Racing on Sunday was in Hobart, with a 7 race card affected by consistent rain through the earlier part of the day which saw the track downgraded from a Good 4 to a Soft 6. Horses racing on the outside section of the track were generally advantaged, although nearer the inside appeared to improve later in the day when the rain had stopped. Scott Brunton dominated on his home track again with a winning treble, as did David Pires who extended his lead in the jockeys’ premiership with a treble of his own.
Race 1 1:33pm Spendthrift Australia 2yo Maiden (1100m)
Uber Ed picked up after an average getaway to lead clearly here down the back ahead of the stablemate Miss Smith. The early speed was quite good but the 2yos got quite tired on the testing track and the overall time was plain.
Uber Ed was the subject of a big betting move ($2.90 to $1.50) and was never in any danger with Pires leading them around the outside section of the track in typical style. He jumped awkwardly and tended to race greenly throughout but was still good enough to win by over two lengths. The standard of this race was only fair and the time reflected that but the winner is a strong type of galloper who looks to have a nice future and was a class above.
Gee Gees Can Tell got to the outside fence in the straight and got up on the line to run
2nd just ahead of the stablemate Gee Gees Liberty, with both running solid races once again. Iron Thone was a promising run, finding the line nicely to run 4th, just ahead of Miss Smith who was always closest to the inside rail and Catania was fined $300 for sitting up on her late.
Race 2 2:08pm Rogerson & Birch Surveyors Maiden (1100m)
Son Of A Fling pushed through from his inside draw to hold the lead ahead of West On Broadway, with Miss Karrats settling on their hammer out widest down the back. The two leaders came away to fight it out in the straight, running four lengths faster than the previous.
Son Of A Fling ($1.60 to $1.90 back to $1.70) made it two odds-on favourites in a row with a gutsy win here. He had to work from the inside barrier to lead and get wide down the back and then was able to hold off West On Broadway despite that horse getting to the right part of the track in the straight. By Grey Swallow, he looked to appreciate the softer ground and his early speed gives him his chance more often than not. This win was enough to be competitive going into C1 grade but he looks an improving type rather than one who is going to race through his grades.
West On Broadway resumed here but was very well supported ($4.60 to $3.10). He was given every chance by Catania racing outside the eventual winner but couldn’t pick him up over the concluding stages despite running home in the 6th fastest last 200m of the meeting. Nahla was a few lengths behind in 3rd in a solid run at her first Tasmanian start, and she beat the rest home comfortably.
Race 3 2:43pm Tassie Instant Marquees Maiden (1400m)
Weekend Whisky led in a bunch here with Zipponet and Blushing Pink at what was a slowish tempo at the time. The overall time was quite slow but that was impacted by the slow first section.
Weekend Whisky was sent out a strong $2.30 favourite and relished the addition of blinkers to dominate the race from the front. He enjoyed a good run with the leaders before opening right up around the bend to straighten up lengths in front and he was never ever going to get run down. He ran no time and had every possible chance in the right part of the track so some caution with this win is probably advised but he has done a great job this prep and looks a horse with a future.
Striking Prospect is a horse who has really come on of late and his effort here was very good, finishing off in the 7th fastest last 200m of the day to get into 2nd place. He looks primed to win once he gets out to the mile. Geegee Blackprince took on the older horses for the first time and ran a reasonable race in 3rd and will be better with that run under his belt. Not much to say for the rest here and the first three across the line are definitely the ones to follow out of the race.
Cyclone Jess and Schillie Billie set a strong tempo here, which resulted in a fast overall time which was as much as 13 lengths faster than the previous race.
Col’s Hero was well supported ($5.50 to $4.20) and perfectly ridden by Anthony Darmanin, who let the speed all unfold in front of him before improving into the race around the turn and running home his last 600m 6 lengths faster than anything else in the race. This was Yassy Nishitani’s first winner as a trainer, with a horse who has been racing extremely consistently but hadn’t won since November 2014 when in the care of Tegan Keys. He can remain in BM62 grade after this win without being too harshly weighted so there is no reason another win isn’t around the corner in a similar race, especially with this fast-run race to build from.
Little Elsa disappointed last time but bounced back here to run a strong 2nd with Baker negotiating the turn well to get to the outside fence in the straight. Schillie Billie battled away ok in 3rd but again raced like she will be better when she gets some cover, while Speckie worked home behind them to grab 4th from the early leader Cyclone Jess who may have found this trip a bit far going around the outside of the track at a good clip.
Race 5 3:59pm Raine & Horne Class 3 Handicap (1600m)
Streak On led clearly here and set a pretty decent tempo which gave all runners their chance. The overall time was decent enough in the soft conditions.
Follow My Dust was another one the punters got right here, firming from as high as $4.80 to start $3.20. He hadn’t won since October 2015 but has continually shown up in better races, and his fitness after two runs over 2100m looked a key here as he hit the line full of running where most were battling to the line. It was a well-judged ride by Thornton who simply maintained his momentum around the turn before angling him into the right ground in the straight. He looks to have matured now at these longer trips and can continue to race consistently in benchmark grade.
Streak On enjoyed being able to lead by herself and gave a good sight here at longer odds, beating all but the winner comfortably. Island Tiger was big odds after doing little so far this prep but relishes these conditions and ran alright nearer the inside to grab 3rd, ahead of the heavily backed Geegees Lillybet ($17 to $6). Shiralee may have needed the run being second-up at the mile, while the $2.60 favourite Vodianova didn’t finish her race off at all and Brunton advised stewards she may be suffering the effects of a lengthy capaign.
This race changed complexion at the start when the likely leader Galeocerdo missed it a couple of lengths but Tough Missile and Teriki set a strong tempo up front. With many of these able to run home in the best late sectionals of the day, the overall time was very good considering the conditions.
Step The Pedal was another winner firm in the market, starting $3.10 after being as big as $3.60 earlier in betting. Obviously the soft conditions were right up her alley, but it did take a great Pires ride for her to get the money. He was very aggressive on her early to make she didn’t drift too far back early, and then cut the corner on the turn to get to the outside part of the track. Potentially going through the inferior ground on the turn didn’t matter too much for this mare who is adept at handling wet ground, and she ran home in the fastest last 800m, 600m and 400m splits of the meeting. Her 4th in the Vamos earlier this prep showed she is up there with the best mares in the state so as the tracks get wetter she will continue to be hard to beat.
Teriki gave a great sight up front and was well ridden by McCoull, using her speed to get to the outside of the track but she was just run down by a better one on the day. The 2yo Gee Gee Lanett did a great job to keep finding the line to grab 3rd in front of Gee Gee Double Dee ($2.65 favourite) who had her chance but with her short sprint she doesn’t look as suited on these testing tracks. Galeocerdo had no hope after missing the start but actually found the line really well, recording the 2nd fastest last 800m of the day so she may be an improver next time back in her favourite role in front.
Mel Loves Vodka found the lead quite comfortably here and controlled a steady tempo, which resulted in fast late sectionals and made it hard for those back in the field. The overall time was only plain but that reflected the tempo more than anything.
Mel Loves Vodka was totally unwanted in betting ($7 to $31) and hadn’t won since December 2015 but controlled the race in front and ran home too well for anything to pick her up. Saying she only won because of the soft lead wouldn’t do the win justice as she actually ran home in slick time, recording the 3rd fastest last 600m, 2nd fastest last 400m and 4th fastest last 200m of the day, so clearly the horses behind her had a big job on their hands to run her down. She appreciates soft ground and the 1000m trip so while the law of averages don’t support her winning again in quick succession she has gone well enough here to be competitive in a suitable C2.
A Choice Scotch ran a solid 2nd here after driving through to be near the lead after being a bit slow early. Whether she totally handles these conditions is still up in the air but this was a reasonable start to her prep. Punters didn’t want Frog In A Pond ($3.20 to $5) but he ran a really good race, making ground from back in the field to run into 3rd and his last 200m was the best of the day. The 2yo Gee Gees Queenie was heavily backed ($7 to $3.50) but had every chance and wasn’t good enough, while $3.10 favourite Christopher Mac was very firm but was always back off the speed and never challenged, with McCoull reporting he didn’t handle the soft conditions.