After all the splendour of the Autumn Carnival, Sydney race fans came crashing back down to earth with a a glorified midweek meeting at the Punter’s graveyard that is the Kenso circuit which looked about as enticing on Saturday morning as a walk in the park did when the ‘Polar Blast’ hit.
Whilst the race card might not have looked glamourous on paper, those who still chose to tune in were treated to an absolute riding masterclass from J.H. Bowman, back to his very best.
Bowman turned the usual inner circle track pattern on its head simply by using his head, riding his mounts with patience, poise and plenty of cover from the 40 km/h winds that plagued Sydney across the weekend.
A tricky video review to do with thin fields and a couple of winners flattered by Bowman’s brilliant riding whilst a few others were given no favours by a bunch of hoops Hughy made look second rate. But all told, we’ve rounded up a select few here that can get a quid in your pocket before the real Winter sets in.
Dirty Work: (Syd Race 5) The second of Bowman’s ‘five for’. He had his work cut out here drawing 10/11 but found the back of hard goer Burning Crown obtaining cover in the three deep running line slightly better than midfield. Eased out across that horse’s heels at the 300m, allowed his mount time to balance up before pushing the go button and rocketing clear over the final 100m. Winner of his last two now and has been thereabouts in stakes grade. Looks a progressive type heading into winter and ready for 1200m under a patient rider.
Hightail: (Syd Race 7) Things were really starting to get weird by this point. For consecutive races Bowman settled closer to last than first which is generally a no-no on the Kenso,and produced his mounts well into the straight which can often see the winner off and gone on this momentum type track. Winner of the Gosford Guineas, Hightail is just another promising juvenile from the Snowden yard whose bred for out and out speed (Written Tycoon out of a Falvelon mare) but has the racing pattern of a sprinter/miler which at this time of year smells of a QLD winter campaign which could see him sneak into a race like The Stradbroke Handicap down around the limit.
Phaistos: (Syd Race 8) Backed him first up, so I knew he was flying but I left him out of my quaddie numbers at the start of the day for the simple fact I could see no other option for Bowman but to drag him back last rendering it near impossible, under normal circumstances, for him to win on this track. Fair to say given the vain of form Bowman was in by now, I was very nervous for the life of my live ticket when they jumped in leg 3. Went from genius to mug in the bob of a head which saw Phaistos pip tough grinder Thy Kingdom Come who peaked 3rd up with MacDonald taking over from some less fashionable riders. Simply put Phaistos is flying. He heads to the Scone Cup Friday week, which is still run at Scone, a big roomy track with a long run home which he will thrive on.
L’Cosmo: (Syd Race 4) Held up for a run at the top of straight, by then then winner was already off and gone. Probably wasn’t enough to say she would have won the race but certainly had the rest covered easily. Set to peak third up and her first up 2nd to Dirty Work reads pretty good after Saturday.
Burning Crown: (Syd Race 5) Big bullocking type who drew sticky and got posted on a limb with a couple of pretenders kicking up inside him. Whilst he was keen in transit, I think we can forgive him for that given how things panned out and his manners are a vast improvement on where he was this time last preparation. Always been an enigmatic talent but think he has a town Saturday race in him for sure this time around.
California Salto: (Syd Race 9) Forget she ran. Just three winners from his last 50 rides, and none from his last 25, K. McEvoy having no trouble finding dead ends at the moment and he found more than a few here.
Amitto: (Syd Race 2) Found a soft target for her first look at town. Didn’t seem happy in transit and failed to make any real impression on what are a moderate bunch of Saturday horses. Time for the paddock maybe after a good campaign.
Cardiff: (Syd Race 5) Really did a job on Nash first up, which we rarely see, when they tried to ride him cute from a gun draw. He was up outside the lead Saturday facing a tough breeze but was entitled to give a bit more than he offered.
Sunlight: (Adel Race 8) The draw was awful, and the ride was beyond words but…she’s a three-time G1 winner back to set weights fillies and mares grade. She should have had panels on these. Sunlight was a precocious 2yo having her first run in December before taking out a Magic Millions, then going on to run a game 3rd in The Slipper. At just 4yo she has seldom missed having a crack at a feature race in every major carnival around the country. Disappointing in The Everest, then stretched straight to 1500m for the lucrative Golden Eagle, she was plain first up and put a shocker in on Saturday. Happy to say she hasn’t come up and might be a tired mare at this point in her career.