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Racing & Sports Canberra Racing Review — 5 February 2021

The Canberra track was rated a Soft 6 with the out 10m the entire. As with recent wet track meetings here, it was soon apparent the outside section of the track was the place to be, requiring some astute riding and an ounce of luck. A lot that went around today will be much more competitive back to decent footing. Matt Dale took training honours with a double and had two decent seconds to boot.  


Race 1 (1200m) BM60


Punters had a bit of trouble sorting this out, finally settling on KATHAIRE $3.60F and HEZREDHOT $4.60 (3rd). The former disappointed. She met some trouble in the run and was forced to race three wide. The rider said the mare was not comfortable in the shifty soft-rated surface. CYBORG $8 blundered on jumping.  


TYCOON TILY $8 took out the race from CALL ME ARTIE $7 and there was less than a length between the top three. Tycoon Tilly used the low gate and settled behind the leader Hezredhot who zoomed over from a wide gate. She raced a bit keenly some distance passing the 900m. Tilly got the better of Hezredhot at the 50m and just held off the challenge of Call Me Artie who really motored down the outside of the track. Later this was to become the preferred going. Good efforts all three placegetters, especially the pair racing on the inside surface. Tily likes wet tracks and is racing at the peak of her form.


Race 2 (2000m) CL1


ANTILLES $1.6F was heavily backed and won by a space from MISTY BROOK $7.50 with BEAUTY AT DAWN $91 filling out the top three at monster odds. The only other one given a realistic chance was the Sydney-trained SPEEDZONE $3.40 and he was beaten nearly 9L. His rider said he’d performed well on rain affected going previously but did not respond to riding in the straight. No abnormalities were found post race.


Antilles was ridden aggressively early and led clearly at the 1400m. Misty Brook was racing by herself midfield at this point and made a sharp forward move at the 800m. At the 200m the winner maintained a long lead over Misty and won easily, with Beauty At Dawn running on into a clear third — 5L from the victor. The rail proved no disadvantage to Antilles who relished the conditions and had a far bit on them.


Race 3 (1000m) OPEN 2


The race created plenty of interest. The Sydney-trained two-year-olds were expected to have an edge on the market, but the money was pretty evenly spread suggesting they were vulnerable. BADEN ROAD $4.4F and OBLIVION $5.50 headed the betting but were both beaten more than 5L.


The locals filled the first four placings. Matt Dale made it a race-to-race double when his debutant PRETTY WOMAN $11 defied a betting drift and won comfortably from VAAROOM $8.50, debuting for the Dryden yard, with SUPER RIFF $8 making third. The rider of Oblivion advised that in his view his mount did not handle the soft track conditions. Vaaroom was slow to begin and was held up rounding the home turn. There was plenty of merit in his run. Trainer Dryden was fined $50 for failing to notify that Vaaroom had been gelded.


Baden Road flew the gates and led racing hot. Pretty Woman raced boldly on his flank. Vaaroom settled last after missing the kick and emerged the widest runner turning for home. Pretty Woman took a clear lead at the 200m and won eased-down by 2.5L from a gallant Vaaroom who kept coming. Super Riff was the only other runner to finish on.


Conditions obviously played a part but Pretty Woman is a lovely striding filly and looks to have a promising future. Ditto Vaaroom, who was cruelled by the slow start. A good effort from Super Riff as well.


Regarding the field strength, it’s worth noting that TILIANAM won the Open 2YO here on 22 January beating Baden Road and the filly went on to win the Lonhro Plate at Randwick.


Race 4 (1200m) MDN


The best supported all finished in the top four. The winner BOMBARDEO $2.90 – $2.50 pipped PHEARSON $5.50, with SIFU $16 and JACK THE BRUMBY $3.60 next. Six runners were slow away to various extents.


It was a charge early with Sifu briefly leading before Jack The Brumby took over pushing forward from the wide gate. He tended to hang in, but held a clear lead on turning.  Sifu emerged as the danger and got the better of Jack at the 100m, but was swamped by Bombardeo and Phearson who came down the outside of the track. The winner was back and wide throughout and gave the leaders many lengths on the turn. Finding the preferred (outside) going was obviously a plus, but Bombardeo had to do plenty to win and the Matt Dale debutant Phearson impressed with his powerful finish and looks a nice galloper in the making. SIFU was brave and Jack The Brumby only ran out of puff late, after working early and finishing the race in inferior ground.


Race 5 (1200m) CL1


MANILA THRILLER 2.90 and  BROTHERS OF ANTRIM $2.70 fought out favouritism but had to settle for 4th and 5th.  The race was taken out comfortably by JOSEPHUS $4.60 — $4.20 resuming for the Markwell yard. UNDERGROUND MUSIC $6.50 and BONHOMIE $20 were next home.


The winner knuckled on jumping and pulled hard for some distance after the 700m. Manila Thriller over-raced in the middle stages and was held up rounding the home turn — as was Brothers Of Antrim. Bonhomie was eased near the winning post.


Underground Music flew the outside gate and led clearly before Bonhomie thrust forward after being caught three wide when trying to secure a sit. These two paired off and dropped the tempo. Josephus sat last in the small field but began to cruise into it after the 600m and was the widest runner on turning. There was a fair battle going on inside Josephus, but he’d found the fast lane and came over then to win a length. 


There doesn’t look much between most of these and it was a case of being in the right place at the right time for the winner, who did it well all the same. Most of the rest are worth another chance on a fairer surface.


Race 6 (1000m) BM65


The best bet were KEY LARGO $2.60 and ELTHAM PALACE $4.60 and they ran first and third in that order, split by MISSILE MAGIC $13.


As with the last meeting, trainer Keith Dryden was fined $100 for the late rider declaration for a well-fancied runner (Eltham Palace). In a change of tactics, DELACOUR $12 was ridden quieter but she over-raced and was beaten 3L.


Eltham Palace burnt to the lead and flew along from For Love and NOBODY’S PUPPET $7. The winner raced midfield off the rail and Missile Magic was further back. Eltham Place worked out towards the better ground as did the other pair  outside her and she was 2L in front as they headed down the stretch. Key Largo initially tried to get the outside-rails run but had to change course and ducking through a gap charged by to win going away by nearly 2L. It was the effort of a deserved favourite with a cool ride. Missile Magic’s finish was a real eye-catcher. Having only her third run for Nick Olive, he was last on turning (on the outside) with a wall of horses in front. Guymer navigated him sharply inward to be the closest to the inside rail and he dashed to the line. Eltham Palace showed any amount of ticker and may have got closer if she’d been positioned a metre or so further out.


Race 7 (1400m) BM70 Federal


Punters gave three gallopers a winning chance in the Federal and they made the trifecta. It turned out to be a one-horse race with CHAMPAGNE VEGA $4.40 taking it out by 4L from MANDALONG NICKO $2.50F and CAN DO IT $5.50 another length away in third.


FUSCA $8 — a stablemate to the winner — was slow off and beaten 11L. No abnormalities were found post-race.


Just an even tempo with Mandalong Nicko getting the run of the race behind the leading pair and Can Do it also nicely positioned. Champagne Vega was back and began a forward run at the 600m. On turning most tried to find as best they could  the fast lane on the outside rail. Can Do It was forced to take a run inside and momentarily looked the winner before Champaign Vega flew from the back; hard up against the outside.  He delivered by a space with Mandalong Nicko battling on in second.


Despite getting to the best part of the track it was an impressive effort by the winner —  an ex Queenslander who’d won here first-up the run prior for the Ible yard and is sure to go on.


Race 8 (1400m) MDN


Three runners were backed to the exclusion of all others and ran the trifecta. NOTHINSWEETABOUTME 4.80 took it out comfortably on debut for the Waterhouse- Bott yard from PORT DOUGLAS $2.40F and LIBRARIAN $3.60.


Port Douglas found himself in front from the filly Nothinsweetaboutme who wasn’t overly exerted crossing from the wide gate. Librarian settled further back and was deep with cover — and made a quick forward more approaching the 600m and found the sweet spot against the outside rail when they turned. Nothinsweetaboutme and Port Douglas paired off to fight it out but the former proved the tougher in the closing stages coming away on the line. The conditions weren’t easy and it was a terrific debut win against a couple of likely types.