The Daily Wrap

6 min read

Messara to be honoured

Industry leader John Messara is to receive the 2019 Longines and IFHA International Award of Merit, which recognizes distinguished horsemen and horsewomen for lifelong contributions to Thoroughbred racing.

He will be honoured during a ceremony Thursday, April 11 in advance of the G1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes two days later.

Industry leader John Messara

Messara has been a key figure in Australian racing for more than three decades, and he is the owner and Chairman of Arrowfield Stud. Founded in 1985, it was home to breed-shaping sire Danehill (USA) and currently stands his champion sire son Redoute’s Choice and his champion grandson Snitzel.

Messara has served as Chairman of Racing New South Wales (December 2011- December 2016), inaugural Chairman of Racing Australia (January 2014-December 2016), Vice-Chairman of the Asian Racing Conference (2014-2016), President of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (2007-2008), and inaugural Chairman of Aushorse (2001-2008).

Previous accolades include Life Membership of the Australian Turf Club (2016), the Thoroughbred Breeders’ NSW inaugural Heroic Award (2011) and appointment by the Australian government in 2008 as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM).

Filly lights up the Valley

Sunlight (Zoustar) has thrilled trainer Tony McEvoy in a gallop at Moonee Valley ahead of the G1 William Reid S.

McEvoy took advantage of the opportunity to gallop the G1 Newmarket H. winner at the course ahead of Friday night's feature.


"I came into Melbourne on Sunday and went to the stable and looked at her and she looked like she had been to the bakery again," McEvoy said.

"She looked so full and well, you wouldn't have known she'd had a contest last week.

"So we gave her a bit of work and Luke (Currie) said she needed it. She had a good blow but then recovered very well."

Sydney's autumn weather will determine whether Sunlight heads north after Friday night or is saved for the Adelaide carnival at Morphettville.

Rain no issue

Ciaron Maher is considering adding blinkers to the gear of Dubious (Not A Single Doubt) as he chases victory in the G1 Golden Slipper S. at Rosehill.

Maher, who trains in partnership with Dave Eustace, said the 2-year-old was likely to wear the headgear in a gallop on Tuesday, after which he will decide whether he will race in them on Saturday.


"He's pretty focused, but if they can give him an extra half-length, that little one per cent, that's what we're looking for," Maher said. "If it's wet and you're travelling through the ground, it usually holds you in better stead than if you're floundering."

Stablemate Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) won on debut at Caulfield before running sixth in the Blue Diamond Stakes and has since won a Randwick barrier trial.

"Dubious is by Not A Single Doubt and the breed usually handle it, but fitness counts for a lot," Maher said. “Loving Gaby got a little taste of it at Randwick and seemed to handle it OK.”

Fillies share title

Imelda Mary (NZ) (Ferlax {NZ}) and Queen Of Diamonds (NZ) (Savabeel) will share the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year title.

They were locked on 18 points going into the final leg, the G1 New Zealand Oaks, and both were unplaced.

The winner Sentimental Miss (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}) finished third in the series with 16 points following an earlier placing in the G2 Sir Tristram Fillies’ Classic.

Bred to Win returns

Bred To Win is back on Tuesday night at 9pm on Sky Thoroughbred Central Ch 528 at 9pm with a look back at some of the changes to the Inglis Classic and Premier Yearling sales and how both sales were received.

The latest bloodstock news and the breeding background to the major race winners from the weekend will be featured, as well as Arrowfield Stud's The Horse Who Made You Love Racing featuring Victoria's Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter, and a new segment Inglis Sales' stories with Trevor Lobb telling a tale about weighing up the X-ray risks and an Easter 2 Graduate who went on to win a Golden Slipper.

9pm Sky Thoroughbred Central and streamed live on:

Replay times:

Tuesday 11pm

Wednesday 7am

Thursday 7am

Saturday 9pm

Sunday morning 8.30am

Milestone awaits

Leading South Australian rider Raquel Clark can reach 100 winners in a season for the first time if she wins the National Apprentices’ Challenge heat at Doomben on Wednesday.

Clark is sitting on 99 after a treble at Port Lincoln on Sunday.

Apprentice rider Raquel Clark

A former Tasmanian rider now based in South Australia, Clark's best effort to date was 98 wins last season.

Apprenticed to Adelaide trainers Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas, she is currently second on the Adelaide metropolitan premiership, one win behind Jamie Kah who has moved to Victoria.

Clark has been allocated premier Brisbane trainer Tony Gollan's horse Dream Kisses (Dream Ahead {USA}) in the Apprentices’ Challenge.

"She is a stakes-winning jockey and very experienced. Hopefully the weather holds but even if the track stays heavy, Dream Kisses has been placed four times on bog tracks," Gollan said.

"To ride 100 winners in a season is a great achievement and it would be good to be part of it."

More hopeful than confident

Heath Conners had a fairytale farewell from metropolitan racing, but he is not so sure it’ll be a similar story at Bendigo on Tuesday.

The Geelong horseman will saddle his final runner as a trainer when Neurotic (Nicconi) runs in the Smartline Rising Stars BM64 H.

"She’s first-up and she probably needs the run,” he said. “She’s a Blue Sky horse and they’ve been fantastic to me.”

In recent years, Conners has become disenchanted with the 24/7 nature of the racing industry and is giving away training to spend more time with his wife and children.

“These three beautiful kids that we’ve got, I want to watch them grow up the next 15 years,” he told RSN.

No matter what happens at Bendigo, the 45-year-old is leaving training with a lifetime memory thanks to Villa Sarchi (Written Tycoon).

He made Conners’ last city runner a winner when he won the last race on the inaugural All-Star Mile programme at Flemington.