Daily News Wrap

6 min read

Microphone headed to Slipper

Godolphin's G1 Golden Slipper S. hand strengthened further with Microphone (Exceed And Excel) proving too strong in the G2 Skyline S. at Randwick.

Having taken his strong form from Melbourne to Sydney, Microphone is up there with the litany of other Slipper chances for Godolphin, according to head trainer James Cummings.

"You'd have to rate him right there at the moment," he said. "This horse came here today up from Melbourne not long ago but we've barely breathed on him since."

"He's going to tighten up as clean-winded as he is. Come Slipper day he'll be like a young man with a new suit. The ability to switch off mid-race the way he did."

"There was good acceleration from the colt. He will take a great deal of improvement for the sake of the experience."

"I've seen a little bit from the ones you have seen win and once was enough for me and we've allowed them to do it on race day and that is the beauty of it. They've been able to improve and get better with racing."

All-Star auditions from winning pair

Violate (Sebring) and Fifty Stars (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) threw their hats into the ring for All-Star Mile wildcard invites with stakes wins at Flemington on Saturday.

Violate overcame a wide run throughout to score an impressive win in the G3 Shaftesbury Avenue, and make a late bid for inclusion in the $5m race.

"I reckon he should get a wildcard into that race The All-Star (Mile) in two weeks," trainer Brent Stanley said. "I've been training him hoping he would get enough votes to get in because he'll be peaking in two weeks."

"He'll just get better off that run. He showed how tough he was. He had the toughest run in the race three-wide, no cover but he was first to put the pedal down and sort them out."

"This is his second prep gelded and you'll see a very consistent race horse now."

Progressive import Fifty Stars put his name in lights with a tough win in the G2 Blamey S. in just his second run for Lindsay Park.

"I think it was a great All-Star run," co-trainer David Hayes said. “He’s hit form at the right time. He beat good horses today and there was a big margin to third."

“He took a little bit of getting to know like all of the horses I’ve got out of that (Weir) stable.”

Cup dreams after Schabau's hat-trick

Impressive import Schabau (Ger) (Pastorius {Ger}) remains on a path towards the G1 Melbourne Cup after winning the Listed Roy Higgins Quality at Flemington on Saturday.

Trainer Robert Hickmott has lofty goals planned for the former German stayer, who has won all three of his Australian starts, the latest by 3.75l.

"It’s not very often you get these horses come out from Europe and win three in a row,” Hickmott said.

“We’ve had a faultless prep with him apart from a muscle strain, which was incidental and resolved very quickly."

“This horse gets his rating up, which will take him into a spring campaign.”

The 4-year-old will be spelled now and head towards The Bart Cummings in October, which is a ballot free qualifier for the G1 Melbourne Cup.

Pins pair pinch stakes races

Co-trainer Ken Kelso was proud as punch of his tough little mare Princess Kereru (NZ) (Pins) after her win in the G3 Waikato Stud Plate (1200m) at Ellerslie.

The 5-year-old, runner-up in the G1 Sistema Railway S. on New Year's Day, got a much-deserved stakes breakthrough when she held off the late-charging Ronchi (NZ) (Stravinsky {USA}) by a nose with Santa Monica (Per Incanto {USA}) a head back in third.

“She’s just a little trooper,” he said. “Her form’s been great all year and she really deserved that as she hasn’t had a lot of luck in the big races."

“It is so important to get that winning black-type to go with that Group One placing."

“She is just the most adorable little horse you’ve ever come across.”

It was a good day for Pins with Pinmedown (NZ) (Pins) claiming the Group 3 Sunline Vase for Mike Moroney and Pam Gerrard.

Gerrard said Pinmedown would now head to the G1 NZ Oaks on March 16.

“She is tough and gives her all, all of the time,” she said. “On her breeding I don’t think that (the 2400m distance) is a problem as that is why Mike and Paul bought her."

“It’s what we have aimed at all along and to get two (stakes wins) along the way is a bonus.”

Stakes breakthrough for Verrazano

One-time Coolmore shuttle stallion Verrazano (USA) claimed his first Australian winner and stakes-winner with 2-year-old Mockery scoring an upset win in the Listed Festival of Racing 1000 S. at Flemington.

The John McArdle trained filly held off Cheer Leader (Snitzel) by a half-head with Yulong Savings (Helmet) a nose back in third, with the second and third placings reversed after a subsequent protest.

McArdle described the filly as a bit of a handful, but undoubtedly tough.

"She does have a bit of streak in her that's about a mile and a half wide and she's not that big," McArdle said. "She is still not doing things right, but she's tough."

"Scott Williamson bred her and put a lot of his mates in and she's a stakes-winner now so he's got himself a broodmare."

"The first time we galloped her we thought she was very quick but I just wondering if she was a greyhound and needed no more than 600 metres but she runs a 1000m at has got the job done now."

Shinn pushes Doncaster dream

Blake Shinn believes Dreamforce (Fastnet Rock) can contend in the G1 Doncaster Mile after his tough all the way win in the G3 Liverpool City Cup on Saturday.

Shinn, who had a treble of winners on Saturday, thinks that the 1600m Randwick feature in April is in Dreamforce's sights.

“The mile may be a little bit of a concern but the aim is to try and get him into a Doncaster. The thing about him is that he is a quite a push button ride, he does everything that you ask him," he said.

"He doesn’t necessarily have to lead but he likes to do the bullocking work and we won the Doncaster last year with Clapper and he has a similar racing style to Happy Clapper."

“Might not have the same ability but I’m sure that his heart and determination will carry him a long way.”