On the pace … Malavio takes out the Festival Stakes.Supporters of Ricci Royal at Canterbury on Friday night had a horror result. Horses get beaten, some under extenuating circumstances, but rarely like Ricci Royal in the benchmark 70 over 1250 metres. The official photo flashed up on the racecourse screen, indicating Ricci Royal had won narrowly after overcoming a torrid passage. Alas, the judge found in favour of Reunite by a nose. Acting chief steward Greg Rudolph was concerned because the screen provided to him also found in favour of Ricci Royal. Leanne Aspros, trainer of Ricci Royal, was also perplexed. Rudolph hot-footed to the judge’s box for clarification. “The result was correct but the image was distorted when projected to the video screen,” Rudolph said. He, too, has asked for a clearer “feed” for the stewards, who reported Ricci Royal was “checked on jumping, pulled hard and was forced wide throughout”. Either Ricci Royal, a four-year-old gelding by Universal Prince, is very good or the opposition common.
Results don’t lie
A savage bias existed at Rosehill on Saturday – towards the best in the race. Bleats abounded about on-pace runners being favoured, but consider the results. Race 1 – Hawkspur got up by a lip chasing Mintaro, which broke 34 seconds for his final 600 metres. Race 2 – Champagne Cath could have gone around the outside fence and won. Race 3 – Heart Testa had a reasonably soft lead against moderate opposition. Race 4 – Holy Moly was unpressured in front, while runner-up Secluded struck problems getting a clear passage, otherwise would have finished closer. Race 5 – Scream Machine came from last, albeit aided by a superb ride from Kathy O’Hara, while Lucripetous also made a long run and went down by less than a neck. Race 6 – Malavio, even after a slow start, and Monton were able to make their own way in the vanguard and took out the quinella. Race 7 – Dances With Stars sat off the speed and blitzed the opposition. Race 8 – Pentasia allowed the frontrunners to go hard, followed further back by Riva De Lago, which was beaten not by a bias but lack of condition. By all means apply pilot error or judgment of pace in some instances. Would you believe stewards questioned apprentice Sam Clipperton for adapting to the circumstances in the Festival on Monton, under this ridiculous change-of-tactics-notification rule? For showing initiative? Nah, he should have been back where he was “mapped”, by some armchair jockey, and finish a good sixth.
Jason Coyle, an early casualty of the Nathan Tinkler tornado, is a prime example of the benefits of the small-string trainer. No doubt trainers aspire to a big operation and most of the greats, even Chris Waller, kicked off in the battler category. But the trend is towards big stables with interstate branches, while the hand-tailored galloper, fashioned by an experienced horseman, particularly in town, will become extinct. Again the Coyle skill came to the fore with Scream Machine, a $13,000 buy, in the fifth at Rosehill on Saturday, following Lady Be Great at Warwick Farm the previous Saturday. Coyle, who studied under John Size, did well for Tinkler before being blown aside like so many others. When Tinkler branched out at Randwick, Bob Thomsen, in the hand-tailored category at the time, was shafted by the ATC to make way for him.
Oh deery me
Rampaging deer at The Meadows in the US have joined the unwanted runners on racecourses. Track announcer Roger Huston adapted to the situation and called an event featuring Rudolph and Bambi. Of course, we have had quite a few intruders here, from difficult dogs to kangaroos in Broome, no hurdles available, and an emu at Broken Hill. A walkover? Racing NSW chief stipe Ray Murrihy recalls a race at Coolac featuring red cows. “The cattle in a nearby paddock were getting agitated in early races and finally broke through the fence and joined the field in the final event,” he said. “They even beat a couple home.”
Horse to follow
Mr One Eleven, a two-year-old with New Zealand trainer John Sargent at Warwick Farm, was beaten in a Rosehill barrier trial last Tuesday but had a tough run in a fast heat.
Travolta, after easing from $4.60 to $6, finished eighth in the fifth at Rosehill. Sure, he had a demanding run up front but no more so than Cantonese, which beat him home easily.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.