Daily News Wrap

7 min read

Guineas meeting ahead of time

The Australian Guineas meeting at Flemington has been brought forward to begin in the morning because of a forecast temperature of 36 degrees.

Saturday's nine-race program will begin at 10.55am (AEDT), one and a-half hours earlier than originally scheduled, with the final race to jump at 3.20pm in a bid to avoid the hottest part of the day.

Gaps between the races have also been reduced from 35 and 40 minutes to 30 and 35 minutes and horses will only be required on course two hours before their races instead of the usual three.

Racing Victoria will invoke its Procedure for Racing in Hot Weather Policy 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," RV said.

"The Victoria Racing Club will also implement additional measures including misting fans in horse areas, rostering a dedicated staff member to assist in equine welfare measures in the horse stalls, and bottled water and icy-poles being readily available for all racing participants."

Change pleases trainer

One trainer happy with the early start time at Flemington is John Sadler who will run Sircconi (Nicconi) in Saturday's G3 Shaftesbury Avenue H.

The 4-year-old will be having his first run since finishing last in the G1 Cantala S. at Flemington last November.

Sadler said while he was pleased with how Sircconi was progressing, he would also benefit from the outing.

"He did a little too well in the paddock and he's done pretty well since he's been back in," Sadler said. "I'm very pleased with the horse, but I think he might need the run.

"The thing that worries me more than that, because the run will bring him on, is if the track was too firm. Bringing it forward is super and the track might not be too firm."


History beckons mare

Dixie Blossoms (Street Sense {USA}) will become first mare to win the G3 Guy Walter S. three times if successful at Randwick.

"The thing you've got to think about a little bit is they're probably not going to get much better at this age and you've got to be a little bit fearful of the younger mares coming up," trainer Ron Quinton said.

"But there's been no indication in the stable that she's not at her top so we've just got to wait and see with bated breath on Saturday."

The Guy Walter Proven Thoroughbred Stakes (1400m) is named in honour of the late trainer who died suddenly five years ago after suffering a heart attack.

Quinton remembers Walter fondly and said it would be special to again win the race named in the late trainer's honour.

"I had great respect for Guy and his talent with horses. He was a really good fellow," Quinton said.

Trainer’s death confirmed

Racing Victoria has confirmed the death of a licensed trainer on Thursday morning.

"We are aware of the tragic passing of a licensed trainer who is reported to have fallen from a horse in country Victoria," RV said in a statement.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their family and friends, some of whom have yet to be notified so we are unable to identify the person in question at this time."

Aristia back in business

Fresh from Booker's (Written Tycoon) G1 Oakleigh Plate triumph, co-trainers Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra are set to unleash the stable's other Group 1 winner Aristia (Lonhro), who resumes in the G3 Furphy S. at Flemington.

Aristia was to the fore in the spring with wins in the Group 2 Wakeful S. and in the Group 1 VRC Oaks.

"She looks great," Zahra said. "Her work has been good and her jump-outs have been good. Up to date we can't really fault her.

"You are always nervous when you've got a horse who has had a tough spring coming back again, but to us she is showing us no signs of that."

The G1 Vinery Stud S. and the G1 Australian Oaks in Sydney are among Aristia's options this autumn.

Not the best of days

Godolphin’s Best Of Days (GB) (Azamour {Ire}) has suffered a bleeding attack.

He went to Sandown on Thursday for the second of two enforced jump-outs after he refused to jump out of the barrier in the G1 Futurity S. at Caulfield last Saturday.

Best Of Days had passed the first test on Wednesday and successfully completed the second before the bleed was discovered.

Trainer James Cummings reported the incident to stewards and the G1 Canatala S. winner will now serve a mandatory three-month ban.

Best Of Days

Trans-Tasman focus for Pike

While Cambridge trainer Tony Pike has plenty to focus on in his homeland, with Surely Sacred (NZ) (Rock ‘n’ Pop) in the G1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby, he will also have an eye across the Tasman.

Progressive galloper Ever Loyal (Sebring) will run in the Gr.3 Liverpool City Cup at Randwick just ten minutes after the Derby and Pike believes he is a good chance of snaring the thick end of the prize in both races.

“His racing manners last season weren’t quite there,” he said. “He was a little bit aggressive and just did a few things wrong and he probably struggled to get 1600 metres.

“He had an injury enforced lay-off and he has probably come back better than ever.

“His two runs resuming off a 12-month break have been exceptional. His sectionals have been very good, so I think it is time to step up in class and have a crack in Sydney on Saturday.”

Ever Loyal

James elated with filly

Cambridge horseman Roger James believes Elate (NZ) (Savabeel) is shaping up as well as any horse he has prepared for the G1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.

James and co-trainer Robert Wellwood will produce the filly in Saturday's G3 McKee Family Sunline Vase at Ellerslie, her final leadup for the Oaks at Trentham on March 16.

"She's as good a chance as I've had for a New Zealand Oaks," James said.

Elate stamped her New Zealand Oaks credentials with a tough win in the Listed Oaks Prelude at New Plymouth at her last start, having earlier finished second to Wednesday's G2 Lowland S. winner Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) in December's G3 Eulogy S.

"I was pretty happy with her win the other day,” James said. “She's lacked a bit of luck a couple of times. We took bad luck out of play last time and she was strong to the line.”

Entries still open

Entries remain open for Inglis’ 2019 Chairman’s Sale and the Australian Broodmare & Weanling Sale.

The Select Catalogue for the Chairman’s Sale for 2019 will include top class fillies and mares including the likes of Now Now (Danehill Dancer {Ire}), the dam of Fiesta (I Am Invincible), champion 3-year-old filly Norzita (NZ) (Thorn Park) and Group 2 winner Snitty Kitty (Snitzel).

It will also include mares in foal to leading stallion including Snitzel, I Am Invincible and Zoustar.

Entries into the race fillies and broodmare sections of The Chairman’s Sale will be sold with zero sales commission.

Select racing prospects, stallion shares and breeding rights will also be facilitated as part of the sale, subject to conditions.