A quick glance at the screens on Saturday and one could easily have been mistaken for thinking Winter had arrived early.
Yet another rain soaked meeting in Melbourne, the first of no doubt many ‘Heavy’ tracks over the coming months in Sydney, and the most peculiar looking ‘Good 4’ at Eagle Farm under the guidance of former Flemington track man Mick Goodie.
With the racing focus shifting north over the coming weeks, and with consideration to some of the track visuals (not to mention the rides) coming out of RQL headquarters Saturday, one can’t help but be a little pessimistic as to our chances of coming out in front on the Spring side of the Brisbane Winter carnival but, fair weathered punters we are not.
So, we shall press on in earnest and do our level best to find you a winner or two here to help tide you over until we reach those blue skies promised ahead.
Victorem: (Bris Race 8) It’s amazing what a difference a fortnight makes. As well as a decent girth cover!! Change of rider, change of saddlery, and the old Victorem was back. A commanding performance which saw the very best of this enigmatic talent. 52.5kg in a Stradbroke? Yes please!
Peltzer: (Syd Race 1) If a win’s a win, then three wins from three starts must really be something. Especially if it’s your first three career starts. Produced a powerful finish from midfield to overpower Anders (subsequent 6.5L maiden winner) on debut. Then has led and give nothing else a chance in two runs since. Perhaps flattered by the track pattern and the lack of experience of those chasing him Saturday in the heavy conditions but was strong through the line and breeding suggests the 1400m of this year’s J.J. Atkins won’t pose a problem. A Group 1 beckons if he draws a marble.
Opacity: (Syd Race 6) It’s nice to watch good riders in action. Which fortunately we still have the benefit of being able to do in Sydney as opposed to the current ranks punching them around in feature races in Brisbane. Unusual to find a Bm78 race of Saturday grade where not even the top weight has won a race of similar quality, but that is what we will be getting served up from here on in as we wade through Winter. How far this bloke will go, and what he beat is of much debate, but he’s chalked up a win in a $100k race now at just his sixth start which would suggest he has more than his share of talent. Given the perfect ride by Bowman but had the lot covered easily on the line so full marks to this Ocean Park gelding who was just second up and can progress through the cooler months.
Overlord: (Syd Race 1) Hmmm, excuses, excuses. Here we go for this next trio. I do legitimately think they had a few. Came out on his heels, giving away a cheap start to the leader who was off and gone at the 400m when this bloke was still scrambling around the bend covering ground three deep. Knuckled down like the good horse we know is in there once he balanced up but the bird had flown. Whether the runners up cheque is enough to get him in the J.J. Atkins, remains to be seen, but is ready to give it a hell of a shake if he does qualify.
Kinane: (Bris Race 7) All jokes about the $2.5 million aside, if he follows Ballistic Boy through he wins, and wins easy. Taken back last from the bad draw and was picking them off nicely before the rider panicked and went via the cape with no bunny to chase. A defeat that has to smart for the owners after recent big offers, but hard to see him not turning the tables in a fortnight on even terms in the Rough Habit.
Kementari: (Bris Race 8) I’ve been more forgiving than most in this column on his recent campaign but one can’t help but think if he’d only come out with them he’d be a much greater hope of featuring in a finish. Had no such issues when underneath H. Bowman, his two runs in Sydney where he looked highly likely to break his run of outs. I’m not James Cummings (he has much better hair than me) and I know they aren’t exactly spoilt for choice with riders up in Brisbane at the moment, but one can’t help but think someone else deserves a sit. Has blown the start twice for Maloney, failed to obtain a position, got keen in transit and covered ground. Screaming out for 1400m, a win in the G1 wouldn’t shock.
High Opinion (Syd Race 4) Has won his race for the decade. Back to the open handicap 2000m winter dart board.
Archedemus: (Syd Race 8) They’ve really wanted to back him both starts now for Joe. Genuine first up but had the right stats to say he should have offered a lot more Saturday. In the end he was out of contention by the time they turned for home Saturday and was a long way off a 7yo on the line who finished behind a horse barely out of Class 3 grade last time out.
So Taken: (Syd Race 9) Well found in the betting, again. Every conceivable, again. Failed to deliver, again.