Racing Review by Don Mackay 1 February 2019
Racing Review -- Canberra, Friday February 1 2019
The track was rated a good 4, but there was some give in it after rain during the week.
Race 7, The $40,000 TAB Federal was hit with a swag of scratching, including EMBEZZLEMENT who raced at Rosehill Saturday blitzing the Highway field for the Canberra’s Joseph, Jones and Jones partnership.
The stable was left with SMILING AT SHADOWS in the Federal and he was the $3.60 punters’ elect. As we pointed out in the meeting preview he’s a galloper who looms to win but who can get a bit post shy and so it transpired again. Just.
The Nick Olive-trained LUGA LAD started at the juicy odds of $6.00 seeking the hat-trick and put up a big effort to win. With Brendan Ward up the Purrealist 4yo was posted wide throughout in the eight horse field and showed plenty of fight to hold out Smiling At Shadows who came powerfully from last at the turn. No knock on that run.
The market (and form) suggested Race 2, the Seears Workwear Canberra sprint would be a match race between STEPHAN and WHO’S KNOCKING and so it transpired.
Who’s Knocking was backed into a $1.80 favourite sat back and got a split on the inner and sprouted wings to beat Stephan ($2.80) by half a length after the former had looked an all-over winner. They spaced the others.
Stephan was forced to go it tough and the stewards inquired into the tactics employed by apprentice rider Aaron Sweeney who took the gelding wide from a trailing position around the 600m. It was a big effort all the same -- as was the winners' -- and more wins are in store for both.
Only 5 runners lined-up in Race 1, the John McGrath 2yo but it proved to be a good betting affair. It was a case where race-experience winning-over with GALAXY ($4.80) improving off his Rosehill debut to hold off debutant LILLY PILLY (2.80) who lead.
Galaxy was firm in the market throughout and was strong at the line. The favourite MANHATTAN MARVEL ($2.05) had every chance but looked new and the bold striding galloper will be much better for the run.
FARTHING WOOD ($3.2) raced favourite in Race 3, the Canprint Benchmark 55, but was slow off and widest on the turn. He put in a strong run to get fourth and certainly gets another chance.
Three horses crossed the line in unison with The Ron Weston-John Nesbit trained local OUR FINVARRA ($8.0) getting the nod. OH MY MIMI sat outside the leader and looked likely at the top of the straight but faltered and the filly was found to be lame in the near-hind leg.
Our Finvarra was resuming and improved on his placing here two-back on the slow. Looks in for a good campaign.
PARIS LIGHT ($3.20) took out Race 4, The Hygain Maiden and was one of three favourites to win on the day. The Snitzel filly had impressed here placing behind Farthing Wood at the last meeting.
She was three wide at the turn and came down the outside to just hold out MILAMOO (21.0) in a ding-dong finish with the rest spaced. KIANGA ($3.90) was well-supported but was never a factor.
In Race 4, the Become A Member CL1, the favourite ENJOY THE STARS was caught wide from the 12 gate and at the 900m rider Billy Owen elected to work to the lead. She fought hard before folding into fourth and it was a run to be forgotten. HEAVEN ON EARTH ($6.0) came down the centre for a solid win from ZEDFORCE ($6.0) and JELLIES (46.5) who both hit the line in pleasing fashion.
Race 6, the Marymead Maiden was a good betting race with the Bjorn Baker-trained BAAONE ($3.9) winning as favourite. Chad Lever settled him back on the rail and somehow weaved a way through to hold off VISAVIS ($5.50) who ran another good race. Ride of the day.
DUCHESS OF WINDSOR ($3.4) and EUROSAY ($4.80) looked hard to beat on form in Race 8, the Glen Mia Saddlery Maiden, and the latter took it out recording a good effort. The latter had too much to do from the back running into 5th. Eurosay came from an outside gate and it was a sweet ride. BANJA LUKA ($5.00) lost no admirers placing second.