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Racing & Sports Canberra Racing Preview — 13 January 2021

The track was upgraded from a Good 4 to a Good 3 after the first race. Fast times were the order of the day. Affinity Beyond was brave in taking out the Federal and second-placed Major Time put in a big effort and certainly goes in the black book. The Like Pepper stable trained a double and Blaike McDougall rode a double. McDougall is now 10 wins clear on the ACT Jockey Premiership as is Keith Dryden in the ACT Trainer Premiership.  


Race 1 (2000m) CL1


It was a two horse race on paper and that’s how it worked out. Officially LAMINGTON DRIVE (3) started favourite at $1.90, 5 cents ahead of ANTILLES.  The latter found a comfortable lead and McDougall settled Lamington Drive one-out one-back. He made a forward move before the 600m and had a length or two to make up on Antilles on turning. Antilles put up a good fight until the 200m when Lamington Drive finally got his measure and was soft on the line winning just over 1L. DARK ALIBI was a clear third beaten 13L. Lamington Drive proved the better stayer on the day.


Race 2 (1400m) CL1


BOHO CHICK was backed into a $2.60 favourite but disappointed beaten 7.6L. The rider said she travelled well throughout but found nothing in the straight. No abnormalities were found and the trainer says she’ll be spelled.


NUREMBURG CASTLE drifted a point to $4.40 and was also plain beaten 3.4L. In a change of tactics he was ridden more forward and settled outside the leader at the 900m. He raced keenly in the middle stages.


The winner PROPOSE A TOAST $10 looked a good each-way bet given he’d only been beaten 1.5L behind Riverstock at Canberra 15 days before at the mile and was well-weighted with the claim. He pushed forward and crossed second-placed POETIC POWER $41 at the 1000m and the third placed JOBKEEPER $6.50 raced one-out about 4L off the leader at that point. Propose A Toast led them up and went great guns all the way down the stretch winning by a commanding 3.1L. Poetic Power defied the big betting drift to just hold second from Jobkeeper, who savaged the line and will be a good bet next time over further. The others had every chance. All honours with the winner but connections would’ve been pleased with the efforts of the two behind.    


Race 3 (1400m) MDN


The scratching of Port Douglas left REELCLASS the one to beat and he started deep in the red. He was beaten 1.8L into fourth after being restrained to avoid heels at the 150m. A stack of runners got mentioned in the stewards’ report. There were two jockey reprimands and the rider of Affiliate was suspended for causing interference to Trust The Gut rounding the home turn. The former Waller galloper FUCHSIA ROSE $3.40 was a clear second-favourite throughout betting beaten into second 1.1L behind AMBARI $15 who didn't have the best of it the previous run. PHYSCOA was a lip away in third and had no luck in the run. She also carried 1kg overweight.


It was a mad charge early before Ambari found the lead approaching the 1000m with Fuchsia a clear second on his outside. Reelclass sat just behind them. Physcoa was back on the rail. On straightening Fuchsia Rose got up to Ambari and Reelclass was inconvenienced behind her when about to make a dash. Ambari just kept going and it was a tough win. Physcoa made up a lot of ground on the inside and like Reelclass had excuses. As with the previous race, the front-runner proved too good.


Race 4 (1000m) Federal BM70


Snitzagirl knuckled on jumping and raced wide throughout. Shores Of Avalon was back and deep from the wide gate but most of the others had their chance. The winner AFFINITY BEYOND $2.70 started a clear favourite and ROTHERNBURG $4.40 and MAJOR TIME $4.60 were the only other ones given a realistic winning chance.


Affinity Beyond flew the low gate and was in front at the 800m. MOORE EUROS $51 sat outside her and Nobody’s Puppet was three wide and they were clear of the rest with Major Time fifth on the rails.  It was keen down the straight and Affinity Beyond was able to hold them off from Major Time who finished doggedly on the inside with the big weight and Moore Euros was a lip away third. The three behind them all hit the line well in a blanket go. The winner was well-primed and got all the favours and was the third leader to win to this point. Big effort Major Time. 


Race 5 (1600m) BM60


We thought LOAFING $5 could make quick improvement for the Dryden barn and so it proved. WAR DECK placed second running a $2.90 favourite and the only other one in the market, INVINCIBLE DASH, $3.20 finished a half-length away in third. AXION $18 missed less than 1L in fourth. War Deck’s rider lodged a protest against the winner alleging interference inside the final 100m but it was dismissed. SNOWBROOK was just in the market but raced three-wide throughout.


Nicholas was instructed to lead if possible and did that clearly but pulled hard in the middle stages and couldn’t be restrained. He was spent not long after straightening dropping out. The co-trainer said that either the blinkers will come off at his next start or the galloper will be dropped back in distance.


Axion led the chase and Loafing sat handy one-out with War Deck midfield the rail and Invincible Dash a fair way back.  These were the one to fight it out in a desperate go to the line with Loafing getting up in the middle under the cool urgings of McDougall. Invincible Dash was forced into dead ends between the 250m and 200m and powered home when balanced up, just beaten. The well-bred galloper has ‘next time’ written all over him. Nice efforts generally the first four home.


Race 6 (1300m) BM65


CHAMPAIGN VEGA $10 brought Queensland staying form to resumption for the new yard (Joe Ible) and despite a betting drift proved too good. In the lead-up he’d placed in a Canberra trial behind the smart Affinity Beyond who won the fourth and that should have rung bells. In another blanket finish he just pipped the hot favourite PROPOSE TO ME $1.70 and it was $8.50 + the rest.


Propose To Me and ZELAGO $9 were both slow to begin with the former settling up at the rear. EUROSAY $8.50 raced three-wide throughout and was beaten off. Post–race the gelding was found to have cardiac arrhythmia. SAY GOODBYE $71 has beaten less than a length into third and had overraced in the middle stages and was held up rounding the home turn and in the early part of the straight.


A couple if 100-1 shots made the speed and the winner raced beyond midfield and got a lovely run through the middle on turning. Propose To Me improved to present the widest on straightening and at the 200m looked as if she may have had the better of Champaign Vega. However the gelding fought like a tiger and held a narrow edge on the line. Creditable runs also from Say Goodbye and Zelago in the next two spots. Expect the form to hold up. Champagne Vega can race over further and looks to have a good future in the Ible barn. Propose To Me had to do plenty of work and will keep.


Race 7 (1200M) MDN


This looked a tough form assignment on paper and so it proved. RIVER MAC started a $5 favourite but has to settle for second behind the Luke Pepper-trained MIZNO $16, with SALUTE TO THE SUN $8 third, two lengths from the winner. Mizno was having his second run for the new yard and had been beaten 2.7L prior on resumption at this track over a shorter sprint.


River Mac hung in the straight and Hayyu met some trouble at the 900m and 700m marks.


OLD MAN EMU $41 led a good clip with Mizno trailing. River Mac was in the leading bunch but a touch wide. The leader gave a good kick at the top of the straight with Mizno and River Mac the threats. Mizno took over passing the 100m and held off River Mac who did himself no favours by hanging the duration of the straight.  Salute To The Sun made up a big chunk of ground to finish hard into third just pipping Old Man Emu who held on bravely. The next two in the finish (Hayyu and More Shots) were also doing their best work late. MIZNO can only improve and River Mac can win races if they can get him to race more tractably.