Sky Racing’s resident newshound, ANDREW BENSLEY, brings you up to date after another action-packed weekend of racing around Australia.
COUNTRY CHAMPS GOES GLOBAL IN MORUYA
The Country Championships got underway in NSW on Sunday and had a truly international flavour, as French trainer Jean Dubois and South African jockey Jean Van Overmeire combined for victory with JULIAN ROCK at Moruya.
It was a huge thrill for Overmeire who is chasing his first major win in Sydney, and is gaining momentum after five years riding in and around the ‘harbour city’.
Jean Van Overmeire, picture Sky Racing
Overmeire is confident he has a group of rides that can take him deep in to the Sydney Autumn, and plans to team up with Dubois with two-year-old filly SEE YOU SOON who has the DAME GISELLE form from the Golden Gift in November. See You Soon at this stage will have one run leading into the Golden Slipper.
This Saturday at Rosehill, Overmeire will ride PRINCE FAWAZ in the Hobartville Stakes and the confidence is high around the 3YO, particularly after his recent Randwick trials. If ‘The Prince’ can produce the same sprint that took him to JJ Atkins glory in Brisbane last year, he will be hard to beat.
For all the latest trials and racing information head to the Sky Racing website here
Check out the latest TAB Golden Slipper market here
IS ALIZEE THE WILDCARD
Godolphin are unlikely to have a runner on votes this year, but could ALIZEE snare a wildcard into the All-Star Mile?
A lot of people seemingly dropped off Alizee on Saturday, but she showed her fighting spirit to claim the Apollo Stakes at Randwick. The great mare may have lost that quick sprint, but she is still capable of sitting on the speed and running slick time when the pressure is on.
Voting has closed for the big race next month, with Racing Victoria announcing the ten horses voted into the race on Thursday.
Greg Carpenter put an incredible amount of energy into promoting the voting around the All-Star Mile, even traveling to New Zealand to emphasis the Kiwis were eligible to vote this year.
Perth owner Bob Peters is another high-profile owner eyeing off the All-Star Mile and he is sending Saturday’s return winner SUPERSTORM across to Melbourne, setting up a clash with ALLIGATOR BLOOD and CATALYST in the Australian Guineas.
A win in ‘The Guineas’ would mount a strong case for a wildcard at Caulfield on March 14.
Alizee and Hugh Bowman winning at Randwick on Saturday, picture Sportpix.com.au
MCDONALD THE CATALYST FOR AN EXCITING FINISH
A lot has been said about Saturday’s CS Hayes at Flemington, particularly that incredible finish.
I believe the decision by jockey James McDonald to go forward and sit outside Alligator Blood when most speed maps suggested he’d be last, was the way to go.
By making that sharp move from the barrier, Catalyst didn’t have to make up lengths on Alligator Blood, producing an amazing last 1000m and running quicker time than the Group One Black Caviar Lightning.
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TRAINERS’ SIX PACK IN HUNT FOR DIAMOND
What an incredible performance by the entire Ciaron Maher/David Eustace team to possibly have six runners in Saturday’s Blue Diamond at Caulfield.
The stable have been so strong with youngsters in recent months, having won the Magic Millions 2YO Classic with AWAY GAME, CELLSABEEL is ‘flying’, and now they are eying off the Diamond.
Away Game looks to have maintained her form on track, but I reckon MUNTASEERA is still a big hope in the race. For mine there will be a fair bit of fitness improvement to come following her Prelude run.
Ciaron Maher, picture Sportpix.com.au
POSSIBLE MAHER/EUSTACE BLUE DIAMOND RUNNERS
A Beautiful Night ,Away Game, Ideas Man, Rathlin, Tanker,Muntaseera
Check out the latest TAB Blue Diamond market here
TALENT HEATING UP FOR THE HOBARTVILLE
The Hobartville Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday is shaping as a cracker with a number of promising three-year-olds turning out.
The John Sargent-trained BRANDENBURG is one that I’m looking forward to seeing again following his performances in the Spring. Straight off a Maiden win in October, Sargent put Brandenburg into the Stan Fox where he was a gallant second and was runner-up again in the Carbine Club at Flemington.
Talking to Sargent on Sky Sports Radio, he sounded as though Brandenburg may be ready for a lucrative Autumn campaign.
Throw in Prince Fawaz, CASTELVECCHIO, MICROPHONE, KUBRICK, SHADOW HERO, BOTTEGA, FORTRESS COMMAND and the Anthony Freedman-trained WARNING and we have a very intriguing clash this weekend.
Check out the latest Hobartville Stakes TAB market here
ENGLISH MAKING A DART FOR THE CHAMPIONSHIPS
Great news that Sydney’s Championships will have runners from England, with trainer William Haggas telling Sky Sports Radio that two horses are in quarantine for the trip ‘down under’.
ADDEYBB hasn’t been seen since he won on the first day of Royal Ascot last year, defeating the well travelled MAGIC WAND. Haggas has been waiting for the right horse that can handle wet tracks to bring to Sydney and he feels Addeybb is that horse.
The Ranvet and Queen Elizabeth are the two races Addeybb will contest.
YOUNG RASCAL is more than a travelling companion going by his UK record. Haggas has been itching to get Young Rascal up in trip and the timing is right to head towards the Sydney Cup.
It’s a big ask to travel horses such a long way, but worth the effort with the lucrative prizemoney on offer and they will certainly add a point of difference.
ON THE ROAD FOR THE COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS
I’m looking forward to broadcasting from Albury on Friday via Sky Sports Radio to bring you the latest on the Country Championships qualifiers in NSW.
Andrew Bensley can be heard on Sky Sports Radio, Tuesday to Friday mornings from 9am with all the breaking carnival news, plus Saturday mornings from 6.30am on Racing HQ.
Stay in touch around the clock via social media @skyracingau and @AndrewBensley
Sky Racing's Andrew Bensley