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Spanish Reef presented her trainer, Ken Keys, with a big welcome home win in the Rivette Series Final at Flemington, on returning from a break in the U K and Ireland.

The win was impressive as she was solid in the market, however, there were three other fillies preferred to her in betting.

She was always travelling well for Craig Newitt and was never further back than third or fourth with the run of the race.

After winning at Cranbourne and Sandown Ruby Sea was a pronounced favourite, but never appeared likely to win, she got to the girth of the winner and looked like winning for a few strides, but was soon found wanting, she could have had enough for the present.

Summer Glen ran on fairly after disappointing at Wangaratta, there is an easy race for her but it would want to be easy.

The race named after Rivette, winner of the 1939 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, just after World War 2 commenced, she was a non stud mare, bred owned and trained by Harry Bamber, and ridden by Ted Preston, Rivette her only foal to race of note was River Hero, he was more than a handy sprinter.

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Spanish Reef

Pacodali was always travelling well in the small field of seven runners, there was little margin in betting with the winner and Extra Zero, he is 10 year old, they cannot go on forever.

Weir can improve horses, “this horse is going well in all his lead up races, and the step up in trip was a big plus, it might have looked easy, however, I thought it was a great ride, the plan was to sit back a bit further than normal when pace slowed, as they did, I was pleased that he settled, and full credit to Jye McNeil, the horse was relaxing and I knew he had a good kick at the end of 2000 metres,”he said.

“The horse was in a great rhythm, he was going well on the turn and we knew he could find a bit on the home turn, which he did, we are now looking for a bit of rain to soften the ground and give him a look at 2400 metres race,” he added.

Schism was looking a winner a fair way out, Beau Mertens had her travelling well, she was one you wanted to be on, she was just as impressive as she was at her last start win at Flemington.

Ciaron Maher has trained her out of the paddock, maybe unorthodox but it is achieving results.

“She is a mare in great form, we tried to get a bit of Black Type with her over in Adelaide, we had no luck, however, she is going well now, we may try her in some of the mares races in the early spring.”


Royal Symphony gave his rivals a fair dinkum hiding in the Taj Rossi Series Final after missing the start; he won untroubled by four and a quarter lengths.

The colt has been the star of the winter and is right on track to be the star of the spring; he remains unbeaten after three starts.

He ticks all the boxes with loads of potential, sometimes winter form can be taken with a grain of salt, this time it is likely to be the exception.

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Royal Symphony winning in s breeze

Tony McEvoy is a nob as a trainer; he will iron out all those little quirks, the colt is sure to be a highlight come spring.

Not only is he is a very good colt, he is a knockout as a type, he is just developing, he will shine in the spring.

No doubt the Guineas would be the aim over the mile, that would ensure a stud career, then the autumn for the Australian Guineas and millions would be in the offering. .

He has more potential as a sire winning over 1600 of the Caulfield Guineas metres, than the Derby over 2400 metres.

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Tony McEvoy and Dwayne Dunn  


“He deserved that,” David Hayes comment after the win of Highland Beat in the A R Creswick Series Final at headquarters.

Hayes explained, “I had a query with the horse down the straight, however, it was not a problem, he has another option, the horse was racing pretty forward, he was in the firing line for most of the trip and when it was time to go, he went.”

Now that he is proven down the straight it is a big advantage as the major sprint races are at Flemington, and you are able to place the horse better as he is more versatile.

Hayes said “I would have been supremely confident around the bend, but this time I was in the unknown as to what to expect.”

Highland Beat is by Exceed And Excel, a horse with an amazing turn of foot, a highly successful sire in both hemispheres.

Tony McEvoy chalked up a double after Super Haze put paid to the opposition in the Banjo Patterson Series Final.

He has been racing pretty well of late in Adelaide; he deserved a change of luck, the gelding was one of three rides for Luke Currie.

The gelding raced more forwardly, he was in a winning position at the eight hundred, and within striking distance of the leader on the home turn.

He can easily win again now that he has struck a bit of form; he went to the line well, winning by a length and a quarter.

Super Haze is by High Chaparral, a very successful racehorse and sire, he won the English Derby.

Tassie strikes again in the form of Tshanitsi, who is becoming a regular visitor to the mainland, and in particular, Flemington.

He has now won twice at Flemington and once at Echuca, proving a real money spinner, his stake earnings are well over $300,000, and sea travel holds no fears for him.

He is prepared by Chris Cook and Imogen Miller at Campania; they have done a great job with the horse as there is no racecourse there to my knowledge.

The five year old gelding is by Clangalang, he won the A J C Derby at Randwick and returned in the spring to take out the Epsom Handicap, he never received a chance at stud, he was wasted as a sire in favour of imported horses.

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Imogen Miller joint trainer of Tshahitsi 

Ability showed a lot of that, when he put paid to the opposition in the All Victorian Sprint Final, giving Dwayne Dunn a riding double.

The gelding did have the form on the board and is no stranger to Flemington, no decisions will be made as to whether he goes for a spell or waits for another Flemington meeting.

There were a lot of pluses to back him, it was a bit like put in and take out, he was backed right in to start favourite at $2.90.

Ability is by Reward For Effort, a lightly raced sire with abounding ability, a sire that certainly pays dividends, over raced entires are rarely a success.

Craig Widdison, who formerly shared a training partnership with Peter Morgan, trained his first outright winner at Flemington when Willi Willi won the Silver Bowl Series Final.

Whilst the win was by the shortage of margins it was a solid performance as the favourite, Urban Ruler, had the run of the race, and looked all over a winner until Willi Willi appeared late on the scene.

The win was narrow but never the less a solid performance as he came from a long way back, near last at one stage, and had to go around very horse in the race to get a crack at the leaders in the straight.

Widdison instructed Beau Mertons ,“the gelding would get a fair way back but don’t give up on him, he will be coming home when the others are stopping.”

The instructions were well rehearsed, it was played to the letter, it was all smiles after the race.

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Craig Widdison and Beau Mertens after the win of Willi Willi

Record entries of 1470 yearlings have been received for the Melbourne Racing Club’s   Blue Diamond Stakes, to be decided in early February.

When entries closed for Victoria’s richest two year old race, entries were increased by a healthy 6.44 per cent on last year, when 1381 youngsters were nominated.    

The Blue Diamond Stakes is a great inclusion into the autumn carnival, it gets people talking and it is a wonderful attraction to Melbourne.

The Blue Diamond Stakes was first decided in 1971 with stake of $12,000, finally reaching an all time stake record of now $1.5 million.

Tolerance was the inaugural winner of the race, he was by Better Boy, best sire ever to stand in Victoria, he was trained by the master trainer, Angus Armanasco, and ridden by Roy Higgins, he rode four winners of the race, besides Tolerance, Blazing Saddles, Star Shower and Lord Dudley, they were all top two year olds of their year.

 The Australian Turf Club has attracted a record 2,197 entries for the running of the sixty second edition of the 2018 running of the Golden Slipper Stakes, to be decided on 24th March 2018

Leading stables throughout Australia with the highest number of nominations include Godolphin 152, David Hayes and Ben Hayes and Dabernig (111),Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott (90), Chris Waller (87), and Peter and Paul Snowden (74), Tony McEvoy (61), and Ciaron Maher(61)

Leading sires with the most number of entries include Snitzel (105), I Am Invincible (98), Sebring (80), Pierro (74), Exceed And Excel (69), Fastnet Rock (63), All Too Hard (59).

Sixty years have passed so quickly, the colt referred to as the flying machine, Todman, set tongues wagging.

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Credit to George Ryder, he was the creator of the Golden Slipper Stakes when chairman of the Sydney Turf Club at Rosehill.


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