The Daily Wrap

7 min read

No rush to commit to Slipper

A decision whether the G1 Blue Diamond S. winner Lyre (Lonhro) will run in the G1 Golden Slipper S. is at least a week away.

She is owned by Godolphin and trained by Anthony Freedman, who on Monday said it was still too soon to commit the filly to the Slipper.

Lyre after her win in the G1 Blue Diamond S.

"It's probably too early to say just yet," Freedman told RSN.

"We'll bring her back down to Pinecliff from Flemington in the next day or so and she'll have a good week or 10 days here and we'll evaluate her probably this time next week, see how she is.

"The obvious race for her would be the Slipper. It's still a month away so we've got plenty of time to make a call on that.

"I would imagine if she didn't go to the Slipper she'll go to the paddock. I'm always conscious of horses not being over-raced too early in their careers, to get some longevity out of them.

No Mile for mare

Connections of Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) have confirmed that the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington next month doesn’t figure in their plans.

“I fielded a call from Greg Carpenter, Chief Handicapper for Racing Victoria, who advised that Melody Belle was in contention for a wildcard entry and what were our intentions,” Fortuna Syndicate Manager John Galvin said.

Melody Belle

“Trainer Jamie Richards and I had previously discussed our position and we had decided that the All-Star Mile, attractive as it was, was not the right race for our mare at this time.

“To travel to Australia to take on their best milers in this event, when already deep into a campaign that commenced last August, was not in the best interests of Melody Belle.

“However, the opportunity was much appreciated and I advised Mr Carpenter that our early planning for the 2019-20 racing season did factor in our mare contesting the 2020 All-Star Mile, subject to being selected of course.”

Exhilarates stretches legs

The G1 Golden Slipper S. second favourite Exhilarates (Snitzel) was among the high profile 2-year-olds to trial at Canterbury on Monday morning.

A last-start Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner, the Godolphin filly finished runner-up in her heat under jockey Kerrin McEvoy in 54.57 seconds.

The 893 metre trial was won by the unraced Let It Pour (Redoute's Choice) filly from the stable of Bjorn Baker.

Exhilarates is expected to resume in the G2 Reisling S. on Saturday week at Randwick here she will be out to confirm her position in early Golden Slipper markets.

Monday’s session also featured Dubious (Not A Single Doubt), runner-up behind Exhilarates in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic, and the former Darren Weir-trained -trained Yes Yes Yes (Rubick).

The pair clashed in the ninth heat and filled the quinella as Dubious staved off Yes Yes Yes by three-quarters of a length. The time of 53.72 seconds was comfortably the quickest of 16 heats.

Casserta on betting charges

Apprentice jockey Chris Caserta has been charged by Racing Victoria stewards for placing bets on thoroughbred races in 2018.

Just last month, Caserta wasted to ride 2-year-old Jedastar (I Am Invincible) at a featherweight 44 kilograms in the G1 Lightning S. at Flemington after a spate of winners for his master Tony McEvoy at his new base in Adelaide.

Chris Caserta

It is the second scandal to involve Caserta over the past 12 months as last year he served a four-month suspension for providing a positive drug sample.

Racing Victoria stewards allege that between March 11, 2018 and December 9, 2018, Caserta placed or facilitated or had an interest in six bets on thoroughbred racing, utilising his TAB account.

Stewards confirmed that none of the bets placed were on races that Caserta rode in.

Coongy golden ticket

The Melbourne Racing Club has rolled back the years by handing the winner of the G3 Coongy Cup a free pass into the G1 Caulfield Cup.

The Coongy will return to the Wednesday before the Caulfield Cup, now Blue Sapphire Stakes day, where it had been a key last-chance race up until 1996.

The MRC has not only added a local entry point to the Cup, but has halved the number of international free-ticket races from 18 to nine.

MRC official Jake Norton said a review of last year’s Caulfield Cup prompted the club to recognise a few changes needed to be made.

“We dumped a lot of the Group 1 races that were kind of irrelevant because the winners of those races would automatically get in the Cup anyway with their profile,” he said.

Australian Caulfield Cup ballot-exempt races: Mornington Cup, Makybe Diva S., Dato Tan Chin Nam S., Foundation Cup, Underwood S., Turnbull S., Caulfield S., Herbert Power S., Coongy Cup.

Overseas Caulfield Cup ballot-exempt races: Nikkei Shin Hun Hai (Jpn), Kyoto Kinen (Jpn), Meguro Kinen (Japan), Sheema Classic (UAE), Jockey Club S. (GB), Hardwicke S. (GB), Princess of Wales’s S. (GB), Champions and Chater Cup (HK), Grand Prix de Chantilly (Fr).

Change of environment

A stable change looms for Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal {USA}), with the horse’s owner Kerm Din set to transfer the dual Group 1 winner from Tony Cruz to Paul O’Sullivan this week.

Pakistan Star

In April last year, the 6-year-old put it all together and won the G1 QEII Cup and a month later took out the G1 Standard Chartered Champions and Chater Cup.

However, Pakistan Star has since failed to recapture that form, prompting Din on a stable change.

Bob soaks up Ellerslie

Matamata trainer Graham Richardson is pleased with his G2 Waikato Guineas winner Sponge Bob (NZ) (Keeper) heading into Saturday’s G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby, with the lightly-tried 3-year-old having his first look at Ellerslie on Monday morning.

“Sponge Bob galloped on the course proper at Ellerslie. He went up and followed a couple around, but he worked by himself,” Richardson, who operates in partnership with Gavin Parker, said.

Graham Richardson

“It was his first time there and he never flinched, he didn’t shy or gawk and there are a lot of things to take-in at Ellerslie.

“Especially for first timers, you can get them beat if they don’t know what they’re doing up there.

“I was more than happy with the way he worked. I left the blinkers off so that he could have a decent look at everything.

“Troy Harris came up and rode him and is very happy with him. The track was a slow7 in Troy’s opinion and that is just perfect. I can’t wait to see how he goes on Saturday in the Derby.”

Apprentice side-lined

Apprentice Chelsea Hall has suffered fractured ribs in a fall in a jump-out.

Hall was taken to the Alfred Hospital after the fall at Cranbourne on Monday morning.

The Victorian Jockeys’ Association said scans revealed Hall sustained three fractured ribs in the incident.

On Sunday, fellow Victorian rider Dylan Dunn was involved in a race-fall at Sale. Scans on his ankle cleared him of fractures, but he has had surgery to stitch up a leg wound.

Black type challenges beckon

Victory in the Wairoa Cup on Sunday has put Awapuni mare Jessiegee (NZ) (Alamosa {NZ}) on the path to black type company.

The five-year-old mare’s effort has convinced her Awapuni trainer Mike Breslin she is ready to step out in the G3 Cuddle S. on March 16. If she shapes up in the Trentham event, she will start on her home course in the G2 LJ Hooker Manawatu Breeders’ S. on April 5.

‘’She did the job well and now I’ll freshen her up and have a go at the Cuddle Stakes, then she can go back up over ground in the Manawatu Breeders’.

‘’She’s got a good record at Trentham and could be a chance in the Cuddle, but the Manawatu Breeders will suit her even better.”