The News Desk


Weighing In

Form guru PAUL JOICE assesses the Sydney Saturday meeting and looks ahead to the big Spring events.


FARNAN flopped, ROTHFIRE burned, MO’UNGA was electric and a new TAB Everest contender burst onto the scene after an action-packed program from Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.


YONKERS – Settled last in a slowly run race which was dominated by on-pace runners. Made plenty of headway inside the final 200m and his run was much better than it will read in the formguide. Looking for 2000m next start.
HILO – Just missed when resuming behind FITEUSE. Settled last with James McDonald riding for luck in the straight. Found a late split and dived hard. Certain to improve with the run so can be followed with confidence into this campaign.
HAUT BRION HER – Amazing first-up win. Had to do a stack of early work, absorb immense pressure yet still managed to kick clear in the straight to win in race record time. Did I mention she was first-up off an 11-month spell! Chris Waller has some options with this mare and TAB Everest slot-holders should be interested.


FARNAN – “You have to forgive him” were the words Bowman used post-race when talking to co-trainer Adrian Bott. Simply raced too fresh first-up from a wide gate. I’ll go with Hughie on this one.
MASKED CRUSADER – Four wide the trip, gave chase a long way from home and only beaten one length into third behind Fituese and Hilo. No compensation for those on at the $1.95 but certainly a forgive run.
ETHERIDGE – The outside gate worked against John Thompson’s five-year-old mare. Intent backfired with an early rush for position, Rachel King rightly waiting until mid-race to make a move when the pace slowed. But the frontrunning role was foreign for a mare used to chasing and despite fighting hard will be much better next time ridden with cover.


ROTHFIRE – Silenced any doubters with a scintillating win in the Run to the Rose. Broke MENARI’s race record so the clock matched what the eyes were telling us. Bring on the TAB Everest – the Queenslander has a slot and is locked and loaded.
FARNAN – Earned a spot in the ‘Please Forgive Me’ file. Looked half a run short in the parade then raced too fresh from a wide gate. Had to knock up late but a fifth in the formguide won’t look enticing for slot-holders. Jury is out.
DOUBTLAND – Winning races at this time of year can only be a good thing and this Team Hawkes-trained three-year-old burst through to take out the G2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington. The win should erase any doubts after a first-up defeat in a furiously run San Domenico.
HAUT BRION HER – There is no better way to stamp a claim for the TAB Everest than winning races and Chris Waller’s five-year-old mare was unbelievably tough in taking out the Sheraco Stakes first-up. Yet to finish further back than second from nine starts. Her stats are looking good.
ALLIGATOR BLOOD – Whilst 1110m was too short and David Vandyke’s four-year-old closed off strongly, finishing third in an Open Handicap at Doomben is unlikely to catch the eye of any slot-holders weighing up where to invest their $600,000.
TOFANE – The jury is out on Mike Moroney’s five-year-old mare after resuming in the G3 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) at Flemington. Went down narrowly and sure to improve but we’re down to the pointy end now and those runners on the fringe need to be putting their name up in lights.
FASIKA – Joe Pride’s mare was always going to be a gamble for slot-holders. Had shown glimpses of genuine G1 ability and her TAB Everest credentials were on the line first-up in the Sheraco. Appeared to have her chance yet finished unplaced. Can’t see her lining-up for the big dance off that run.

Rothfire blazes a trail in The Run To The Rose, picture


1 - WINX scored a thrilling last stride victory in the 2015 Theo Marks Stakes. It was the third win in a streak which would extend to 33 before her retirement in April 2019. Which jockey rode Winx in that Theo Marks victory? Which horse ran second?
2 - Josh Parr didn’t have a ride in this year’s edition of the Run to the Rose but had ridden three of the previous six winners. Can you name them?
Answers below.


VERRY ELLEEGANT (James McDonald) and IMAGING (Kerrin McEvoy) galloped between races on Saturday. Verry Elleegant clocked 35.03 seconds for her final 600m and was doing her best work through the line. Imaging went faster for the final 600m, clocking 34.73 seconds.
The Waller pair looked in stunning condition.


MO’UNGA firmed from $6 into $2.80 for the Spring Champion Stakes.
MO’UNGA firmed from $26 into $11 for the Golden Rose.
MO’UNGA firmed from $15 into $6 for the Victoria Derby.
ROTHFIRE firmed from $7 into $2.80 for the Golden Rose.
FARNAN drifted from $3.50 to $6 for the Golden Rose.
MAMARAGAN drifted from $8 to $15 for the Golden Rose.
ROTHFIRE firmed from $11 into $8 for the TAB Everest.
WILD PLANET firmed from $51 into $15 for the TAB Epsom.
FIERCE IMPACT firmed from $26 into $13 for the Cox Plate.

Check out all the TAB Futures markets here.


Racing NSW Stewards grilled Hugh Bowman over his handling of Farnan in the Run to the Rose. Bowman explained to stewards that once he made the “instinctive decision” to lead Rothfire, the horse raced too fresh and from that point onwards he was a “passenger’’. 


The Rosehill course was upgraded from a Soft 5 to a Good 4 after Race 2. The rail was out 6m and raced fairly.


The G1 George Main Stakes (1600m) is the highlight at Randwick next Saturday. Chris Waller is considering a four-pronged attack with Verry Elleegant, Imaging, STAR OF THE SEAS and KOLDING. The G2 Shorts (1100m) will act as an audition for several TAB Everest contenders whilst the G2 Darley Tea Rose Stakes (1400m), the G3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) and G3 Kingstown Town Stakes (2000m) round out an outstanding program at headquarters.


1 - James McDonald and Sons Of John
2 – Hallowed Crown (2014), Menari (2017), Bivouac (2019)

Paul Joice can be seen on Sky Thoroughbred Central and the Sky Racing Active app throughout the week. Catch Paul on Tuesday Formline Extra, metropolitan racing Wednesday, Formline and Blackbookers on Thursday’s, with all of his tips available via the Sky Racing website and the TAB App.