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The Thoroughbred’s in-depth Perth preview reveals the chances in the Quaddie legs and all races at Belmont on Saturday.
The best bet is in race four, and there is enormous eachway value about the top selection in race five, the first leg of the Quaddie.
To find out what they are CLICK HERE.
Perth’s top jockey William Pike may be old-fashioned in preferring the the foot-in-the-iron style of riding rather than the toe-in approach of most of Australia’s top young jockeys, but he won’t be out of place in Hong Kong when he moves there next season.
Pike (23) was named as one of two new riders when the Hong Kong Jockey Club announced next season’s contracts yesterday – South African Greg Cheyne is the other.
Returning Australian Darren Beadman, who also adheres to the foot-in style, will return for his third season as retained jockey for Australian trainer John Moore – Pike and most others are club riders – but Beadman’s brief comes with a warning from the club committee. It “directed management to inform jockey Beadman that the committee had noted the number of occasions on which he had been spoken to regarding his handling of horses in races and that his disciplinary record would be closely monitored”.
On Sunday, Beadman was given a two-meeting suspension for not riding a horse out when it finished sixth but narrowly missed fourth, which could have cost punters money from the huge pool on first-four betting. (He will begin his latest time out after riding one of Moore’s runners, Viva Pataca or Collection, in the Group 1 City Champions & Chater Cup, 2400m, at Sha Tin on Sunday.) The HKJC had not wanted the Australian champion back after disqualifying him in 1993 for not allowing a horse to run on its merits.
In 2007, it changed its mind after urging from Moore. Pike, who has stayed in Perth rather than try his luck in the Eastern States, told perthracing.com.au that he would be required in Hong Kong two weeks before the 2009-10 season starts on September 15.
“I am going to try my luck in Hong Kong,” he said. “It’s the best racing in the world and I’m going to try and match it against them … it’s an opportunity too good to resist.” Pike, who will ride in WA until the end of this season (July 31), said his new job “means I will have to start at the bottom of the pile, like everyone else, and go and ride track work and get my own rides”. (Jockey managers are not allowed in Hong Kong.)
Pike, a distant relative of Jim Pike, rider of the champion Phar Lap in the 1930s, told The Thoroughbred (VIEW HERE) placing his feet well into the stirrups enabled him to encourage his mounts with a kick and to ride more strongly hands and heels.
After riding four winners at Belmont on Saturday, Pike has seven mounts at the same track today. He is certain to win his second WA metropolitan premiership with 73 wins, 34 ahead of second-placed Troy Turner. Pike has 123 wins statewide, the fifth season on end he has topped the ton. His career win tally is 767, including two Group 1s (Grand Journey and Cats Fun in the WATC Derby in 2007 and 2008) and two races at the Warrnambool carnival in May 2007 when Victorian trainer Robbie Laing lured him across for three days, setting in train rumours that Pike would soon try his luck in Eastern Australia.
Now, he will ride in Hong Kong, regarded as one of the world’s most competitive racing jurisdictions.
Victorian James Winks, who has had 10 wins since getting a short-term licence in January, has been granted the full-season brief he sought, as has former Sydney-based South African veteran Jeff Lloyd. Another Victorian, Brett Prebble, the perennial runner-up to South African Douglas Whyte, and Queenslander Zac Purton, also return.
Adelaide’s reigning premier rider Clare Lindop, who told thethoroughbred.com.au earlier this month that she had applied to ride in Hong Kong, did not get a licence. She has plenty to look forward to closer to home this season with Rebel Raider, the Victoria Derby and South Australian Derby winner, and an early fancy for the Melbourne Cup.
Pike and Cheyne fill the spots vacated by Eric Saint-Martin and Mark du Plessis. Saint-Martin, who was David Hayes’ stable rider before the trainer returned to Australia in 2005, was refused a licence after running battles with HKJC authorities. Saint-Martin said he would retire and return to France, where he has business interests. Zimbabwean-born du Plessis did not apply, preferring to return to New Zealand.
Australian trainers Moore, John Size and David Hall and New Zealander Paul O’Sullivan have been re-licensed.
The Thoroughbred Magazine Club’s filly, Belleluia, who trialled impressively at Cranbourne on Monday, has a distinct white-eye – or glass-eye – that is clearly shown in the associated picture.
There is an “old wives’ tale” that suggests that horses with white in their eye have a wild, unruly and untrustworthy nature, and to this day many trainers steer clear of buying them at the sales.
The fact is there is no evidence that a white-, glass- or wall-eye has anything to do with temperament – many very good horses carry the syndrome.
Danny Power recounts his tale of a white-eyed horse that was rejected by a respected horseman:
In 1996, I attended the New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale with an instruction from leading Melbourne owner Terry Henderson – “I’d be interested if you see a nice, cheap colt with a stayer’s pedigree.”
I found Terry’s colt in the back barns of the complex; offered by a young couple, Bruce and Maureen Harvey, selling under the banner of Ascot Farm. He was a strapping bay by Stylish Century (by Double Century) from the Sir Tristram mare Lady Tristana.
I loved the way he walked, his strength of bone and also the fact he looked more like a Sir Tristram in both colour and shape than the lighter-frame of his almost black sire.
What he did inherit from Stylish Century was a significant white-eye – the outside of the eye being distinctly white rather than full coloured brown – that gave him a bit of a wild look. It was a signature of Stylish Century that stood out even more than usual against his near jet-black coat.
This colt had two white-eyes, more commonly called glass-eyes. The white-eye is distinct from a wall-eye, which means the inner section of the eye is pale, almost blue. I paid $18,000 for the yearling, and was happy to get him so cheaply.
Henderson asked for the colt to be sent to the nearby farm of his close friend, leading harness racing trainer Barry Purdon, who had plans to invest in the purchase.
A few days after the sale, I asked Henderson if Barry liked the colt. “Oh, he loves him. He said he’s a nice, athletic, good-moving horse, but he won’t take a share in him. He’s got a white-eye. Barry wouldn’t have bought a horse with an eye like this horse.”
The good news was that Purdon’s wife Katrina adored the colt and suffered from none of the superstitions of her husband. Katrina became the registered part-owner. And she had the last laugh.
The youngster, named Runaway, showed considerable promise in his work and trials in New Zealand. Henderson and his partners sent the then gelding to Bart Cummings.
In the spring of 1998, Runaway was beaten a lip by Mossman in the Group 2 AAMI Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley before finishing a close fifth behind Arena in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington a week later.
Unfortunately, a shoulder injury, not his white-eye, stopped Runaway from reaching his full potential.
Ironically, the gelding finished his racing career in New Zealand – trained by Purdon after the champion harness trainer took out a dual licence.
Belleluia pleased me when running fourth in an official race trial at Cranbourne Training Complex. These trials will be replayed on the TVN racing channel tonight. She was in trial No.8.
She has completed a fantastic first campaign from an uneducated racehorse to trialling very well on two occasions. During her time in work she has continued to grow taller and now that we are sending her home to Eliza Park for a six week rest I expect her to grow again and physically strengthen.
She is a lovely Filly and our patience with her now will only be rewarded in the years to come. I’m very pleased with what I have seen all campaign in her trackwork and in her trials and very much look forward to her returning to the stable.
WE SAW IT
The rain Southern Australia so badly needs was there for all to see at Doomben on Saturday, with those watching pay television amazed at the downpours as races two and four were run at Doomben – fortunately the deluge had passed over when the Doomben 10,000 (race five, 1350m) was run and there was no rain on Apache Cat’s parade as he won the Group 1 race.
The white-faced wonder is as popular in Queensland as Takeover Target is elsewhere, having won the past two 10,000s and with a third and a win in the BTC Cup (1200m), also a Group 1. It is more a case of cheer the one you have rather than the one elsewhere, with TT not having raced in Brisbane since he won the 10,000 in 2007.
Apache Cat (Ch g 6, Lion Cavern (USA)-Tennessee Blaze, by Whiskey Road (USA)) can’t compete with Takeover in the “Story Stakes”, nor has he won overseas, but he has won eight Group 1s (the same as TT) and has earned $4.4 million – Takeover has passed the $6 million mark. And, galloping ability aside, that white face, accentuated by white blinkers, makes him something to watch in running. As winning rider Damien Oliver said: “His quirky markings really endear him to the crowd.”
Ollie was at his brilliant best winning his 83rd Group 1 in the 10,000, cruising to the front before the turn while the rest of the field was ploughing on behind, and holding off the visible challenger, Black Piranha, while All Silent was “all hidden” from the TV camera (on the outside rail) in beating Sniper’s Bullet for third. Those watching on TV screens couldn’t understand why there was a photo for third – now they know.
The rain continued much further north on Sunday – in Hong Kong, where the last two races of the 10-event card at Sha Tin were called off. Zac Purton, part of the drama at Doomben on Saturday, was in the thick of things again 24 hours later.
Aussie Purton almost missed his 10,000 ride on the wet-track flop Court Command when the wild weather forced his HK-Brisbane plane to detour via Townsville, and then he won the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2200m) on swimmer Reggie. (Reggie (B or Br m 8, Germano (GB)-Crackastar (NZ), by Star Way (GB)), is heading to the Magic Millions broodmare sale next week.) Said trainer Peter Moody, in as many words: whoever buys her could have a Brisbane Cup runner. Back in HK, Purton had two wins on the abbreviated card to take his season’s tally to 31, two up on last year’s mark with 10 meetings left in the season.
Fellow Aussie Brett Prebble had a double to take his tally to 64, second to South African tearaway Douglas Whyte (91). And Prebble had even better news when Sacred Kingdom’s connections decided to pay a late entry fee of almost $100,000 for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 20. The world’s top-rated sprinter showed he could handle travel with a win in the Group 1 KrisFlyer (1200m) at Kranji in Singapore on May 17. “I can’t wait to get there,” said Prebble. – “I’ve never ridden at Ascot before and not only am I going to get there, I’ll be on the best sprinter in the world today.”
Another Victorian jockey, James Winks, wants to go no further than Hong Kong next season. Winks, a late addition to the HK ranks in January, told the South China Morning Post on Sunday after his 10th winner: “I hope I’ll be invited back again next season because I certainly want to come.”
Darren Beadman, who certainly will be back, had no luck on Sunday – he didn’t ride a winner and stewards found him guilty of not riding a sixth-placed horse with full vigour to the line. Beadman finished a nose and a short head from fourth. Stewards said his (in)action might have affected First Four dividends – the pools are huge – and suspended him for two weeks (after he rides in a Group 1 race at Sha Tin next Sunday).
THEY SAID IT
“Every owner and every punter is good for the game; the bigger the owner, the bigger the punter, the better for the game,” Robert Smerdon said after Makeadreamcometrue (B g 5, Volksraad (GB)-Lady Tee (NZ), by Zabeel (NZ) won at Caulfield for big Sydney owner Nick Moraitis. Smerdon reckoned Moraitis told him he had “50 something” horses in work at any time – Caulfield trainer Smerdon has 10-12 of those. Moraitis hit the headlines with the champion Might And Power, winner of the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups in 1997 and Cox Plate in 1998, and he was back there during the recent Sydney carnival with back-to-back Group 1 wins with the greatly improved Vision And Power. Smerdon said Saturday’s win would be a tonic for Moraitis, who had back and neck surgery.
“I didn’t think he’d ever win by that sort of distance; he’s a pretty laidback sort of a galloper,” said Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh after Shocking’s stunning three-length win in the manner of a spring horse in the Taralye Foundation Cup (2000m) at Caulfield. . Weather and flight availability will determine whether Shocking (B c 3, Street Cry (IRE)-Maria Di Castiglia (GB), by Danehill (USA)) goes to Brisbane for the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 6.
“We’ve got a pretty smart horse, but do you really want to cook it?” More Kavanagh on whether to go to Queensland.
“He’s a good judge of a horse, no doubt about him,” Kavanagh again, this time of Lawrence Eales, owner of Shocking and another of the Street Cry progeny, last spring’s Group 1 Caulfield Guineas winner Whobegotyou (Ch g, ex Temple Of Peace (JPN), by Carnegie (IRE)) and Shocking.
WE’LL WATCH IT
Black Piranha’s bid to break his Group 1 duck in the Stradbroke Handicap (1350m) at Eagle Farm on June 6 is worth hanging out for after his second to Apache Cat in the 10,000. It was his third Group 1 second in his past three runs and, in anyone’s language, that is unlucky. Or is it? Prizemoney was $80,000 (Ryder), $380,000 (Doncaster) and $130,000 (10,000) for $590,000 – then again, first prizes were $264,900, $1,211,500 and $416,000 for $1,892,400, and that’s some gap ($1.3m). Black Piranha (Br g 5, Clang-Jazztrack, by Distinctly North (USA)) is trained at Rosehill by Con Karakatsanis, yet to train a Group 1 winner. Tye Angland has had the ride in all the seconds. In the Stradbroke BP drops to 53.5kg from 59 at wfa in the 10,000; and the distance goes up to 1400m, which should suit. And he won’t be worried if the rain continues. First prize in the $640,000, and we’re guessing that connections also know that second is worth $200,000.
Eagle Farm has a big meeting on this Saturday, too, with the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m). Also on the card are three Group 2s, a Group 3 and two Listed races.
Belmont in Perth has the Group 3 Roma Cup (1200m), Rosehill the Listed McKell Cup (2400m) and Flemington has two $100,000 races, the David Bourke Provincial Plate (1600m) and the second heat of the Banjo Paterson Series (2600m) for stayers.
And another spring reminder about Caulfield trainer Peter Moody’s promising youngster Black Caviar (Br f 2, Bel Esprit-Helsinge, by Desert Sun (GB)) comes from the win of Carrara (B c 2, Elvstroem-Crystal Sprite, by Hurricane Sky) in the Listed Doomben Slipper (1350m) after his third to the flying Black Caviar at his previous start at Caulfield. Carrara was also Elvstroem’s first Stakes winner.
The Thoroughbred Magazine Club’s filly, Belleluia, couldn’t have been more impressive in finishing fourth, under a tight hold, in her first official barrier trial this morning at the Cranbourne Training Complex.
Belleluia, ridden by Ivan Culliver, looked every bit a racehorse as she finished her 800-metre trial off strongly to cross the line about two lengths behind the winner Fivestar Lass (by Elusive Quality), who set a cracking pace.
Fivestar Lass, who led by five lengths at one stage, just lasted to beat the fast-finishing Kichai (by Not A Single Doubt) by a head, with 1.5 lengths to Faker (by Pins) in third place.
The time for the trial, run on ground rated a slow 6, was a slick 47.89 seconds – the second fastest of the eight 2YO trials of the morning (fastest was 47.54s).
View the full result of trial eight.
(TVN will replay the Cranbourne trials on Tuesday, 8.30pm)
Belleluia began well and settled in about fifth place on the fence, one of a pack of horses chasing the speedy Fivestar Lass. Culliver manoeuvred the filly off the fence on the bend in search of better ground, and Belleluia came on strongly between horses.
Culliver said Belleluia had made significant improvement from last week’s unofficial jump-out trial on the inside grass, when the long-striding filly also finished fourth.
“She was a little lost early because the other horses were sitting wide and there was nothing between her and the leader,” he said.
“Once I got her wider and she got in behind the other horses, she grabbed the bit and concentrated a lot better. In fact, I think her last 50 metres was the best part of her trial.”
Trainer Robbie Griffiths was delighted with Belleluia’s performance. “She really has a lot to learn, and I was pleased by the way she finished off her trials.
“Being a tall filly with such a long stride, I don’t think she handled the wet track all that well, but once she got balanced, she looked very good,” he said.
Griffiths pointed out that Belleluia, despite the fact she already is taller than 16 hands, is still growing. “I reckon she has grown about two or three inches (50mm-75mm) since she came into work this time,” he said, pointing to the top of the filly’s rump.
“She is yet to come up in the wither (above the shoulder).”
(Horses grow in stages – usually the hindquarters grow first, followed by the shoulder. A horse can be unbalanced during this growth period)
Griffiths said that because Belleluia is in a growth spurt, he feels it is an opportune time to spell her for six weeks.
“She can continue to grow and develop while she is out, and we can have her back at Cranbourne in full work for a late spring and summer campaign. I would expect she will be ready to run in a maiden around late October or early November.
“I think a big track like Sale would be an ideal place to kick off her career.”
Griffiths said Belleluia, while possessing considerable natural speed, is shaping like a filly that will appreciate more ground.
“We can sort all that out next time she comes into work. So far, it has all been about education. Next time in we can work out which racing style will suit her. Whether she is a filly who likes to race on the pace or is held up for a powerful finish from the back of the field.”
Belleluia will return to Eliza Park, near Romsey, to spell.
Belleluia is a very promising racehorse. She is a tall, immature filly who indicates she will keep improving if we give her the time to mature before we put her under race pressure.
She has all the natural speed of her family, and the willingness to be competitive, which is important.
Belleluia gives all the indications that she is a city-standard filly – and possibly better – and we look forward to campaigning her in the summer months and again, when the feature races are around for 3YO fillies, in the autumn of next year.
The Thoroughbred Magazine Club’s filly, Belleluia, trialled impressively this morning at Cranbourne.
The tall, long-striding filly looked every bit a racehorse when she made her public debut in the eighth trial over 800m at the Cranbourne Training Complex.
To read the full report of Belleluia’s impressive trial and trainer Robbie Griffiths plans for the filly, you need to be a member of the Thoroughbred Magazine Club – all subscribers of The Thoroughbred magazine gain free entry into the club.
For full details about joining the The Thoroughbred Magazine Club, CLICK HERE
The club has leased the quality 2YO filly from her breeders Eliza Park.
Apart from racing* this outstanding filly, The Thoroughbred Magazine Club also aims to give its members an insight into all aspects of this thoroughbred industry – from the joy of breeding a foal in the Hunter Valley to the chill of early spring track gallops at Flemington.
We want members of our club to have privileges that are not normally available to enthusiasts who may not have the wherewithal to own thoroughbreds, or reach places of privilege. It’s an ambitious plan, and we hope to provide further benefits to the broader community, with part of the prizemoney (we hope) coming from the Bel Esprit’s racing career to be donated to appropriate charities.
Join now, be part of racing a superbly bred racehorse, without the costs, but all the fun.
*terms and conditions apply.
(TVN will replay the Cranbourne trials on Tuesday, 8.30pm)
There are shades of déjà vu with Caulfield trainer Robert Smerdon’s staying winner Driffield Gold, destined for a short break with gold, gold, gold next to his name after three wins on end, the latest at his home track on Saturday.
This time last year the then 4YO Light Vision (Br/bl g, Zerpour (IRE)-Switches, by Naturalism (NZ)) also trained by Smerdon, showed similar promise in winning in town, then won again in August after a let-up, and again in September and October after a freshen-up, before seconds in Melbourne Cup week in two Group 3 2500m races, the Saab Quality (to Moatize) and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (to Capecover).
Smerdon acknowledged similarities with Driffield Gold (B g 5, Aristotle (IRE)-Lynden Gold, by Gold Carat (USA)), and claimed – as he had with Light Vision – that a step-up to a race such as the Caulfield Cup would be a huge progression.
Among the many things the talented trainer does well is place his horses, a skill passed on from his uncle Arthur and father Bob, each of whom made the Smerdon name synonymous with well-executed plunges.
Driffield Gold’s success in the PFD Food Service Handicap (2000m) made it four wins and a second from five starts for Smerdon since bloodstock agent Jeff Gordon (jockey Nick Ryan’s stepfather) rang and suggested he would be a good fit for the stable. Smerdon was thinking mid-week stayer; instead he has a Saturday winner at Caulfield and Flemington.
Driffield Gold’s prizemoney has been boosted by $145,000 to $195,000 as three wins from 23 starts has become seven from 28. And let’s not forget the punt for connections so inclined, with Driffield Gold’s past three wins as favourite at $3.80, $1.90 and $2.10.
Smerdon said of Driffield Gold: “If we give him a freshen up now, there might be a country cup or a better race for him than what he’s doing at the moment.”
The trainer is flying, although he said last season was better, “the best season I’ve ever had – 38 in town, which was a best-ever tally”. This season, with two months to go, he is fifth on the metropolitan premiership with 29 (and seventh state-wide with 77 – last year his 38 metro wins placed him sixth and he was seventh overall with 99.)
He described his stable numbers as always fairly static. “I’ve got about 45 here at Caulfield and I’ve got about 15 or 20 at Ballarat … 60-plus at both venues,” he said. “There are all sorts of levels and grades and shades.
“Stayers, I love stayers, there are so many options for them. He (Driffield Gold) can handle the wet, too. What he’s done to date has been a real bonus.”
Smerdon’s Aquanita stable won with another shortie at Caulfield, Makeadreamcometrue (B g 5, Volksraad (GB)-Lady Tee (NZ), by Zabeel (NZ)), also $2.10 favourite. Rider-on-the-rise, apprentice Nick Hall won on both. Hall, who has outridden his claim, is fourth on the metro jockeys’ premiership with 32 wins. Smerdon is using him a lot.
The Thoroughbred Magazine Club’s filly Belleluia will have her first public trial at the Cranbourne Training Centre on Monday, May 25.
The filly has accepted to run in trial eight, for 2YO fillies, at 10.50am, run over 800 metres.
Trainer Robbie Griffiths has decided to trial Belleluia publicly after she impressed with a solid “jump-out” trial over 800m at Cranbourne last Tuesday morning.
Belleluia, ridden by Ivan Culliver, finished fourth in her trial after settling midfield. The track was very heavy, and although Belleluia didn’t really handle the conditions, she finished off her gallop very well under a good hold.
Robbie said after Tuesday’s jump out:
“Belleluia pleased me on Tuesday morning when running fourth in an 800 metre barrier trial at Cranbourne Training Complex.
“She jumped well from the starting gates under Ivan Culliver and held her position behind the leaders although struggling in the very heavy conditions. She did a good job to finish fourth and Ivan and myself were very happy with her performance.
“She has pulled up in great order.”
We will have a full report on her performance on thethoroughbred.com.au in the Magazine area on Monday afternoon, and we have arranged for a video of the trial from TVN. Those subscribers to TVN will be able to watch the trial when Cranbourne trials are replayed during the week.
Download Monday’s trial fields CLICK HERE
Racing, like all sports, puts winners in the spotlight. And jockey Michelle Payne is a winner.
This photo of Payne being interviewed by the media was taken at Cranbourne after she won a race.
I took it, using a Nikon SLR and getting practice for what I hope is my future job – as a photographer, perhaps for Slickpix and The Slattery Media Group.
I’m lucky that I’ve grown up in racing – my father is caller Brian Markovic – and I know how the industry works and can go to the races often to work on my craft. I’m doing that now, while in Year 11 at Parkdale Secondary College, enjoying work experience at SMG, publisher of The Thoroughbred magazine and thethoroughbred.com.au.
There’s a long way to go before I get to a level equal to that Michelle Payne has reached on horseback, but I’m working at it and have found she is a great role model for females interested in racing.
(Payne, 23, one of Victoria’s famous Payne family that has had sisters Brigid, Therese, Maree, Bernadette and Cathy and brothers Patrick and Andrew ride, has ridden almost 400 winners.)