RACE OF THE DAY
The Hollindale Stakes was expected to be a benefit for Zaaki given he was by far the best credentialed horse in the field, and was jumping at $1.55 accordingly.
Things didn’t go according to plan out of the barriers though. Zaaki had drawn a sticky alley, and James McDonald pushed forward as the horse likes to do. There were a handful of horses on his inside that were keen to do the same, which meant he was caught four wide all the way around the first bend.
He eventually settled outside the leader, despised outsider Kolding, but the early work meant that he was softened up and could be vulnerable.
McDonald asked the question of Zaaki at the top of the straight, and while he’s never been a horse that lets down tremendously, he was only ever going to be grinding this one out.
The in-form Zeyrek had been stalking Zaaki and made his challenge on the outside, while last year’s Doomben Cup winner Huetor was sneaking up on the inside to make his move. Annabel Neasham’s star galloper had to dig into his reserves over the final furlong to hold them off, and did so.
WIN OF THE DAY
There were 37 races at the four main metropolitan tracks on Saturday, and there was no bigger win than Globe by four lengths in the King’s Coronation Cup at Sandown. 13 of those 37 were black type races, and Globe’s race wasn’t, but it was still a benchmark 100 with a couple of Group winners in the field among some other handy types.
Globe’s four length win could have honestly been double that. For the second race in a row, he was eased down to a walk with 75m to go despite racing waywardly in the straight. He’s now unbeaten after four races, with a combined winning margin of near on 14 lengths.
The beauty of Globe, and this is true of most top-liners, is that he absolutely pings out of the gates. He often jumps a length in front, and it just gives the jockey so many options. If drawn inside, it means he won’t get cluttered up. If drawn outside, he can either cruise across to the lead if there’s a nice run to the first bend, or is in a position to rush across if he needs to.
As a natural on-pacer, he will remove bad luck from the equation which is so important when looking to progress through to reach greater heights. His sire was a European miler, but there is some stoutness on the dam side. The question will be whether he can he get all the way to the 2400m of a Caulfield Cup, or is 1600m-2000m going to be his distance.
RIDE OF THE DAY
John Allen is having a great time of things. Riding high after taking out the Australasian Oaks a week earlier, the Robert Sangster Stakes was the only current South Australian Group 1 he had yet to win.
After the Oaks, he rode a double at Bendigo on Sunday before riding four winners at the Warrnambool carnival, and accepted the Sangster ride on filly Ruthless Dame.
As highlighted in Roar Racing’s exclusive Stable Mail, the Maher/Eustance camp had said “From barrier 12, we’ll look to be positive from the gates and sit behind the speed.”
But this is why the best jockeys are the best jockeys – Ruthless Dame had jumped well enough for Allen to carry out the stable’s instructions, but there was too many horses with the same idea in the early stages, and he was likely to be posted wide. Instead, he took his medicine, settled back and ensured his filly was in a good rhythm.
Allen found the back of Roch’N’Horse, the dual Group 1 winning mare, and let the Mike Moroney galloper take him into the race until he needed to make a move, and Ruthless Dame did the rest.
Favourite punters copped a few whacks on Saturday, with some significant shorties getting rolled.
Cap De Joie should be losing friends fast after her unplaced effort when jumping a well-backed favourite at Sandown. She started at $1.95 but never threatened, and this followed on from losing efforts at $1.45, $2.80, $1.95 and $3.90 at four of her five previous starts, with one win mixed in.
Only two favourites won at Morphettville, and none after Race 3. Five horses that had their price starting with a “2” got rolled on the day, plus the well fancied Bella Nipotina in the Sangster. It was a shifting track there on Saturday, and while not quite into the heavy, some horses looked like they weren’t comfortable in the ground.
Up at Gosford, Clemenceau was sensationally backed in the lead-up to the Takeover Target Stakes, from $3.90 into $2.90 on official fluctuations, having been even longer earlier in the week. He also never threatened and now has one win from his last seven starts, and also failed to get the job done at prices of $4.80, $2.70, $2.05, $3 and $1.60 in that run.
We’ve already touched on Zaaki and Globe, who both would have been the anchor for plenty of multi’s around the country.
Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr have been patient with Gunstock due to the Tavistock gelding’s soundness issues. Despite debuting at two, the four-year-old was only having his eighth career start on Saturday, and third this season. He won the Coongy in the spring and took out Race 8 as rock-solid favourite at Sandown first-up over 1600m. Could the Caulfield Cup be on his radar?
Yellow Brick is enhancing his reputation every time he steps onto the racetrack. Despite winning six of eight career starts, including the Gold Coast Guineas up at the Sunshine Coast on the weekend, he’s started in the black in all of them. Onward and upward for this exciting prospect, who is on a Stradbroke path, with a Golden Eagle tilt awaiting in the spring.