Worth a second look...

Local racing fans are being treated to some outstanding Saturday programs in Melbourne and Sydney, chockfull of depth and quality. Almost each and every race these days is responsible for a horse to follow for the coming weeks — especially last weekend’s Caulfield nine race feast. In no particular order, here’s half-a-dozen runners that caught the eye from another top Victorian meeting:-

Everybody must have seen the performance of I’M THUNDERSTRUCK (NZ) (3rd Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes-G1) in Saturday’s feature event at Caulfield and how this untapped talent virtually picked himself off the floor before claiming the minor placing.

Well, that’s only half the story.

The 4-year-old son of Melbourne Cup winner Shocking was ridden cold at the tail of the field after jumping from barrier 16 (of 16 starters), yet still got within a half-length of winning the hugely competitive Group 1 handicap at just his seventh career outing.

When one also takes into consideration four very good victories on Good-to-Heavy ground over 1200-to-1500m, there can be no doubt that I’m Thunderstruck will soon be making amends for Saturday’s unlucky effort in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes and that he’s very capable of landing a contest of equal standing this spring.

FORBES (4th Pinchapoo Plate) didn’t trouble the first three home in his 1000m return to racing but did more than enough in the closing stages of the dash to indicate that this very expensive son of Capitalist will be winning sooner rather than later.

Picked-up for $750,000 as a yearling, Forbes went into Saturday’s race first-up since February when debuting in a Canterbury Park 2YO Maiden in which he went to post a $1.85 odds-on favourite but was beaten out of sight.

Trained by Anthony & Sam Freedman, this very lightly-raced 3-year-old boasts the physique of a seriously good horse — as his purchase price clear suggests — and should be placed to great advantage by one of the shrewdest stables in the country.

Godolphin's Heresy might appreciate a drop back in distance, picture Racing Photos

HERESY (2nd Off The Track Community TG Prelude) got swamped late in the Thousand Guineas trial over 1400 meres and might have just revealed a vulnerability at the distance.

A 3-year-old daughter of Street Boss (USA) raced in the Godolphin livery, this striking chestnut is a mirror image of her dam Montsegur, a two-time winner as a 2-year-old — including the Group 3 TBV Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) — that fundamentally failed to train-on at three.

The manner of Heresy’s effort, when caught late by Bon’s a Pearla, could well see her revert back to 1200 metres and afforded the chance to emulate her dam down the straight-six furlongs of Flemington.

PORT GUILLAUME (Fr) (6th Catanach’s Jewellers MRC Foundation Cup-G3) turned in a much improved performance behind Nonconformist without ever looking likely to take part in the finish.

A highly-regarded import having just the second start of his spring campaign, Port Guillaume (Fr) didn’t show too much of his very notable French form when 13th of 13 in the Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley at his very first public appearance in this neck of the woods, but now looks to be heading in the right direction based on his latest effort.

Any horse that can win a Group 2 Prix Hocquart (2500m) as a French-trained 3-year-old warrants respect no matter where he surfaces in the thoroughbred world and although the quality son of star sire Le Havre still looks a race or two away from saluting, keep him safe as we head deeper into the Melbourne spring carnival.

BELLA NIPOTINA won Saturday’s Group 3 Neds How Now Stakes (1200m) like a smart racemare and could well be hitting her straps at just the right time of her relatively exposed career.

A very consistent performer throughout her respective 2-year-old and 3-year-old season, the daughter of Pride of Dubai very much put her best foot forward in winning the How Now Stakes and with a fair bit in hand thanks to an uber-patient ride by Craig Williams.

Bella Nipotina has now won two of her past three starts since being transferred to the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace stable and has at least another black-type win in store based on the evidence of Saturday’s impressive victory.

DON'TTELLTHEBOSS (5th 4CYTE for Living Legends Hcp) was a winner on a Soft 7 over 1400m at Flemington during the winter months and has been a consistent performer since, running another respectable race behind Annavisto last Saturday.

Trained by Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock at Cranbourne, the 5-year-old daughter of Street Boss (USA) keeps ‘turning up’ in mares events and while she’ll continue to find the class of opposition getting tougher by the week, she’s been finishing within a couple of lengths of some smart rivals.

There was a clear indication with her performance last weekend that Don’ttelltheboss is looking for a bigger circuit, a rain affected surface, and quite possibly a slightly longer distance judging by the way she finished off the assignment. Consequently, an engagement at Sandown or Flemington in the coming weeks could well see her enhance a highly consistent record.

If you only follow one horse out Randwick’s meeting in Sydney last Saturday, then make sure you keep tabs on the recent Irish import NUMERIAN (Ire) (7th Bill Ritchie Handicap-G3).

Having his first start for the Annabel Neasham stable, the lightly-raced 6-year-old took part a contest which was always going to prove short of his optimum trip and very likely to see him doing his best work at the finish. And that’s exactly how the gelding’s debut Down Under assignment panned out, Numerian only getting warm over the closing stages.

The fact that this newcomer to the Sydney racing season got within two lengths of winning a genuine Group 3 contest on debut was hugely encouraging and there’s a good race in this son of Holy Roman Empire in the coming weeks. 

A Listed Race winner over 2000 metres on a Heavy track in Ireland defeating Sir Dragonet, Numerian is to be respected in any middle-distance target he’s set.