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Racing and Sports Canberra Review - 23 February 2024

The Rail was in the True position and the Soft 6 track played well. Most of the fields held up and it was a positive lead-up to the Black Opal Carnival.  Keith Dryden trained three winners and Jack Martin and Tyler Schiller both rode doubles. 

Race 1 1300m Mdn 

TAYTAY BAY was backed into a $2.30F and scrambled home beating UP TO ME $4.60 by a neck in a deceptive finish. SPRITZY LASS $5 was a notable drifter beaten 0.8L. They finished clear of the well-supported debutant LEVIS CRIMINALIBUS $3.50. with a gap to the rest. Levis Criminalibus led and there wasn’t much speed on early. Spritzy Lass raced three-wide and Taytay Bay was able to settle closer in the small field. The bold galloping Taytay Bay wanted to lay in a tough before the 200m but was able to do enough. Up To Me got an inside split and finished hard and it was q decent effort from Spritzy Lass given how wide she was forced to race. The leader had pulled early on a moderate tempo and was gone at 200m. Not much between the better ones. The winner gives every impression he will appreciate further.     

Race 2 10200m Mdn SW

The debutant and winner PICKSIX $2.70F drifted a touch late but he was well-supported from market opening. He won by a head from DESIROUS $4, with SUTTON VELLA $5.5-$4.8 holding down third, 1.8L from the winner. SERIAL OFFENDER $8.50 was a big drifter and fourth was his lot beaten 2.2L. Serial Offender led off a low barrier and Desirous positioned on his outside and turned for home a half-length in front. Sutton Vella settled midfield off the rail and Picksix was eased back from a wide barrier and tailed the field early. He started a sharp forward move after the 600m and was the widest on turning some 3l shy of the speed. Desirous looked like the all-over winner but Picksix was coming hard and got there right on the line. Sutton Vella raced tight from before the 200m and was doing good work late. Picksix showed plenty to get the chocolates.      

Race 3 1400m Bm 65 3yo

REET PETITE $1.55F was heavily bet and was 1L too good for VAGUER $8-$15 with OCEAN DIVA $10, 15L from the winner in third. The disappointment was MAN IN THE MIRROR $2.9-$4.2 beaten 14L. A couple of roughies found the front and the field was bunched behind passing the 1000m. Vaguer railed at the head of them, Reet Petite sat off midfield away from the rail and got on heels at that point. Ocean Divia was one of the last in the run with Man In The Mirror.  There were plenty of chances as they headed for home. Reet Petite turned in the middle of the track and found a nice split. Galloping boldly, she set out after Vaguer who’d had a dream run in transit. She got the upper hand late and came away.  There was plenty of merit in Ocean Diva’s placing and GATCHIN $19 was good beaten 2L. Man In The Mirror was pushed very wide on the turn and didn’t pick up. All honours with Reet Petite.

Race 4 1400m Bm 65 - Canberra Guineas Preview

There was a minor upset in the Guineas Preview with the Kembla Grange trained DIRECT FIRE $11 recording a tidy win. The two best supported, EVERIDO $3.50F and MISS GHENT $4.20 filled the minors beaten 0.8L and 1.3L respectively. Direct Fire showed good early speed to lead comfortably. Everido and Miss Ghent paired up next. They turned the likely chances and on the inside Direct Fire showed plenty to hold a comfortable margin on the line. The other two tried hard and had every chance. The winner had been beaten a whisker prior in a CL1 at the Sapphire Coast over 1400m and carried a touch more weight in stronger. A well-measured ride from Nisbet. The first two home are ballot-exempt for the Guineas but will find that a tougher assignment. 

Race 5 1200m Cl 1 

The field fella way a bit with scratchings and five or six were given a reasonable chance. As it transpired EMANCIPIST $5EF was much too good, winning by 2.5L from OHTANI $6.5. with ICONIC TREASURE $6.5 close by next. STORMY REVOLUTION $9 was beaten 3L in fourth. There was a charge early with Stormy Revolution working from a wide gate to find the lead. Iconic Treasure settled one-out-one back, Ohtani and Emancipist were the last pair in the run, some 7L from the speed. There was plenty of chances at the 300m. The on-pacers were fighting hard, but the threats were coming down the middle. Emancipist dead-set flew and despite wanting to lay in during the latter stages came away for an easy win. Ohtani was also well back and wide on the bend and briefly looked like a match. It got a bit tight at the 200m and a couple may have had excuses. Having said that, Emancipist was a dominant winner.   

Race 6 2000m Open - Canberra Cup Preview 

The two Sydney-trained gallopers, NOTABADBUY $3.30 and PIRAEUS $1.80F were backed to the exclusion of all others and they finished in that order with just 0.27L between then. ONE EYE $10 held third beaten less than 1L and there was a space to the rest headed by KIPTANUI $10. Notabadbuy used the rail as expected and led comfortably heading down the back. One Eye sat in the trail and Piraeus settled rearward off the fence.  The latter began a forward move at the 800m and turned four wide and right in touch. One Aye burst through, and they were three abreast at the 150m, but Notabadbuy wouldn’t be denied and held a margin on the line. Piraeus had a little too much to do and it was a timely return to form by the local One Aye. 

Race 7 1000m 2yo - Black Opal Preview

After scratchings AMAZING EAGLE $2.1 started a pronounced favourite but was denied right on the line by the longshot local VELLA’S BEST $31. Another local SHEZAIN $9-$6 was some 2L away in third, with ARTS ALIVE $8 not far away next. Vella’s Best had won a Canberra trial (Shezain third) and as it transpired that was a decent form reference. Vella’s best speed out of a low gate and led with Art’s Alive on his outer. Amazing Eagle railed behind the leader. Shezain was forward of midfield but wide throughout. Vella’s best gave a kick at the 200m and held on to win fair and square. Shezain’s effort was full of merit. The first two to greet the judge are ballot-exempt for the Black Opal and are likely to tackle the race along with others from this lead-up. That’s sure to prove a tougher affair, but no knock on the winner, who will come on from this and will give a sight if drawn to advantage.  

Race 8 1200m Open – National Sprint Preview

DEMANDING MO $5 was our best for the day and got up from a nose from his rapidly finishing stablemate FANGELA $3.10. DORAMI 3F was a half-length away next and ZELAGO $7.50 was the other one to get within range. There was a keen go for the lead, with Demanding Mo taking over after 200m and Dorami sat on his outside. Fangela railed behind that pair. Zelago was forward as well and three deep as they neared the turn. Demanding Mo and Dorami engaged in a ding-dong battle down the straight and they were split right on the line by Fangela who sprouted wings late. A tough effort by the winner to get the verdict and ability-wise there’s probably little between the first four home.      

Race 9 1600m Bm 65

MISSILE LEADER $2 was the best bet and won as a short-priced favourite should. He finished 2L clear of ONYA LIONAL $16, who just pipped KINGSTON CHARM $10 and OVERICE $4.40 for the minor money. A space to the remainder. Onya Lional found the lead before CRUCIAL WITNESS $31 made a quick forward move at the 1200m to sit on his flank; wanting to go quicker.  Kingston Cham railed behind the speed and Missile Leader positioned behind her. Onya Lional led them up with Missile Leader busting for a run behind. She finally found a split on the fence at the 200m and went on to win comfortably. Kingston Charm and Overice were doing their best work late but had their chance. Missile Leader has come off a Rosehill placing and can go on from this.