Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Graff impresses Pike

Western Australia's premier jockey William Pike has made a flying visit to Melbourne to partner Newmarket Handicap contender Graff (Star Witness) in a jump-out over the Flemington straight course.

Pike will ride the Kris Lees-trained 3-year-old in Saturday week's G1 Newmarket H. and was impressed with the colt's work on Friday morning.

Graff finished about three lengths behind star filly Sunlight (Zoustar), who was given a good hit-out by her Newmarket rider Barend Vorster in the four-horse heat.

"I thought he went very well and felt very good," Pike said. "He was nice and fresh. He's quite a strong horse and he gave me a good feel.

"It felt like we were moving along out there and I had a good hold of him."

Pike said it was a good opportunity to come across to ride Graff, believing he has a great chance in the Newmarket with 51kg and can turn the tables on Sunlight when they get to the race.

William Pike aboard Galaxy Star

Sydney off the table

Godolphin's Ispolini (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) won’t be coming to Sydney for The Championships after racing his way into the Dubai Gold Cup with a Group 3 victory at Meydan.

The Charlie Appleby-trained stayer is among entries for the G1 Sydney Cup, but will instead run in the Gold Cup over the same distance on World Cup night, March 30.

Ridden by Mickael Barzalona in the Nad Al Sheba Trophy, Ispolini came from behind with a stunning finish to win by nearly 11 lengths.

"We had planned for him to go to Australia as well, but he will stay here now for the Dubai Gold Cup.," Appleby said.

"We knew that stepping up in trip was going to open up doors for him and we felt he was going the right way based on his first couple of runs out here."

Vale Frank Conlan

Victorian trainer Frank Conlan has died after falling from a horse on a road in country Victoria.

The circumstances of Conlan's death on Thursday are the subject of a WorkSafe investigation with Victoria Police preparing a report for the coroner.

Conlan had a small team of horses on his farm at Woodend, near Kyneton, and was riding a horse alongside Cobb and Co Road, Carsruhe, when the accident happened.

The elder brother of Group 1 winning trainer Jim Conlan, he had held a trainers' licence since 2002 while his son Tom is a Racing Victoria barrier attendant.

Frank Conlan was a valued member of the Victorian racing industry

RV chief executive Giles Thompson said Conlan was a valued member of the Victorian racing industry.

"On behalf of the Victorian racing industry, I would like to extend our prayers and heartfelt condolences to Frank's family and friends following the terrible news of his passing," Thompson said in a statement.

Conlan is survived by his wife Louise, son Tom and daughters Sophie, Genevieve and Monique.

Weight no issue

Trainer Richie Stephenson is confident pocket dynamo Emphasis (Domesday) can successfully carry 59kg in the Listed Tattersall's Members Cup at Doomben.

Stephenson said while Emphasis was a small horse he had shown he could carry weight.

"You find that sometimes the smaller horses can hump weight while the bigger ones can't," he said.

Top jockey Jeff Lloyd has stuck with Emphasis on Saturday after riding him to two wins and a third at his past three starts.

"We are getting up in the weights and it's a non-claiming race, but I wouldn't have claimed even if I could," Stephenson said.

"Jeff has won four races on Emphasis and knows him very well."

Derby then Winx for Rogie's wonder

First the G1 New Zealand Derby then a clash with superstar Winx (Street Cry {Ire}), that's the plan from co-trainer Graeme Rogerson for his promising 3-year-old More Wonder (NZ) (Mossman).

Rogerson, who trains with wife Debbie and granddaughter Bailey Rogerson, has high hopes for the gelding, who is coming off a last-start fourth in the Haunui Farm WFA Group One Classic against the older horses.

"We think More Wonder is a really good horse. We're thinking about taking on Winx with him but we'll just play that by ear," he said.

More Wonder

Rogerson said More Wonder had been without luck in recent runs and up in distance against his own age, was ready to shine.

"He's shown he's up to running against the very best horses. A few things have gone wrong, otherwise he should probably have been a Group One winner already," Rogerson said.

"I know it's a Derby but he's a really good horse. Horses don't work like he's been working at home. He's just got to put it all together. He struck a wet track last week and he'd done a few things wrong in the run beforehand but with the right run this weekend, he's in this Derby up to his eyeballs."

"He's working like a Derby winner and he'll be very competitive if he does everything right. He doesn't pull or anything at home but he's such a strong horse. I think that much of him I paid $280,000 for his half brother at Karaka."

Flemington soaked ahead of scorcher

Victoria Racing Club track manager Liam O'Keeffe has applied an unprecedented level of water to the Flemington track ahead of G1 Australian Guineas day as Melbourne suffers through a late summer heatwave.

O'Keeffe has applied 45mm of irrigation already and will add another 12mm on Friday night with temperatures expected to reach 36 degrees on Saturday,

"There will certainly be plenty of moisture in the track and we'll need it with a strong northerly wind in the morning and a top of 36-37 degrees," O'Keeffe told Racing.com.

"I'm expecting the track to play well, we've put on plenty of water this week with the warm forecast."

"We should start off on a Soft 5 at the 6am inspection and improve up to a Good 3 during race time, so it presents well and I expect it to play very fair."

"The two-metre rail move covers most of the wear and it enables us to put some good irrigation on without the fence giving out so presents well for tomorrow."

The VRC moved the meeting forward in the day in anticipation of the heat, with the first event to start at 10:50am and the final race at 3:20pm.