Daily News Wrap

7 min read

Queen of Diamonds assured Oaks favourtism

Queen of Diamonds (Savabeel) proved the superior filly in the G2 Little Avondale Lowland Stakes at Hastings on Wednesday and is now a clear favourite for the G1 New Zealand Oaks.

Matthew Cameron put Queen of Diamonds up on the pace and she proved too strong defeating Shezathink (So You Think {NZ}) by 1.5 lengths with Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax {NZ}) filling third.

Forsman confirmed that the two-time stakes winner would now head to the New Zealand Oaks at Trentham on March 16.

“She’s bred to do anything and I think the penny is just starting to drop. She has had a few runs and she did a few things wrong last start and the start before but she’s up against big girls now and she is stepping up,” he said

“There were a few handy fillies in behind her today, so that gives us a lot of positive thoughts heading forward,” Forsman said.

“I guess the 2400m at Trentham is another kettle of fish altogether but she seems to be going the right way.”

Queen Of Diamonds

Rawiller set for Blamey return

Jockey Brad Rawiller is set to make a remarkable comeback to the saddle in Saturday's G2 Blamey S. at Flemington less than five months after suffering a serious neck injury in a race fall.

Rawiller has been named to ride Best of Days (GB) (Azamour {Ire}) in the Group 2 feature but will require a final clearance from Racing Victoria for his first ride since he fell from Frankly Harvey (O'Lonhro) at Cranbourne on October 21.

"It's massive," Rawiller told Racing.com, "I've done a lot of work with them (Godolphin) over the last three or four weeks, but to be given this opportunity off that is incredible really."

"I've still got to tick the last box as I haven't been cleared by the stewards yet. But it's all on track and it feels great."

Rawiller confirmed he had received the all clear from his doctor Gary Zimmerman to resume riding. He rode Best of Days in a jumpout on Wednesday morning, one of two the G1 Cantala S, winner must have before he is allowed to contest Saturday's race at Flemington after he refused to leave the barriers in the G1 Futurity S.

Brad Rawiller with wife, Caz and Black Heart Bart during his recovery

Pam Hawkes new Living Legends chairman

Black Caviar (Bel Esprit) co-owner Pam Hawkes has taken over as Chairman of thoroughbred retirement farm Living Legends.

Hawkes has assumed the duties from founding Chairman Martin O’Connor, who has played a significant role in the establishment of the home for retired racehorses.

“In retiring as Chairman I am so proud of what we have achieved at Living Legends over the last 14 years," O’Connor said.

"There are so many people to thank including our owners, sponsors, supporters and donors. In particular I’d like to make special mention of Susan Koh, who first identified Woodlands Park as a potential site for Living Legends and worked closely with me to secure the location we still call home today."

“My special thanks also goes to our CEO and Veterinary Director Dr Andrew Clarke, who lives and breathes Living Legends and provides the absolute best of care for each and every horse that enters our gates,” he said.

Hawkes brings with her a strong background in education and teaching, and as part of her new role she’ll be helping Living Legends continue to advance its community education programs.

Meanwhile, Racing NSW has purchased an 80 acre property at Taree for retired racehorses.

Former jockey, tutor of apprentice jockeys and racehorse owner Mal Fitzgerald will oversee the property.

Andrew Clarke, Martin O'Connor and Pam Hawkes with Fields Of Omagh

Double shot at Ascot for Aquis

Aquis Farm is poised to be well represented at Royal Ascot with G1 Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut (Domesday) to join Houtzen (I Am Invincible) in England.

Houtzen, trained by Toby Edmonds, is being set for a shot at the G1 King's Stand S. and fellow Aquis-owned galloper Extra Brut is also on a path to the Tuesday at Ascot, with the G1 Queen Anne S. his target.

“He has got a wicked turn of foot and is out of a Redoute’s Choice mare so I’m sure a race like the Queen Anne would realty suit,” Aquis CEO Shane McGrath told Racenet.

“Nick Smith (Royal Ascot scout) had Extra Brut on his watch list for a while and we and the owners certainly have international aspirations with him.”

Extra Brut, now with Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, will contest Saturday's G1 Australian Guineas at Flemington.

Six rivals as Winx chases record

Happy Clapper (Teofilo {Ire}) and six of Winx's (Street Cry {Ire}) stablemates stand between the mare and her shot at a record-breaking 23rd Group 1 race victory in the Chipping Norton S. at Randwick on Saturday.

Happy Clapper has lost all nine battles against Winx, including their most recent clash in the G2 Apollo S. two weeks ago, where he finished second beaten 2.3l.

The other six runners are all stablemates to Winx, including Group 1 winners Patrick Erin (NZ) (Gallant Guru), Egg Tart (Sebring) and Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock).

A victory would see Winx surpass champion Irish hurdler Hurricane Fly (Ire)(Montjeu {Ire}) and set a new mark for wins at the elite level.

Hot weather watch for Flemington

Racing Victoria will continue to monitor weather conditions ahead of Saturday's G1 Australian Guineas meeting at Flemington.

A top temperature of 36 degrees is forecast and RV have progressed with the normal timeslot, but should the forecast be upgraded, it hasn't ruled out starting the meeting earlier.

"Racing Victoria will continue to monitor the forecast over the coming days and may adjust race times at Flemington if the forecast temperature does rise," a statement read.

"RV’s Procedure for Racing in Hot Weather Policy is enacted at all meetings where hot weather conditions are forecast to ensure the health and wellbeing of horses and participants."

"Under the Policy, an additional vet is in attendance to assist in monitoring the condition of horses, large containers of ice water are made available at locations around the racecourse and horses are required in the mounting yard for reduced periods of time."

Swan Hill's race times on Friday have been brought forward by two hours to start at 11am and conclude by 2:45pm.

Cosgrave eyes Nobu G1 feast

G1 Caulfield Cup-winning jockey Pat Cosgrave is looking forward to tackling his first Group 1 in New Zealand in Saturday's New Zealand Derby at Ellerslie.

Cosgrave, who rode Best Solution (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) to victory in the Caulfield Cup, rides the Chris Waller-trained Nobu (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) on Saturday.

“I rode Comin’ Through for Chris Waller in Dubai a couple of times earlier in the year and I know his Racing Manager Charlie Duckworth well, so the ride has come through that,” Cosgrave said.

“Chris asked if I would be interested in going down and riding Nobu and I had never been there (New Zealand) before. Chris is a world-class trainer, so I have taken the opportunity to go down and see how it goes."

“If Chris is sending it there he must think it has a live chance in the big race.”

Nobu was last seen when fourth in a Rating 65 race at Ellerslie over 2100m, closing late from the back in the field.

Pat Cosgrave aboard Best Solution after winning the G1 Caulfield Cup

Freedman duo on Newmarket path

Anthony Freedman could have a double hand in the G1 Newmarket Hcp after both Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}) and Shoals (Fastnet Rock) performed well at a jumpout at Balnarring on Wednesday.

Shoals, who was scratched from last Saturday's G1 Oakleigh Plate, won the jumpout with Santa Ana Lane working home well for second.

"We wanted to give him a pretty solid hit-out and we were very pleased with his effort" Sam Freedman told Racing.com about Santa Ana Lane.

Santa Ana Lane during his jumpout at Balnarring

"The Newmarket looks a nice option for him first-up."

"We wouldn't be going there expecting him to win but he can definitely run well and what we've seen previously with him is that he improves into his campaign."

Shoals will potentially head to the Newmarket as well, if not the G1 Canterbury Stakes in Sydney.