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The Banker reviews Flemington

The hope for bigger crowds getting back to racetracks has racing officials excited with autumn on the doorsteps. All tickets for a crowd of 5000 at Flemington on Saturday were snapped up, but whether all 5000 attended I am not so sure, but what was pleasing was despite the fence separating jockeys and trainers from owners, there was some mingling post-race.

After the win of Liqueuro, trainer Cindy Alderson took the gelding’s rider Jamie Kah to the fence to discuss the merits of the performance, while keeping a safe distance in the process of course. It was a nice little touch, especially as owners have been left out in the cold during COVID-19.

Then then was a section of the crowd that loudly celebrated the return to scale of Housay after that sprinter won the final race. It was music to the ears of officials at Flemington and one they hope they can expand upon when they hold their ‘Rapid Racing’ meeting on January 29 and the Lightning Stakes meeting on February 13.

No doubt officials will be making sure security is tight after a reveller on the Gold Coast found his way into the stewards’ room while a careless riding inquiry was taking place following the last race. Maybe that racegoer should have been charged with ‘careless riding’.

RUNS OF THE DAY

It was pretty hard not to be impressed with Perth mare FABERGINO who led throughout to land a third win, and remain unbeaten, over the 1000m journey at Flemington. That will be the course and distance for the mare’s next appearance in the Lightning Stakes. She will take on different company than what she met on Saturday, but she is a flying machine who runs at her top over the 1000m course. There was a lot to like about her win on Saturday as she conceded weight to her rivals and ran them into the ground. If a firm track is produced on Lightning day, who knows what might happen.

Promising stayer COOLTH finally lived up to his potential with a strong win. Fitted with blinkers and appreciating a more solid tempo in a larger field, Coolth stamped his potential with the win over 2000m. He is now likely to step up to 2500m at The Valley for his next outing ahead of his ultimate aim this campaign, the Adelaide Cup at Morphettville in March. The further he goes the better and there is a nice win ahead for him.

The dashing grey Fabergino and Jordan Childs leave the rest to a race of their own, picture Racing Photos

AND THOSE TO FORGIVE

I would be prepared to give CHEQUERBOARD another chance after her first shot at 2000m. Rising from 1600m, the daughter of Fastnet Rock raced on the speed before taking over soon after turning for home. With a strong headwind to contend with and being one of the topweights, it proved too much. Ridden a little more patiently and with cover, for longer, she is worth giving thought to when she next lines up.

Don’t be dropping off PANDEMIC despite him being comfortably beaten by Fabergino. Pandemic had been successful over 1100m and 1200m at his previous two outings, but was back to 1000m on Saturday. There was strong support for the Godolphin sprinter to suggest a forward showing, but he was simply outsped by the Perth mare. He can get back into winning form with a rise in distance when he’s next produced.

ONE LAST CHANCE

Losing patience with MISS DAMITA. She was well supported on the strength of her win at Warrnambool at her second run from a spell after a first-up placing at The Valley. The support was there to suggest she would run well on Saturday, but after racing forward she didn’t finish it off. She may get another chance as there was a strong headwind up the straight, but that is searching for an excuse.

After having no luck at Caulfield when locked away on the fence, TERBIUM was given plenty of clear air on Saturday, but knocked up in the last race after leading. One excuse could be the strong headwind that he raced into up the straight, but overall, he was disappointing. Will give him one more chance, but if he flops next time, off to the sack file he goes.

WHAT’S ON NEXT WEEK

The Group 2 Australia Stakes is the main race this weekend, run on Friday at The Valley and precedes a restricted meeting at Sandown on Saturday. The Australia Stakes was named the Norman Carlyon Stakes and previously run in March until it swapped dates with the William Reid Stakes. The Listed Carrington Stakes over 1400m highlights the Randwick meeting on Saturday with run-of-the-mill meetings at Doomben and Gawler complimenting the weekend package.

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