Review – Launceston, Wednesday 12 April

14 / 04 / 2017 Article by: Hannah Jenkins
O'Lonh Star (outside) gets up to defeat Apriano in a class 5 handicap over 1220m in Launceston last night. icon Click to enlarge

The final night racing meeting of the season took place in Launceston on Wednesday on a Soft 5 track that raced very fairly in the 9m position. Adam Trinder took the training honours with a double to continue his recent resurgence, while Troy Baker and Stephanie Thornton rode two winners apiece to be the leading riders on the night.

Race 1 6:15pm Sofitel Melbourne 3yo Maiden (1100m)

Race 1 6:15pm Tasmanian St Leger May 21st Maiden (1220m)

Glory Blaze took up the running here with Mystic Molly ridden more forward to sit 2nd. The pace was genuine early before they slowed up down the side. This contributed to a plain overall time.

Majestic Bow had good support at his first run for Adam Trinder ($5.50 to $4) and sprinted home too well for his rivals off a gun ride from Darmanin. After settling midfield he was able to improve though the middle down the side and when he bullocked into the clear on turning he produced the 2nd fastest last 400m and the fastest last 200m of the night to score by a length. This doesn’t look an overly strong maiden on paper but he produced the sectionals to suggest he can be immediately competitive in C1 grade.

Sorturo was first-up in this and unwanted in betting ($17 to $51) but was able to take up a forward position and kept working to the line to grab 2nd, ahead of the well-backed leader Glory Blaze ($4.60 to $3.25) who probably wants a bit further now. Bailee’s Moshe ($23 to $7.50) caught the eye late, recording the 3rd fastest last 200m of the night, while the big drifter in betting I Feel Love ($2.15 to $3.60) settled a bit further back this time covering ground and never threatened.

Race 2 6:50pm Luxbet Maiden/Class 1 (2130m)

Belmont worked around the field to take up the running at a good clip with Gee Gee Mistachips up 2nd. The tempo started to drop off down the side which saw the two favourites Matiano and Eastender take off from the back and hit the front on straightening. The overall time was very good, especially for this class, with the first two home clearly a class above the rest.

Eastender was very easy in betting ($1.65 to $2.35) but went much more like his opening price suggested he would, tracking Matiano down the side before being too strong in the run home. He travelled last in the run until he made his move but the tempo suited and despite the strong tempo he was still able to run some of the fastest sectionals of the night – the 5th fastest last 800m, 600m and 400m, as well as the 2nd fastest last 200m split. To finish off his race that strongly as a 3yo in only his 6th run points to a very promising career as a genuine stayer and he can be immediately competitive in benchmark grade if they push on.

Matiano ($2.50 to $2.20) ran a very good race himself to run 2nd but once again he found one better – or more determined – than him. Clearly he will remain very competitive over any distance he tackles in this grade but he needs to learn how to win. New Release was 3rd but beaten over 10L, while Akbar Jay found some trouble down the side and wasn’t hopeless running home into 4th. Obviously the first two are the ones to take from this.

Race 3 7:25pm Northern Hunt Club Benchmark 62 Handicap (1620m)

Flash Missile took up the running ahead of Mystic Spirit here in a race run at an extremely slow tempo for the first half of the race. This turned it into basically an 800m sprint home so no surprise the placegetters recorded the 3 fastest last 800m splits of the night. The overall time was slow as you would expect off that tempo.

Flash Missile ($3 to $3.40) was under heavy pressure on the turn but was able to fight on and stick her nose out at the finish to score by the narrowest of margins. She controlled the race from the front but Baker may have erred in going as slow as he did with the cruising speed she seems to possess. Hard to be too critical of a winning ride however, but it did reveal the filly’s will to win and she looks to have a nice future ahead of her.

Mystic Spirit had every chance sitting out the leader and did look the winner at the 200m but the leader just fought back to nose her out. Vallegrande ran the fastest last 800m of the night but his last 200m was a bit soft, suggesting this run will have topped him off for another mile next time, while Strathalbyn over raced and didn’t finish off as a result.

Race 4 8:00pm Marshall Batteries Class 5 Handicap (1220m)

Nielson went very quickly early to lead O’Lonh Star with Apriano taking the trail behind the leader. The pressure stayed on throughout which made it hard for those back in the field to get into the race. The overall time was quite plain considering the fast tempo so they may have gone faster than ideal.

O’Lonh Star was firm in betting to start favourite ($3.30 to $2.80) and somehow prevailed by a nose in a deceiving photo finish. He was suited racing outside the leader as it enabled Pires to get into him a long way from home, as his strength is his major attribute more so than a turn of foot. Apriano clearly headed him when he got the run underneath him on turning but O’Lonh Star stuck at his work admirably to pick him up right on the line. With a great strike rate of 5 wins from 9 starts, he is clearly a horse of above average ability and looks like he will be even better suited dominating from the front over a slightly longer trip.

Apriano was given a peach of a ride by Darmanin, getting the gap underneath the eventual winner on the turn, but just couldn’t hold him off late. Lazy Democracy was the best of the backmarkers, running home into 3rd ahead of the tiring Nielson who potentially went too quickly this time around.

Race 5 8:30pm Seniors Festival Raceday In June Class 1 Handicap (1220m)

This race changed shape very quickly when likely leader Can’t Decide bombed the start and it was noted backmarker Mariah’s Magic who begun well and was able to find the lead without doing much work at all. She was allowed to run along at a soft tempo which resulted in a sprint home and a slow overall time.

Mariah’s Magic has become known for producing a big finish so when she pinged the lids and found herself in front she was always going to take a stack of running down. She was held together by Thornton and it was this ability to travel comfortably which didn’t dampen her usual finish. When she was able to produce that from in front she understandably put a gap in her rivals to notch up her first win in a long time. She has shown herself to be competitive with the best in her age so if she can start settling closer in her races she may take the next step.

Pop A Lefty sat 2nd in the run and while she was no match for the winner she ran her usual honest race in her first go in this grade, nosing out Gee Gees Cool Gal who worked to the line like she always does. Gemini had her supporters but raced wide throughout which put a dent in her chances, while the other fancy Gee Gees Free Hero was unfortunately euthanised after being found with a fracture to a femur post-race.

Race 6 9:00pm Relay For Life Benchmark 72 Handicap (1420m)

Dangerpet came out looking for the lead from his wide draw but O’Reillys Geegee kicked up from the inside to hold the front. They ran along at a good clip early before taking the foot off the gas down the side, which turned the race into a bit of a sprint home. The overall time was quite good considering.

Harvey Bay was sent out a clear $2.50 favourite and he won by a convincing margin. Thornton had him travelling behind the leader back on the inside and when the field were happy to come away from the fence on turning she took the gap and he put the race to bed within 200m. The turn of foot he showed to race away was a cut above the rest and his sectionals from the 800m home were the 6th fastest of the night. He still looks to have another win in this grade in him before he will be weighted out and that may come sooner rather than later the way he is going.

Steel Brom enjoyed a good trail outside Harvey Bay but where that horse went along the fence, she had to come around the leaders on turning and while she ran a solid 2nd she never looked like picking up the leader. Lord Farquaad ran top 10 sectionals from the 800m to get into 3rd, nosing out Dangerpet.

Race 7 9:30pm Sky/ATA Trainer’s Trust Class 2 Handicap (1420m)

Loose In Vegas found the lead comfortably again with Millmount sitting outside her this time, rather than trailing like he did last time. They led at a steady tempo but the overall time was slow and the field bunched at the finish, raising doubts over the strength of this form.

Millmount ($3.80) appreciated being able to put the pressure on Loose In Vegas a bit earlier this time and he was too strong at the finish. He was also able to hold off the late run of Qui Samer so while he enjoyed a good run, there was still plenty of merit to the win. His ability to race near the lead holds him in good stead and he is still eligible to win again in this grade so he should remain most competitive in the near future.

Qui Samer ($7 to $4.80) showed his last run was no fluke with another big performance from last but the winner had things too easily up front to be run down. Princess Atilla was in a similar boat – she is ticking over nicely and is hitting her peak. Favourite Loose In Vegas looked to have every possible chance but she may be ready for the paddock after doing a good job this prep.

Race 8 10:00pm Cancer Council Tasmania Benchmark 72 Handicap (2130m)

In stark contrast to the other 2130m race on the program, this was run at a very slow tempo with Hyperbole able to dictate in the small field. This turned the race into a sprint home, with the overall time some 20 lengths slower than Eastender. The form out of this race may be misleading as it wasn’t the staying test you will usually find over this trip.

Son Of Faith ($4 to $4.80) was able to sit outside the leader and travelled pretty kindly in the run before completely out-sprinting his rivals to record a dominant win. He was able to reel off clearly the fastest last 600m of the race, and was still extremely strong finding the line, running the 5th fastest last 200m of the night. With better form over shorter trips he was very well suited by the lack of tempo but his strong last 200m was still a good sign for being able to run this trip off a faster speed.

Divine Denona was a very firm $2.05 favourite but she couldn’t match the sprint of the winner. She is a strong but one-paced stayer so Son Of Faith was able to put two lengths on her approaching the turn and that proved to be the difference. The other three finished together behind them and never really threatened at any stage.