It’s getting to that time of year where we see some very good horses start to put their hands up for higher honours heading into the Spring. Over the weekend, we saw the arrival of a talented newcomer at Randwick, while down in Melbourne, there was lots to be excited about with the return of one of last season’s most impressive three-year-olds.
Here’s a wrap of the betting action at Palmerbet and key talking points from all the big races over the weekend.
The Plunge Lands!
It is very rare to see a first starter come to town to contest a Highway Handicap but that’s exactly what trainer Brett Cavanough did with Another Sin in the first race at Rosehill on Saturday. Cavanough clearly knew what he was doing, with Another Sin sensationally backed from $14 on Wednesday into $3.20 at the jump. Jumping from barrier two, Another Sin was able to get to the lead fairly comfortably on the rail for Corey Brown, alongside the Matthew Dunn trained Lifesaver ($5.50/Tye Angland). As they turned for home, the pair kicked well clear from the rest and were locked in a dogfight all the way to the line, with Another Sin doing just enough in the end to prevail by a short half head. Those who locked in the early overs were then subject to a painful protest, stewards ultimately deeming that the few bumps they had on the way to the line would not have altered the result.
Kingsguard Wins The Lottery
What an absolute horror watch it was for Washington Heights ($2.60) and Tom Melbourne ($3.40) backers in Race 7 on Saturday. Both heavily backed, in particular Tom Melbourne who was $4.60-$3.40, both horses were hopelessly strung up for runs all the way down the straight, Tom Melbourne only getting out with 75 metres to run to go down by half a length to Kingsguard. Even more painful for those who kept faith in the former Melbourne based galloper was the fact that he was 2 lengths in front some 50 metres past the post. It wasn’t any prettier for Washington Heights, who never saw daylight at any stage, cantering to the line to pick up 4th spot. Stewards called into question the ride of Tim Clark on Washington Heights, in particular his decision to look for an inside run at the top of the straight instead of angling to the outside. An inquiry into Clark’s ride was adjourned after the last to be reconvened at a later date.
Mixed Luck For Odds On Pop’s
Punters may have gotten off to a good start in the Highway with Another Sin but many were scratching their heads when the extremely fancied Vaucluse Bay ($1.75) finished tailed off in the second event. Backed well into the red from an even money quote, Vaucluse Bay came off the bit a long way from home and never looked likely, with the spoils going to the Kim Waugh trained King Viv. A post-race examination later revealed that Vaucluse Bay had suffered from a cardiac arrhythmia.
Wouldn’t you love to own a horse like Arbeitsam? Absolutely smashed by punters once again ($2.20-$1.90), the Waterhouse/Bott four-year-old made it three wins from his last four starts with another impressive victory leading from start to finish. Punters who took the shorts didn’t have a moment of worry as Tommy Berry opened up a comfortable three-length lead rounding the turn, before easing the gelding down to record a widening five length win. Interesting to see whether or not Gai persists with him this time, or perhaps even stretches him out over further. Have to think he’ll be competitive again wherever he goes.
Hey Doc Back With A Bang
South of the border, the win of Hey Doc in the Aurie’s Star Handicap showed the Tony McEvoy trained four-year-old could also be in for a huge Spring. Solid throughout betting ($5.50-$5.00), the Australian Guineas winner settled beautifully in front for Luke Currie and when asked for an effort at the furlong fought hard to just hold out the flying Lindsay Park pair of Cannyescent ($5.00-$3.60) and Grande Rosso ($6.50-$10.00). Cannyescent was comfortably the best backed in the race, with big bets of $5,000 at $4.20, and $1,000 (twice) at $3.80. The fighting return of Hey Doc bodes well for his next start, the $1 million Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield in three weeks’ time.
Weir & Allen The Masters Of Zephyr’s Destiny
It was a perfectly timed ride by Ben Allen in Race 2 that saw the Darren Weir trained Master Zephyr edge past Kilimanjaro in the shadows of the post. Master Zephyr was sent out as the $3.50 equal favourite, backed from $4.20 on race morning and carrying the majority of money invested on the race. Master Zephyr saw bets of $2,000 at $3.80 and $1,000 at $3.50. Kilimanjaro was the second elect, with an SP of $3.80 after opening at $5.00 earlier in the week.