Nov 27, 2017 05:03 AM
Author: Matt Buckland
Smart ones, good runs, top jockeys & the ones to forget
Group One racing returned to the West Coast on Saturday, as Ascot played host to the feature race meeting on the weekend racing calendar. The track played fair, with winners coming from behind and from the leading group with tempo proving to be the key factor for on-pace winners.
Rosehill played as expected, with speedsters going forward and proving hard to run down, whilst winners came from everywhere in races with little tempo.
The Ballarat track rating was turned on its head with a heavy downpour after the second race causing a downgrade from a Good 4 to a Heavy 8. Still no bias was noted for the remaining eight races on the card.
Punters got it right
The price plunge for Via Balciano in the second race at Ballarat was spot on. The gelding opened at $14 before early market support saw him drop to $9. Punters continued to follow the Lloyd Kennewell trained galloper, firming into $7 before they jumped, half the quote of its opening price. Via Balciano backed up punters’ intuitions in style, flashing home late to make it two wins from three starts.
Punters got it wrong
Punters backed Plague Stone in Race 1 at Rosehill like it was unbeatable, crunching it into $1.35 from $1.70 openers.
But as we see all too often in these two-year-old races, race experience tends to play a big role in the outcome. Secret Lady was one of two horses in the race who had a career start and led from start to finish, while Plague Stone over raced in the early stages of the race and couldn’t catch pass the leader in the home straight
Kerrin McEvoy continued his hot streak after an outstanding ride on the drifting favourite Miss Dubois in the seventh at Rosehill.
Jumping from the widest barrier of 17, McEvoy was able put himself into a perfect position in the run, making his way in-field to settle one off the rails. He peeled around them at the top of the straight and allowed Miss Dubois to use her superior turn of foot to take a convincing 0.8 length victory.
Rachel Hunt stole race 8 at Rosehill aboard rank outsider Don’t Tease Me, scooting out to the front on a quick horse and not giving the others a chance.
It was smart riding from the Canberra based jockey who played to the gelding’s strengths, managing to hold off heavily backed favourite Bon Amis. Brenton Avdulla then mirrored Hunt’s ride in the following race aboard Dreamforce. Advulla commented after the race that he had observed Hunt’s tactics, proving it pays to watch what others are doing on good 3 tracks.
One to forget
Tom Melbourne - like the mate who keeps promising the world but delivers an atlas.
As the favourite in an inferior field compared to previous runs, Tom Melbourne was afforded all the favours in the Railway Stakes box seating for the entire trip on the rails. When the gap opened in the home straight, poor old Tom just couldn’t give punters what they wanted to see, being overrun by veteran Black Heart Bart and winner Great Shot.
If you haven’t already, be sure to mark down Tom Melbourne as “never to be backed again”.
It’s rare to find a Track Star coming from the first race of a card, but Secret Lady’s run at Rosehill was a clear stand out. The Gary Portelli trained filly was very tough going all the way in front, and never looking the loser.
She rewarded punters who stuck with her off the back of a great first up effort.
Ones to watch
Gaulois continues to race without luck after drawing yet another poor barrier. Racing in the WA Guineas, the James Cummings trained galloper was afforded no favours in the run but still found a way to fight on strong, finishing 2.5L fourth.
Given a soft run in transit, expect Gaulois to show his true potential next preparation.
La Pomme de Pin was very impressive streaking away to win easily in the fourth race at Ballarat, franking the form around Long Leaf whom the filly lost out to in her previous start.
Keep an eye on Orcein next start as the colt ran home strongly in the first as at Rosehill, making up a huge amount of ground to finish an improving third after being last on the turn.