Racing & Sports Canberra Racing Review— 17 March 2021
The Canberra track was rated a Soft 6 and looked it to the eye, but the times were generally okay. Leaders and on-pacers prevailed mostly with the rail out 9m. The wins of Land Ahoy and Port Douglas in the final two races are worth highlighting. Matt Dale took training honours with a double.
Race 1 (1000m) CL1
The most-bet gallopers made the first four but not quite in the order punters expected.
The winner Crucial Witness $4 led as expected crossing quickly from the outside gate and was 5L in front passing the 600m being chased by Delightful Dream with another clear gap back to Rapidity. Missile Magic $3.10F) sat near last a long way off the speed. That was the finishing order but it was not without some drama in the stretch. Delightful Dream briefly looked the only challenger but veered out sharply passing the 200m. Once straightened, he ran on again but the bird had well and truly flown. Crucial Witness essentially ran them off their feet and held 2.1L on the line with Rapidity beaten nearly 4L in third. In the conditions the back markets were never going to get into it.
Race 2 (1000m) Maiden SW
Grand Lusitano ($2.10F) jumped favourite but had to be content with third behind the debutant Keith ($6) and Sifu $3.70 — heavily backed in from $8.
Keith wanted the lead and found it and turned in front. Grand Lusitano settled behind the speed in the clear with Sifu mid-field stalking him. Hallies Comet ($6.50) had the perfect trial behind Keith and briefly challenged Keith before Sifu and Grand Lusitano emerged down the centre — with both jockeys avoiding the inside running. It was almost an exact replica of Race 1 with the winner running them off their feet — 2L back to second with another 1.8L back to third. The times recorded for both if these 1000m sprints were an identical 58.36.
Keith is another nice prospect for the in-form Bjorn Baker barn. Sifu’s effort was good given the way the track was playing. They again didn’t elect to use Grand Lusitano’s gate speed and he also had too much to do. Hallies Comet had every chance.
Race 3 (1300m) Maiden
Off To Moe’s $5.50, Duke Of Buckingham ($3.70K) finished one-two and were both noticeable firmers. So too was Aidenabet ($6.50) who was well-beaten into fifth (racing at the tail of the field after a slow start). Noble Albert drifted from $5.50 to $9 and didn’t get into it.
There was a bunch early all looking to race on-speed with Duke Of Buckingham racing off the rail finding the front passing the 800m. At the 600m Destiny’s Republic $26 slid up on the rail to share the lead. Off To Moe’s was positioned on the rail just behind the speed with Lenny’s Lad outside him. Destiny’s Republic held a clear lead at the 300m with Duke Of Buckingham threatening and Off The Moe’s coming strongly down the middle. The leader rolled out and was gobbled up by that galloper who went on for a comfortable 1.8L win. Duke Of Buckingham held on stoutly for second as did Lenny’s Lad in third. There was merit in Aidenabet’s run in the circumstances and Hallucinations was finishing it off well after ducking in noticeably after straightening. Follow him. A good second-up effort by the winner and those back in the field had little hope.
Race 4 (1300m) BM70 — Federal
Zelago ($3) ran a firm favourite but was beaten a lip by Banger ($4) with The Bald Eagle ($13) close up in third.
There was a bunch of three before the 1000m vying for the lead with (surprisingly) Ons Vier $6 holding an advantage off the rail with Zelago on the rail and The Bald Eagle three wide. On The Take got a nice run behind. Banger sat further back and was improving three wide at the 600m. Zelago led past the 200m with The Bald Eagle sticking well and with Banger finishing determinedly on the outside; nabbing Zelago right on the line. Ons Vier dropped away and Onthetake looked to have every chance. Good efforts the top three and it was a big run from the Dubbo-trained The Bald Eagle after the wide on-pace run.
Race 5 (2000m) BM60
Garros ($3.50) ran a firm favourite but there were a number given a chance over the middle distance. The disappointments were the well-beaten Larmour $5 and Whisky Jack $7 — who was tailed off.
The winner Confident Lad builtd on the 58 win at Bathurst. Held an inside position and led out of the first turn. Whiskey Jack was bumped at the start and was miles wide around that turn and was allowed to run along to join the leading division before the 1400m. Roderick’s Secret ($10), Seporto $5.50 and Larmour all sat variously beyond midfield on a reasonable tempo. Whisky Jack was gone at the 600m. On straightening, Confident Lad stayed hard against the inside and the others with forward momentum fanned wide. Confident Lad never looked like stopping and held 1L on the line from Roderick’s Secret who finished it off determinedly — with Garros and Seporto next 5L from the winner. Another on the day to lead and win. It was a well-judged ride by Loy.
Race 6 (1600m) BM65
Land Ahoy $1.95 and Exotic Deel a drifting $5.50 second favourite ran the quinella finishing well clear of the rest. Land Ahoy is a well-bred filly from the John Sargent yard in Sydney and has been saved for this contest. She built on the CL1 win at Newcastle — but nearing the post it wasn’t an easy watch for supporters.
Nieces and Nephews flew the gates and led from Exotic Deel. Land Ahoy settled four back on the rail win Loafing in her outside. The tempo was good and at the 600m Collett was already urging Land Ahoy along. Into the stretch Owen stuck to the rail with Exotic Deel, while Scorse elected to take Nieces and Nephews out wide on the track and when he switched the whip back to the right hand and the horse wanted to run out. Land Ahoy emerged quickly on his inside and still had a couple of lengths to make up on Exotic Deel. He put in the giant strides and got up right on the line. Exotic Deel drifted out considerably under pressure to finish nearer the outside rail and that cost. Land Ahoy is promising and is crying out for 2000m. She’s one to follow. No knock on Exotic Deel’s tough effort and Nieces And Nephews pinned his ears back late under hands and heels and there may be a lesson in that.
Race 7 (1600m) CL1
Mandalong Nicko was backed into a $2.90 favourite but had to settle for fourth 8L behind Port Douglas $3.50 who absolutely streeted them — beating Himiko $7 and Lake Tai $7 by 5.2L and 7.3L respectively.
Four were looking for the lead early and Heywood elected to ease out of it and take a trail with Port Douglas. Himiko was in the next line and Lake Tai was caught three wide without cover. Vallauris $6.50 settled well back. Rhythmo $151 found the lead after the 1000m with Mandalong Nicko trailing and Port Douglas slid up on his inside after the 600m travelling sweetly. On turning Port Douglas took over clearly and never looked like being beaten. Himiko ran on best of the rest but was never likely. Mandalong Nicko just battled in the straight and was very disappointing given the level of support. Port Douglas came off a heavily-bet Maiden victory and there will be more days in the sun for the Dale-trained galloper. It was a very tidy ride by Heywood.