Daily News Wrap

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Sacred Kingdom remembered

Legendary Hong Kong galloper Sacred Kingdom (Encosta De Lago) has died aged 15.

Bred in Victoria by the Calvert Family and sold for $200,000 at the 2005 Melbourne Premier Sale, Sacred Kingdom was initially trained by Clarry Conners under the name Jumbo Star before owner Sin Kang Yuk transferred him to Hong Kong without starting in Australia

He would become a superstar, winning 17 of his 36 starts and HK$45.8m in prizemoney including seven Group 1s.

He had been retired to Living Legends outside of Melbourne and had only recently returned home to Kornong Stud where he was born.

Trainer Ricky Yiu told TDN AusNZ that it was sad to hear the news of his death.

“I’d only seen him once since he retired, but the owner had been to see him many times. His sons study in Australia and every time he was there he would go visit." Yui said.

"It’s very sad, I thought he would live for another five years at least."

"The farm really cared for him well, and they called the owner and myself. We offered to do all we could for him."

"The only request from the owner was that he be buried on a nice place on the farm, not cremated. It’s a beautiful place and I’m sure they will honour his memory. He was a great horse."

Jockey fancies Cup prospects

Jockey Craig Williams believes the G1 TAB Australian Cup is an intriguing race with a number of different form lines meeting at Flemington.

Williams rides the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh (NZ) (Savabeel), the only mare in the race, and said he had chased the ride after watching her at Flemington last spring.

After winning the G1 Empire Rose S. at Flemington on the opening day of the Melbourne Cup carnival, Shillelagh returned a week later to finish an unlucky fifth in the Mackinnon S.

"I wanted the ride on her because of her performance in the Mackinnon Stakes last spring," Williams said.

"I thought that run showed that Flemington, over 10 furlongs, at weight-for-age, she could mix it with our best horses."

Shillelagh has had two runs in her autumn campaign, beating one home in the G1 CF Orr S. at Caulfield on February 9 before running sixth in the G2 Peter Young S. two weeks later.


Slipper hopes on line

Tony Gollan is confident Vincere Volare (I Am Invincible) will confirm the Brisbane trainer made the right decision to miss two earlier feature races in Sydney when she steps out at Randwick.

Vincere Volare is unbeaten in two starts in Brisbane and Gollan is growing in confidence she can make it three from three in Saturday's G2 Reisling S.

“I don't think she is out of place in this company. Things can always go wrong in a flash with 2-year-olds," Gollan said. "But to date we have been able to take her along the way we wanted.

"When she won her first start at Doomben in November the temptation was there to chase a $250,000 Inglis race in Sydney."

Gollan said the decision had been made to spell her with either the Inglis Millennium or the Golden Slipper as her aims. “Then we decided to miss the Millennium and head for the Slipper."

Vincere Volare

Srikandi joins quality line-up

Dual Group 1 winner Srikandi (Dubawi {Ire}) is the latest headline entry to the 2019 Inglis Chairman’s Sale.

She won both the Stradbroke H. and the Tatt’s Tiara when trained by Ciaron Maher and also finished runner-up to Chautauqua (Encosta de Lago) in the G1 Manikato S. She won nine races and $2,377,600.

Srikandi, who will be offered in foal to American Pharoah (USA), has an I Am Invincible weanling filly to be offered through Inglis at the Australian Broodmare and Weanling Sale on May 2.

Her only progeny to be offered at public auction so far is a Snitzel yearling filly who realised $400,000.


Inglis' NSW Bloodstock Manager Chris Russell said the Chairman’s catalogue was shaping into an outstanding collection of world class race fillies and mares.

“It’s extraordinarily rare for Group 1-winning mares to be offered at auction, let alone a mare of the calibre of Srikandi,’’ Russell said.

Entries to The Chairman’s Sale, which will be held at Riverside Stables on the evening of Friday, May 3, close on March 8.

Banking on blinkers

Bjorn Baker is counting on the addition of blinkers helping Champagne Cuddles (Not A Single Doubt) in her bid to claim an elusive Group 1 win in the Newmarket H. at Flemington.

Champagne Cuddles has been placed four times in Group 1 races during her 17-start career.

"She will be fourth-up on Saturday so there's no doubting her fitness, the blinkers go on and she gets in with a light weight (52kg),” Baker said.

"On her day she's a very good mare, but it's going to be an exciting race and a tough ask. It's a field full of depth."

Baker hopes the blinkers might help Champagne Cuddles switch on and find an extra length or two.

Champagne Cuddles

Dale extending sprinter

Matt Dale has been waiting for the right time to extend Fell Swoop (Not A Single Doubt) beyond his usual distance range and he has finally found it.

The 7-year-old will race beyond 1200 metres for just the second time in his career when he takes his place against a crack field of sprinters in the G1 Canterbury S. at Randwick on Saturday.

"For some time we've been wanting to start him up over 1300, 1400 metres," Dale said.

"He was going to run in the CF Orr a number of weeks ago but had an issue when he was reshod, he was just shod up a bit tight, so he missed that and hence why he had to go around in the Oakleigh Plate.

Sydney Cup on radar

G1 Sydney Cup placegetter Charles Road (Myboycharlie {Ire}) will earn another tilt at the $2 million race if he performs well in Saturday’s G1 Barfoot & Thompson Auckland Cup at Ellerslie.

The gelding, who races as Sir Charles Road in Australia, ran third in the 2018 edition behind Who Shot Thebarman (NZ) (Yamanin Vital {NZ}) and Zacada (NZ) (Zabeel {NZ}).

He finished fifth in last year's G1 Auckland Cup, one of only three Group 1 3200 metre races left in Australasia along with the Sydney and Melbourne Cups.

"He's entered for Sydney, but he's first got to show that he warrants going," co-trainer Andrew Scott said.

Charles Road was an encouraging fourth in the Listed Kaimai S.at Matamata last-start.

"It was a really pleasing performance and it indicated to us he's coming up really well and racing in a manner that suggests he's looking for the two miles," Scott said.

Mare ends on a high

Talented mare She’s So High (I Am Invincible) has run her last race.

The Mick Price-trained 4-year-old won four of her 10 starts, including the G3 Proud Miss S. and the Listed Bob Hoysted H. at her last outing.

“She is retired. She’s always been a precious filly we’ve nursed and nursed, and I wasn’t happy with the way she pulled up,” Price told Racenet.

“She’s only had 10 starts but there’s no need to squeeze them too hard. I wasn’t happy with one knee and she didn’t feel right over her back end.

“I don’t believe she should be pressured anymore as a racehorse. She is going to be a beautiful mother.”

She's So High

Rider injured

Mark Whiteman has suffered a broken cheekbone in a tragic accident.

David Payne’s travelling foreman was working the stable’s G2 VRC Sires’ Produce S. hope Deep Chill (Wandjina) on Thursday when the colt faltered and was subsequently euthanised.

Deep Chill had earned a trip to Flemington from his Rosehill base with a previous win at Warwick Farm after finishing third in the G3 Canonbury S.

"It was a freak accident, can you believe it," Payne said.

"One of my foremen was riding him. He's got a broken cheekbone and he's a bit battered and bruised so I'm heading down a bit earlier to come and do the work."

Mark Whiteman leading Ace High back to scale after his VRC Derby victory.

Payne is hoping for a degree of compensation from Ace High (High Chaparral {Ire}) in Saturday’s G1 Australian Cup.

"We've got to beat Avilius. He's obviously the one to beat, but who knows, it's racing," he said.

Stern test for Rondinella

The Roger James and Robert Wellwood-trained Rondinella (NZ) (Ocean Park {NZ}) is taking a solid form line into Saturday’s G1 Bonecrusher New Zealand S. at Ellerslie, but her connections believe she will have her work cut out for her in the star-studded field.

The 4-year-old has won three of her six starts this season, including a last-start runner-up performance in the Listed Kaimai S. at Matamata last month.

“I thought it was a good run, she certainly didn’t get every favour, but she was very close on what wasn’t a suitable track for her,” Wellwood said.

“She is taking a good form line in, but the race has come up very strong,” Wellwood said. “I think there are eight Group 1 winners and a further two Group 1 placegetters.

There are probably two or three that we didn’t think were going to be there when we decided that was a race on our radar.”

“We’ll run Saturday and make plans from the result and how she goes there. She may head to Sydney for a race. There are a few different options around.”