Daily News Wrap

8 min read

Becker’s persistence pays off

Stockwell Thoroughbreds’ Mike Becker has fulfilled a long-held wish to bring Al Maher (Danehill {USA}) to Victoria.

The Group 1 winner and producer will relocate from Emirates Park, who bred and raced the stallion, to the Diggers Rest operation for the 2019 season.

“We have been petitioning Emirates Park over the years to send him down to us as he is just beautifully placed here in Victoria,” Becker said.

“He is a proven producer of stakes and group performers with 34 individual stakes performers and four heralded Group 1 winners.

Al Maher

“We lease the property from Emirates and have had a successful relationship for a long time that works beautifully to everyone’s benefit. It gives us the freedom to grow and move back into the business of standing stallions.

“Al Maher is still a brilliant breeder, highly fertile with a great libido. He can comfortably cover three mares a day and still positively hits 90 per cent plus – he loves his job.”

Al Maher is from the potent stallion family of Group 1 winners and producers Redoute’s Choice, Manhattan Rain, Hurricane Sky and Umatilla (NZ). Promising young sire Rubick is also a member of this family as is the multiple Group 1 winner Shoals (Fastnet Rock).

Al Maher will stand at Stockwell Thoroughbreds in 2019 for $8000 plus GST in 2019.

Americain moves to Daisy Hill

Melbourne Cup winner Americain (USA) will become Daisy Hill's foundation stallion.

Americain had completed six seasons at Swettenham Stud and has shuttled to Calumet Farm, but moves to Daisy Hill, which is owned by Colleen and Kevin Bamford, who raced Americain.

Daisyl Hill is located at Doreen on Melbourne's north-east outskirts.

"We're excited to have him as our foundation stallion," said Daisy Hill's Shane Freeman. "He will really suit breeders who are willing to give a horse time, three and four-year-old races over a bit of distance. We think he'll do the job for us."

The 2010 Melbourne Cup winner will stand for $10,000 plus GST at Daisy Hill.

Spinter at top of his game

Trainer James Cummings believes Newmarket H. favourite Osborne Bulls (Street Cry {Ire}) is in prime order ahead of his bid to claim a first Group 1 win at Flemington.

With nine wins and five placings from 15 starts, including a third in the $13 million Everest and a fast-finishing second in the recent G1 Lightning S., Osborne Bulls has emerged as one of Australia's brightest sprinting talents.

"He's flying, Osborne Bulls," Cummings said. "He's gone ahead since the Lightning.

"I think he's going to enjoy another big challenge up the straight for him this weekend.

"He's just in great shape so we're quietly confident that we've got him where we visualised we might be able to have him at the very beginning of this preparation for a race like this.”

Worst fears realised

The Australian Jockeys’ Association chairman Des O’Keeffe has confirmed the spinal cord injury jockey Tye Angland suffered in the fall in Hong Kong last November could not be repaired and he has been left a quadriplegic.

‘’Tye has some movement in his arms, but is unable to walk,’’ O’Keeffe said.

‘’Tye remains at the Royal Rehabilitation Centre in Sydney as he continues his recovery and rehabilitation.

‘’Together, the family are currently working with a range of stakeholders in terms of co-ordinating and financing Tye’s ongoing care and the family’s long-term needs.

‘’His wife Erin and the couple’s three children Alexis, Addison and Rylan continue to be amazed by the support they have received and wish to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to the m."

Tye Angland

Sydney-bound filly sizzles

Star New Zealand 2-year-old Probabeel (NZ) (Savabeel) will be on a plane to Sydney on Monday evening.

The Karaka Million winner was an easy 1000 metre heat winner in the hands of Opie Bosson at Rotorua on Tuesday and a performance that gave the green light for the trip.

“She trialled really well and that was pleasing to see,” trainer Jamie Richards said.

“She will run in the G2 Magic Night S. and three weeks later the G1 Sires’ Produce S.

“She had a nice 10 days in the paddock after the Karaka Million and she’s pleased us since she’s come back into the stable.”

Vale Les Carlyon

The Australian racing and media industry is mourning the loss of legendary journalist Les Carlyon, who passed away aged 76.

Carlyon achieved many things in his journalistic career, holding the position as editor of The Age, as well as editor-in-chief of The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd, but it was his ability to capture the passion and power of thoroughbred racing that endeared him to so many.

He was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2016 for his contribution to broadcasting and documenting the history of racing.

Among his books on racing are True Grit, Tales of the Turf and The Master, which proved a definitive biography of Bart Cummings.

“He was pragmatic and mystical, likeable and unknowable,” Carlyon wrote on Cummings.

“Racing might be about desperates. Cummings was too casual to be desperate. He wasn’t like anyone else: he was simply Bart.”

He also delivered a eulogy at the memorial service of jockey Roy Higgins in 2014.

Les Carlyon

Hutchings back home

Talented rider Rory Hutchings has returned to New Zealand after being based in Sydney for the past four years.

The 23-year-old, who last rode on race day on January 12, has battled with his weight in recent years after winning the Sydney apprentice jockeys’ premiership in 2016.

“I put a timeline of around a month before I am back riding,” Hutchings said. “I am a bit heavy at the minute, so I will just be riding work and getting my weight down until then.

“I will be based at Matamata to start with, living with my parents, so that is where I am going to be riding work until I get back to the races. If I can get back riding around 56kgs again, that is a big advantage.”

A three-time champion apprentice jockey in New Zealand before venturing to Sydney to ride for Chris Waller, Hutchings’ career highlights include Group 1victories aboard Soriano (NZ) (Savabeel) in the Herbie Dyke S. and the Zabeel Classic.

Distance test for top mare

New Zealand Horse of the Year in waiting Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) is set to shine in a different role at Ellerslie on Saturday.

The mare will close out her season in the G1 Bonecrusher New Zealand S., which will mark her first appearance over 2000 metres.

Fortuna Syndications Director John Galvin confirmed today that Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) would be nominated for the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Group One 2000m) to be run at Ellerslie on Auckland Cup Day 9th March.

Melody Belle

“Melody Belle has come through her Group One victory at Otaki in great style,” said Fortuna principal and syndicate manager John Galvin.

“Her gallop at Matamata on Tuesday morning in the hands of race day rider Opie Bosson was very good. Opie is happy, trainer Jamie Richards is happy – she is ready to go.”

Melody Belle has been dominant this season, winning five Group 1 races from 1200 to 1600 metres.

Australian Derby in mix

G1 New Zealand Derby placegetter Platinum Invador (NZ) (Redwood {GB}) is in line for a trip to Australia.

“It was a really good run and a big effort for the horse to back-up three times in two weeks, with two trips to Auckland,” trainer Lisa Latta said.

“He went straight to the paddock on Sunday, for a week. We are thinking of the G1 Australian Derby, we obviously want to give him a week off and get him back into the stable and see how he has come through the race.”

“He may head to the G1 Tulloch S. because we know he can back up a week later. We will make a decision next week.”

Stablemates on travelling list

Trainers Michael Moroney and Pam Gerard are looking at autumn Sydney Classic targets with two of their runners after pleasing performances at Ellerslie on Saturday.

Pinmedown (NZ) (Pins) was victorious in the G3 Sunline Vase will now head to Trentham later this month for the G1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand Oaks.

“It doesn’t look that strong a year to us, so if she performs well enough the AJC Oaks will be on the cards,” Moroney said.

He was also pleased with the effort of Arrogant (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) to run fourth in the Gr New Zealand Derby and he could join his stablemate across the Tasman with the G1 Rosehill Guineas and Gr1 Australian Derby likely targets.

Ladies First side-lined

Last year’s G1 Auckland Cup winner Ladies First (NZ) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}) has suffered a set-back that will see her autumn campaign shelved.

The Allan Sharrock-trained mare had been on a path to the G1 Sydney Cup, but pulled up sore after finishing 10th in the G1 Haunui Farm WFA Classic.

“It’s a minor strain in a tendon, so she will probably have three months to get over it,” Sharrock said.

“With three months off, she will be fine. She had come up really, really well and I was quite excited.”