Another week of winter racing in Sydney where once again the performance of the city’s premier track was of a greater focal point than that of the cattle grazing upon it.
In a breezy week with minimal rainfall and dewless mornings, back-ended by day-time temperatures in the mid-twenties, even our southern state rival, in the grasp of a winter so bitter they’ve been unable to shake free from the clutches of the deadly COVID-19 virus, were able to race on a surface back in the slow range. So why Royal Randwick was still a heavy 9 race morning is anyone’s guess. And as the day unfolded the question as to why you needed to be on pace, no better than one off the fence and were unable to make ground, also reared its ugly head.
All questions RNSW and ATC officialdom have again failed to publicly address, most likely because they don’t know the answers to them. Nonetheless, it makes my job a heck of a lot easier with anything making ground down the middle of the track getting pencilled straight in the black book for those sunny days ahead.
Travest: (Syd Race 1) He might not have cashed the cheque for his supporters Saturday, but there’s little doubt he was the run of the day. In a fortnight where handling charges and hoops having a bet have been a hot topics in Sydney racing, it came as no surprise that this ride featured heavily, covering almost half a page, in the stewards report. What may shock some though is the fact that a senior rider like Tommy Berry walked away without so much as a formal reprimand for his riding effort. Then again given James MacDonald, who was effectively found guilty of giving one a run, had his sentence reduced to just one week upon appeal, well perhaps we shouldn’t be at all shocked. Travest made up a stack of ground against the pattern after settling ridiculously far back in a section of the track where few others did in the remaining 8 races. Only lightly raced, he is sure to be hard to beat 3rd up at 1400m once connections find a suitable race.
Tallieur: (Syd Race 3) Put plenty on notice with her trial performance splitting subsequent winners Varda and Roheryn. But this was gutsy and highly credible nonetheless. Had to spot her more experienced rival Switched a decent start once they balanced up but she knuckled down gamely belying her lack of race experience on a track where making up ground proved tricky all day. Set for a big future.
Spaceboy: (Syd Race 5) Somewhat maligned sprinter after going down at some skinny quotes on the back of impressive trials; however the penny certainly seems to have dropped now with dominant back-to-back wins, and his first in Saturday metropolitan company. Great to see Kathy O’Hara making the most of her opportunities back in the city riding ranks, she’s three from three on his back so certainly holds the key to him. Plenty of options going forward, he’s still down in the ratings and you know he handles all going. You would think another win this prep beckons.
Switched: (Syd Race 3) Made the most of the good draw, led, then kicked strongly into straight. Just took what appears to be a rather handy one to run her down which you normally wouldn’t expect to find in that kind of race at this time of year. 5L margin to third horse tells you another win is not far away.
Threeood: (Syd Race 7) Whether connections felt they had a point to prove after a fortnight of controversy surrounding the horse, or whether they simply made the sensible decision to ride to the well established track pattern come race 7 I can’t really say. But hers was a gutsy effort no less. Had to do a bit of work to land outside the lead from barrier 11 against her normal pattern. She looked gone a couple of times down the running but a testament to her quality she fought right to the wire to hold down 2nd place. Has been up since early March and done most of her racing on heavy tracks of late but is showing no signs of shirking the task.
Outback Diva: (Syd Race 7) Out of the same race. Drifted back just worse than midfield settling after failing to obtain an early position. Never better than three deep the trip and forced to make a run in the worst part of the track. This was one of the better runs of the day. Left with too much to do against the pattern turning for home, she was entitled to drop out after covering plenty of ground but instead attacked the line with vigour closing strongly late. Three runs under her belt she is sure to be at the peak of her game 4th up and is one I want to be on.
Bad Boy For Love: (Syd Race 2) A while between drinks for this regular Highway visitor. Started single figure odds his past three trips to town and failed to crack a win. Presented to win albeit in an inferior section of track Saturday but was entitled to run top 3 if not in the quinella but didn’t look too keen on the idea.
Lashes: (Syd Race 5) Not the horse we saw first up. Personally, I’d rather see her going up in trip, not coming back, but not running on the same legs we have seen in the past.
Superium: (Syd Race 5) Needs a reset. Possibly a trip north to find a dry track.