulong Farm, Mornington Peninsula’s Merrick’s Station and South Australia’s Goldin Farms will be shown.

Sale to HK pending

Top 3-year-old Madison County (NZ) (Pins) has been nominated for an array of Group 1 events in Sydney, but only as precautionary measures.

The sale of the China Horse Club-owned gelding to Hong Kong interests is pending.

Madison County

“The sale wasn’t completed when the nominations closed so we threw them in,” the group’s bloodstock and racing manager Michael Wallace said.

“The deal isn’t done yet, but I would expect it to be finalised in the coming days.”

Smart filly side-lined

Stakes winning filly Miss Federer (Swiss Ace) won’t be seen out again until the spring following surgery.

‘’She was x-rayed and a small bone chip was found in her off-foreleg,” trainer Andrew Carston said. The vets say it’s a minor operation.”

Miss Federer

Miss Federer underwent the operation in Matamata on Monday and will be given plenty of time to recover.

‘’She’ll miss the autumn but should be back for the spring,’’ Carston said.

Miss Federer has won three of her five starts, including the G3 Woburn Fam 2YO Classic at New Plymouth and the Listed Welcome S. on her home course at Riccarton.

Final spots earned

Lucciola Belle (Casino Prince) and Texas Storm (All American) have joined Westlink (Casino Prince) and Sons Of Bourke (Haradasun) as guaranteed starters in the $500,000 Country Championship final at Randwick.

The Wayne Wilkes-trained Lucciola Belle beat Texas Storm in Sunday's Mid North Coast regional heat at Port Macquarie with the first two booking their spots in the final on April 6.

Trainer Wayne Wilkes

"I'm extremely proud of her,'' Wilkes said. Gibbo (Andrew Gibbons) rode her a treat. She got shuffled back early and he just stuck to the fence, prayed for a few gaps and he got them and she finished like a bonny mare.

"She's come back this preparation much bigger and stronger and is on the improve all the time. Now we have to sit down with the owners and work out where we go with her.''

"I think the blinkers sharpened him up and whether we leave them on in a month's time we'll wait and see," said trainer Bob Milligan’s son Glen.

Stablemates on stakes duty

Cambridge trainer Stephen Marsh will have two strong prospects in Saturday’s G2 Swap Contractors Matamata Breeders’ S.

"Appellant should be a top chance on her Karaka Million run and even though Glinda Goodwitch is a maiden, I really like her. She’s a very promising filly,’’ he said.

Appellant (NZ) (Showcasing) was a winner at Ellerslie on Boxing Day and was a last-start placegetter in the Karaka Million.

Glinda Goodwitch (Per Incanto {USA}) was a trials winner before finishing second on debut at Trentham last month.

Stablemate Scotch (I Am Invincible), a debut winner at New Plymouth, will be attempting to bounce back in the G3 Waikato Stud Slipper after disappointing when second-last in the G3 Woburn Farm 2YO Classic at New Plymouth.

“It’s a bit of a head-scratcher why he went that bad at New Plymouth, but I’m happy with him going into Saturday,’’ Marsh said.