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Racing & Sports Canberra Racing Review — 31 March 2021

The Rail was back in the true position and the track predominantly suited on-pacers — and there were some keen finishes. Local mentor Matt Dale trained a double as did the Sydney training partnership Waterhouse-Bott. Punters got it fairly right, with King Ratel the only upset, recorded in Race 5.


Race 1 (1400m) MDN


Valiant Lad (1st) ran a clear $2.20 favourite from Dubai Centre and Meladia — with the former drifting from $3.50.

Dubai Centre crossed and found the lead with Valiant Lad sitting right on him. Blue Jager (2nd) was nicely placed behind them. These were the three contenders passing the 200m. Valiant Lad got his head in front at the 100m and Blue Jager kept coming to miss by a neck.   

Valliant Lad raced favourite at Goulburn on debut but was caught wide with no cover. Gai and Adrian had him well prepared for this contest and showed the toughness expected at the business end. It was a decent effort by the debutant Blue Jager who settled well and was still making ground on the line. McDougall’s booking suggested he’d go well. Dubai Centre only gave it way late in the piece and there was merit in that given he did some work early. He’d switched from a Flemington yard off an 8 week break and will win races for the new barn as he works into the campaign. Elegant Carriage (4th) was eating up the ground after being held up rounding the home turn. She was backed $21 into $12 and is worth keeping onside. There was little market interest in the Matt Dale debutant Whatever It Takes $9.50 and she didn’t get into it.


Race 2 (1300m) BM65


Shenandoah (4th) ran a firm $3.10 favourite and there was support for Island Bay Boy (1st) at the $3.50 and Hezredhot (3rd) also had admirers at the $5.50. The Maher-Eustace-trained Capri Lane was backed from $9.0 to $7.0 but could only manage 5th after being ridden more forward in a change of tactics.

Hezredhot settled in from Capri Lane with Shenandoah nicely positioned behind them but over-racing — and he had to be checked away from heals near the 850m. The 2nd placegetter Royal Monarch $10 got the perfect trail and the winner Island Bay was well-settled on his own midfield behind these horses.  

Passing the 200m Royal Monarch and Hezredhot were looking to fight out the finish before Island Bay emerged further out and swamped them in the shadows of the post after making up lengths. It was easy on the line and an impressive effort. He’d not had much luck at Goulburn prior and hit this at peak — making it two wins from four starts. Solid efforts the two placegetters and Shenandoah did himself no favours over racing.   


Race 3 (1200m) MDN SW


The scratching left Rubaiya $2.80 the one to beat and she duly obliged in easy fashion for Matt Dale. Sifu $4.80 made second just ahead of Mr Pluka $26.and the second favourite Soldier’s Desire $3.20.

Rubaiya settled beautifully on the rail behind Asserting $31 and Mr Pluka who shared the speed. Soldiers Desire sat outside her but overraced. Sifu was nicely positioned behind them.

Rubaiya got the inside run on turning and clearly has the better of Asserting approaching the 200m — and never looked like being beaten from there. The 4yo Rubick raced without much luck her first campaign and was last seen at the Sapphire Coast missing a lip heavily-bet. She will have taken fitness and learning from this first-up win and looks very promising. They were across the track for the minors 2.5L + away and well beaten.


Race 4 (1000m) BM70 Federal


Despite the massive impost of 67.5kg, Prairie Fire was backed from $3.20 into a $2.70 favourite and didn’t beat a runner home — beaten 5.8L. When questioned regarding the performance rider Nick Heywood stated in this view the gelding failed to catty the big weight and he was not, as such, disappointed with the effort. No abnormalities were revealed post race.

Trainer Matt Dale made it a race-to-race double with Calescent $3.80 - $6.50 saluting comfortably from The Unknown Factor ($4.80) and Haralben $9.50.

The well-performed Sizzling mare had a lot in her favour fresh and while the price surprised the win didn’t. Carrying the handy 3kg claim Calescent settled in front from Haralben, with The Unknown Factor sitting on them three deep at the 600m. These were the three approaching the 200m with the winner then taking a clear lead from The Unknown Factor. Under hands and heals Calescent proved too good — and it was a well-measured ride. Of the others Express Courier $17 caught the eye late. He was slow to begin and a clear last on turning, a mile from the action. Racing first-up, mark the Dryden-trained galloper down as one to follow. All honours the winner who looks in for another profitable campaign.       


Race 5 (2000m) CL1


King Ratel $31 caused the big upset of the day saluting over Knuckle Warrior $350 and Olmeto $4.80. The big disappointment was the $2.50 favourite Californian who was beaten 5L into 7th.

The filly was badly behaved pre-race and was also fractious in the barriers. The rider Brandon Lerena was also disadvantaged by being challenged in the lead from the 1400m. The stable representative said consideration was now being given to the filly’s immediate racing future.

Jess Taylor rode the winner after Lee Magorrian was declared overweight. Californian led after settling with Knuckle Warrior sitting on her. Olmeto travelled comfortably behind them and King Ratel positioned towards the rear on the rail. Knuckle Warrior assumed control at they entered the stretch and held a 2L advantage passing the 200m. King Ratel emerged through the centre and sprouted wings inside the 50m when asked for the big effort willing going away by a length and a half. It was a huge form reversal — given the gelding had been beaten by spaces all campaign at long odds. He’ll win more races based on this effort and doubt staying trips will bother. The placegetters looked to have every chance.


Race 6 (1200m) CL1


It was a competitive race on paper and at jump-time Rocketing To Win was a $5 favourite over the winner General Dubai $5.50 and second placed Embeller $6 and the third-placed Kahaylaan $6.50.

The favourite was beaten 5.6L and despite being held-up making the turn, jockey Blake Spriggs felt the gelding may have needed the run given he’d been 5 weeks away.

General Dubai profiled well and the market suggested he was ready to go. He was caught wide early from the 10 gate but showed good endeavour to cross over and control the race after the 800m at a good clip. They bunched up behind him on turning but the General was always travelling well and was 2L clear at the 100m and held the advantage over Embeller who was well clear of the rest. It was a good effort by the latter who raced three-wide throughout. Kahaylaan pulled hard and was held up rounding the home turn. Manila Thriller $9.50 raced wide throughout. A very nice return by General Dubai and lightly-raced gelding can go on from here.


Race 7 (1600m) BM60


Vivid Art was a firm $4.20 favourite and took the race out by a lip from Cracking Mo $13 over Reelclass $5 — well clear of the rest. Sisseck $6.50 was well beaten and trained Keith Dryden sais that wile the gelding may have been a little disappointing, in his view the gelding got further back than anticipated and was therefore disadvantaged.

Vivid Art made it a double for the Waterhouse-Bott stable. Cracking Mo and Reelclass shared the lead and Vivid Art was beautifully positioned behind them; later working off the rail. This trio were the contenders as they entered the stretch with Reelclass putting the head in front before Cracking Mo rallied on the rail and looked home before Vivid Art made a successful lunge. The rest couldn’t get into it.  Vivid art was tough and everything went his way. The placed pair were also brave and the better effort by Cracking Mo wasn’t a total surprise. All three can be followed.