The Lighthouse is full of beans this week. The punting year has kicked off splendidly and I’ve just heard that my long time travelling golf group has received a Government sports grant to take our legendary Houndstooth Jacket tournament to Scotland for two weeks in August.
Even better, none of us can actually remember applying for the money. How good is living in a marginal electorate I say!
JOCKEY/TRAINER OF THE WEEK
These coveted awards are rarely dusted off as only those performance that have benefited me financially are eligible, meaning that many great performances go unrecognized.
JOCKEY– JAMES McDONALD
Generally I like to give battlers a boost, but this week I’m making an exception. In the Magic Millions Snippets, JMac showed why he’s on the big bucks with his astute navigation on Madam Rouge, deliberately extricating her from an inside draw into the fast lane in the centre of the track, with the bonny mare doing the rest. Without doubt if he’d not seized the initiative, we’d have all been cooked the way the track was playing on the day.
TRAINER – DONNA SCOTT
Even more deserving is my trainer of the week, Albury based Donna Scott. In fact, what Donna and her team have achieved with the injury plagued Lord Von Costa, makes her a serious early candidate for Lighthouse Trainer of the Year. It’s been a superhuman effort to even get this bloke racing again after a series of career threatening tendon injuries, let alone win his first race in nearly 4 years down the Flemington straight, ridden by Scott’s son-in-law and 2019 Lighthouse Jockey of the Year Blaike McDougall.
The Lord has “boarded” at various city stables over his journey but always returned home to Donna and her father Graham Hulm. Donna has also been through plenty over the years and it was an emotional group that gathered to welcome the veteran back to scale in the approaching dusk on Saturday.
It’s a training performance that will be sung about around campfires for years to come.
And did I mention the mighty Lord paid an unbelievably handsome $30+ on Top Tote Plus!
ANDREW BOLT – HORSE TRAINER?
It always pays to read your Emails I say. During the Magic Millions sales I received one from Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria talking up the success enjoyed by Victorian vendors at the sales and I quote-
“The sale was being dubbed “Mitho’s Millions”” after Rosemont Stud principal Antony Mithen sold an
I Am Invincible/Amanpour colt for $1 million to the Gai Waterhouse/Andrew Bolt training partnership”
Dare I say, when I read this I sat “bolt” upright in my beanbag. His name’s Anthony, not Antony I thought. And was I the last to know that the widely read but divisive newspaper columnist had given away lecturing the public to take on the grind of horse training? And has Adrian Bott been told what’s happening?
HOW RANDOM IS BREEDING?
And on yearling sales, the brilliant win of Cellsabeel at Rosehill got me thinking again about the lottery of breeding.
Our Egyptian Raine, the dam of Cellsabeel, (Golden Slipper favourite until at least this weekend), was a Group 1 winner of 10 races and has been a prolific producer at stud. Her first 11 matings have produced 11 named foals – a phenomenal strike rate – sired by a who’s who of 9 of the country’s leading stallions.
10 of those foals were catalogued at the Magic Millions, but just 4 managed to sell in the ring. She has produced 3 high class gallopers (inc Cellsabeel) and 7, dare I say it, battlers, with apologies to a mate of mine who has a share in one of her maiden offspring!
Before Cellsabeel, her best 2 performers, Egyptian Symbol and Strathmore, both failed to sell on auction day, while her highest priced, a $700k filly by Redoute’s Choice, retired a maiden.
It’s a tough game!
MISS HARRO UPDATE
As exclusively revealed here 2 weeks ago, the Lighthouse’s picnic horse of the year is back trackside this weekend.
With trainer David Hill finally able to get a weekend leave pass from his part time gig at the local Waste Transfer station, the up and coming 10yo heads to Race 1 at Balnarring on Sunday for her third lifetime run.
First up for 5 ½ years she ran well at Drouin and has worked stylishly since. Looking to keep the mare on her toes David has swung the jockey changes with Dani Walker snatching the coveted ride.
David suggests one more run will bring her to her absolute brilliant best, but given she only gets to the track once every 3 or 4 years I’m not sure I want to punt waiting for that. Other problem is, unless you are on course at Royal Balnarring, how does the working man invest on her, as even Sportsbet doesn’t field on this meeting?
GROUP 1 ZORADAMUS SATURDAY SELECTIONS
It’s been a nice start to the year with a number of good priced winners. On Saturday trusting the breeze will be behind these:
R2Ocean Deep($7); R4Fresh($3.10) looks the goods; R6Beau Balmain($11);
R5Our Candidate($10) top value; R6 Mountain Breath($17); R7Redouble($6.50)
SUNSHINE COAST(assuming soft track)
R5Tycoon Ace($9); R7 Desert Digby($9); R9Lottery but box Spectroscope($34), River Racer($11), Scallopini($7), Persuader($34) in trifectas or same race multis; R10Violet($10)
R1Aurman Zou($4); R6 Kilowatt($23) price an error?; R8 Regalo Di Gaetano($6.50)