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Maiden wins Sires Produce

Sircconi gave trainer, Peter Morgan, a welcome change of luck when he led for much of the trip, to record a narrow victory in the Group 2 Sire’s Produce Stakes.

The colt was a maiden, until he put his best foot forward, making most of the play to scrape in by the narrowest of margins, a short half head.

Sircconi was working his way into a win after finishing second to Eshtiraak at Sandown a couple of weeks ago, and started a warm favourite at Flemington.

Eshtiraak was a short priced favourite, punters could see no further than him after winning at his last three outings.

No excuses could be made for him, Damian Oliver had him perched up in a winning position, he simply failed to go on, he may have had enough for the present..

Linda Meech hasn’t received the opportunities since Peter Moody retired, however, the skills are still there as was shown in a tight finish.

Trainer Peter Morgan has been absent in Melbourne of late, this win will give him a lot of confidence.

He was a former jockey in Adelaide where he stood his ground with the stewards, when it was suggested he should have a haircut, the occasion was at Victoria Park, when stewards stood him down thirty minutes before the last race because he refused.

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Sircconi winning the Sires Produce Stakes

Flemington crowd down

Super Saturday was not that super at Flemington on Saturday, again the attendances were down from 21,729 last year, to 17,993 on a perfect day, good horses made for good racing, but not everybody thought the same.    

There needs to be some soul searching to find a reason, or is there one? The pub tabs and casinos are not complaining, and there is no entrance fee, food and liquor prices could be in for some attention.

I Am A Star wins Kewney

Iam a Star, there is no disputing that, her star shone brightly at Flemington when she won the time honoured Group2 Kewney Stakes at head quarters.

The filly was no good thing at the distance, however, she had Dean Yendell on top and he doesn’t know the meaning of defeat.

Mornington is home to the filly where she is trained by Shane Nichcols, she seldom puts in an ordinary run, she is a model of consistency.

“That was gutsy, that one she had the run of the race and then the length of the straight to pull that off, she didn’t give in did she, “said Shane Nichols.  

She has a special place in her trainer’s heart, she never stops trying, nor does her rider Dean Yendell, if there is anything left in he will get it out.

He has come up the hard way, it was never handed to him on a plate, he had to go and get it, he is a credit to the riding profession.

A winner at Flemington on Saturday, a double at Mildura on Sunday, and back at Moonee Valley on Monday.

The Kewney Stakes has Group status as it should have, named in honour of A V Kewney who served the Victoria Racing Club as secretary from 1925 to 1946, on his retirement he was presented with a silver tray with the name of each committee man inscribed in long hand on the well earned trophy.

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I Am A Star winning Kewney Stakes 

Redkirk Warrior blows them away

Redkirk Warrior won a race at Sandown back in November, but surely nobody in their wildest dreams would believe he could blow a field away as he did in the Newmarket Handicap.

He was first up since November, he won as if he had just joined in the field 100 metres out, he made good horses look quite inferior.

It is now the Doncaster with $3 million up for grabs, the reverse way shouldn’t be a concern for him, he is adaptable to the reverse way of going as he has won in Hong Kong.

Star Turn made the majority of the pace in the early running with Extreme Choice never far away on the outside, and Redkirk Warrior near the rail and running well, but little notice taken of him.

Most were waiting for the swoopers they didn’t turn up and Star Turn looked to have it on a plate, Extreme Choice was going nowhere, until a rocket from space, in the form of Redkirk Warrior, blew the field away.    

No excuses for the beaten brigade, Sheidel was there and so was Super Cash for a while and The Quarterback didn’t see which way they went, Voodoo Lad came into the race when it was over.

Redkirk Warrior will now go to Sydney, there will be no rider change, Regan Bayliss will be the pilot, he will keep the saddle warm.

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Redkirk Warrior winning in a breeze

Equal favourites run 1-2 in Aust. Cup

There was little between equal favourites, Humidor and Jameka, and little in the finish with the Darren Weir gelding Humidor scoring by a long neck.

It was a solidly run race, Ecuador making sure of that before surrendering on the home turn, it was left to Jameka to bring the runners into the straight.

Reminiscent of her run in the Caulfield Cup she was under a full head of steam in the stretch, and looking like a winner.

Flemington is a long straight, she had been there before, but as was seen, the horse she shared favouritism with, Humidor, was beginning to close quickly.

Jameka never gave in, nor did Humidor, he had the better of the mare by a long neck, Exospheric was third, there are sure to be excuses for the unplaced brigade, the most plausible, not good enough.

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Humidor defeating Jameka in Aust. Cup        


Gentleman Jockey Dies at 95

Gentleman jockey, Jack Purtell, has passed away quietly in Queensland, aged 95 years.

He was a quiet man, there was nothing ostentatious about Jack, he was the perfect example of a gentleman that could never be questioned.

Back in the thirties trainers didn’t want apprentices, nor did owners; they were only a means of cheap labour.

Jack had visions of becoming a jockey like Jim Pike or Darby Munro, he walked the streets of Mordialloc and nearby Epsom, there were no takers, trainers could hardly feed the labour they had, there was no room for any more.

He was about to give up when he knocked on the door of Ted Temby, he was about to say no when a tear appeared in Jack’s eye, Temby didn’t want to break down as well so Jack had a job.

The senior jockeys at that time received the bulk of the race riding, apprentices rode track work, mucked out boxes and did all the various other chores that goes with stable life, while race riding was very restricted, owners wanted the senior jockeys to ride their horses in races.

Ted Temby described Jack as a lovely young man, he was like a son to him, however, breaking him in as a jockey was not easy, the stable was short of a good horse.

It was neighbouring trainer, Sid Ferguson, who gave the young jockey his first big break, when he was engaged to ride Velocity in the Caulfield Cup.

He was thrust into the major league, now including visiting riders from Sydney, Jack Thompson. Billy Cook, Maurice McCarten, Fred Shean, Neville Sellwood, and the master himself, Darby Munro.

Velocity won that Caulfield Cup by a head from Reading, while Evergreen was third, the favourite, Lucrative, ridden by Maurice McCarten finished seventh.

Jack rode the first of his three Melbourne Cups winners 1947, the grey Hiraji for F W Hughes, a major businessman with huge property holdings in New South Wales, plus a stud, raced several horses but seldom bothered going to the races.

He missed out riding his second Melbourne Cup winner in 1950 when he preferred Alister as his mount to Comic Court, who was ridden by Pat Glennon who won easily by three lengths.

Jack had ridden Comic Court the previous year, believing he was not a genuine stayer and Alister had won the Derby well by three lengths ridden by Reg Heather, but he could make the Cup weight, owner, Bill Ballock, knew that, hence Purtell was approached and accepted.

At this stage Jack had formed a close association with V R C committee E A Underwood, three years later the partnership won the Melbourne Cup with Wodalla.

He won the Cup the following year on Rising Fast under unusual circumstances, when an owner had sacked a jockey for winning a race.

When Rising Fast arrived from New Zealand, his owner, L R Spring, booked Bill Williamson to ride the gelding throughout the horse’s spring campaign.

Williamson had won three weight for age races on Rising Fast, leading into the Caulfield Cup he was a raging favourite at 7-4.

Then it all went hay wire when Williamson had a fall in the Thousand Guineas from Impartial, and broke his foot and was out for the entire spring, a replacement rider had to be found for Rising Fast.

The substitute rider was Arthur Ward, a highly capable jockey from Sydney, Rising Fast won the Caulfield Cup by three quarters of a length, however, instead of applauding Ward for his ride, Mr Spring was critical, that was the only time Arthur Ward ever rode Rising Fast.

Spring immediately engaged Jack Purtell to ride Rising Fast for the remainder of the spring; they combined to win four races, including the Cox Plate, giving Jack Purtell his third Melbourne Cup victory.

I am not sure how Jack Purtell would rate Rising Fast, I’m sure it would be very high, he was the toughest horse seen since Phar Lap, Rising Fast won seven Group 1 races over a period of 35 days.

Jack Purtell was a great ornament to racing, over a very long period as a jockey he was only suspended once.

It was common for our jockeys to ride in England during the sixties in the off season, here Pat Glennon had the most success, Scobie Breasley trained on in the UK, Ron Hutchinson stayed on and rode several winners, and Jack Purtell was among classic winners when he won the Oaks on Long Look for Vincent O’Brien in 1965.

On retirement from racing Jack Purtell had no visions of taking out a trainer’s license, he had memories of the hardships his old boss Ted Temby had to endure training, it was no life of luxury, the only success in racing, being a jockey and a trainer was the late Maurice McCarten.

Jack Purtell won seven premierships in Melbourne, and on retirement from racing he joined the Victorian Racing Club’s panel of stewards for some years, before final retirement in Queensland.

He will be remembered as a great jockey, a good person and a highly respected man.

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Rising Fast ridden by Jack Purtell


Stablemate Topples Favourite

Odds on favourite, Madeenaty, had just beaten off Sam’s Image after a determined challenge in the 3AW Football Stakes, when along came her stable mate, Ploverset, and blew both of them away to score by a long neck.

The winner, Ploverset, was having her first start, obviously she has some ability as it was a good effort, she drifted in the market to start at $21, whereas her stable companion, Madeenaty, was always favourite starting at odds on.

David Hayes offered some excuses for the beaten favourite Madeenaty saying, “she got a bit upset before the race and never got a lot of peace in front, we thought the winner was a nice filly but may have needed the run,” said David Hayes.

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Ploverset defeating her stable mate 

A sunny autumn day of 28 degrees did little to attract patrons to Flemington, the crowd numbering 8,443, compared to 11,660 at the corresponding meeting of last year.

With standing room in the mounting yard very much reduced, it was packed to capacity with just the one entrance, previously there were two.

It may not be a true reflection on current race crowds; however, the Victoria Racing Club will need to burn plenty of mid-night oil, as there is a lot of sorting to be done before the spring carnival arrives.

Bookmakers have suffered badly where they have been positioned, it is a bit like the passing parade, the only time they see people is when they are coming onto the course and going home.

Frances Tressady is a revered name at Flemington, and why not? She won the Derby and the Oaks in 1923, she was from the same family as Carlita who also won the Derby and the Oaks nine years earlier, both were from the same tap root, White And Blue, foaled in Germany in 1876.

The win of Turbo Miss earned the mare Black Type, while her pedigree cannot be altered her price tag can, she is now a very saleable mare, her value would at least tripled in the time it took her to run 1400 metres of the race.  

Former jockey, Darren Murphy, was standing in for the boss Darren Weir, who was absent, having a short break after a busy time at the various yearling sales.

Turbo Miss deserved her win; she has had a break of nine months off the scene and has been placed at Caulfield and Moonee Valley since returning to racing

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Turbo Miss wins the Frances Tressady.

 Ciaron Maher was the major buyer at the Premier Yearling Sales in Melbourne, he settled on 11 lots for a total of $2,780,000, with the highest Lot 259, a colt by I Am Invincible, for $1.4 million, he was sure to top the sale when bidding opened at half a million dollars.

The colt, a bay, was a half brother to the Newmarket winner The Quarterback, trained by Robbie Griffiths who was the under bidder on the colt.

The sale grossed $53,957,000 over the three days, the average being $120,000.

Four months have passed and still no decision has been reached in the cobolt episode, it is dragging on with no obvious decision in sight.

The pressure on both trainers is enormous and quite unnecessary, surely they are entitled to know where their future stands, both are married men with families, they are entitled to a better deal than they are receiving.

Hey Doc had a bit on his rivals with a convincing win in the Australian Guineas, he was surely the form horse in the field and that was how it worked out.

He was given the gun run by Luke Currie, the only time he came off the rails was momentary on the home turn and it didn’t take him long to get back there, on straightening up he soon had the issue under control.

Tony McEvoy has visions that Hey Doc will develop into a weight for age horse, he can run a strong mile and there are more wins in store with no studs to pick him up as he is a gelding.

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Hey Doc wins Guineas 

 Houtzen remains unbeaten after four starts, winning by four lengths at Eagle Farm, but whether she goes to Sydney for the Golden Slipper Stakes is doubtful.

The filly, by I Am Invincible, carried 63 kg (9 stone 13) in the old, but not a record as some may think.

That is safely held by Eye Liner, she had won seven races in succession when facing the starter in the Danndine Handicap with 69 kg (10-st 12lb), winning by six lengths at Eagle Farm.

A record crowd assembled for a final day at Randwick for the Champagne Stakes, just the six runners with the three best fillies in the land, Eye Liner, Reisling and Citius, and that is how they finished.  



Ducimus, a $700,000 yearling, winner of the Talindert, kept his record intact, but only after having to retain it in the steward’s room.

Craig Williams, rider of the third horse Sanadaat, fired in an objection against Ducimus, being declared the winner of the race, due to interference occurring in the closing stages of the race, after a reasonable hearing the protest was thrown out and correct weight was declared.

While Ducimus has a clean sheet, as far as his race record is concerned, but the balance was still very much in the red.

A Ballarat win yielded just $12,650, while the Flemington win was an improved pay day of $72,000, there is still a fair way to go.

However, Ducimus has loads of potential, he is an improving youngster, he is good hands with the Hawkes team, they will access the best path to take.

He was well supported starting at half of his opening quote, best backed to beat him was the Sydney colt, Taking Aim, out of the Snowden stable from Sydney.

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Ducimus winningthe Talindert Stakes

Kenedna continued the winning spree of Darren Weir, when she put paid to the opposition in the Group 3, The Vanity.

It was a pretty even field with exception of Legless Veuve who started favourite, yet she was still backable ahead of Harlow Gold and Extra Olives, while the winner, Kenedna, blew like a north wind.

With the aid of blinkers, which did the trick, she settled well in the field and was not asked for an effort until entering the straight, she didn’t shirk the issue either.

Darren Weir explained the use of blinkers, there is a time to use them, usually when a horse has had a couple of runs, when they are rock hard fit otherwise they can race a bit too fiercely.

“She has shown us at home that she has the ability to run a mile and we a very happy with her.”

It was the perfect win, the perfect ride, that’s about how you sum up the result of the Group3 The Vanity. won by Kenedna and ridden a great race by Damian Lane, the most improved jockey to come out of Western Australia in quite a while.

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Kenedna winning in a breeze 

Hey Doc put punters in the right mood when he saluted in the C S Hayes Stakes, named in honour of a great trainer and a popular racing identity.

It was a fitting result as the winner is trained by Tony McEvoy, who was foreman for the late Colin Hayes for 30 years.

Hey Doc has proved an excellent money spinner, winning five times from 11 starts, and only out of a place three times.  

He is the type of horse that retains people in racing; he has never run a bad race, a model of consistency.  

He flew the gates and was never far away in running, he was ready when called upon, “he has to go to the Guineas now we will try him again at a mile, he deserves it and Luke Currie rides his so well,” said Tony McEvoy.

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Hey Doc wins the C S Hayes

There was quite some mellow drama associated to the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes when three horses had to be withdrawn at the barrier.

All the runners appeared in the gate and a start eminent when The Quarterback seemed to crash down, causing a chain reaction effecting Faatinah and also Orujo, who were in adjacent barrier positions.

The original field of 12 runners was soon reduced to nine, with three late withdrawals at the barrier, all three were outsiders, it hardly affected betting.

Weather it affected any of the others runners is hard to say, although the favourite, Flying Artie, was throwing his head about a lot in running.

However, he didn’t really appear to be settled in the post parade, his mind may have been on something else.

The winner, Terravista, staged a great performance; he was friendless in the market place drifting from $10 to $15, with few takers

Terravista has won 11 of 25 race starts, and near $2.5 million in stakes, be hasn’t been duly over raced, he had to bow to Chautauqua last year, but there was no bowing in this time in the Lightning.    

His trainer, Joseph Pride, wanted the gelding to be held up and wait for a late run with Corey obliging to the letter.

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Terravista gets up in Lightning  


Champion Winx Soars in Apollo

Champion galloper Winx showed she was in to give Sydney racegoers an autumn to remember, with an awesome first up win in Monday’s Group 2 Apollo Stakes, over 1400 metres at Royal Randwick.

In emulating the legendary Phar Lap with 14 consecutive wins, Winx cruised to the line ahead of Hartnell by two and three quarters lengths.

At her first start since the record breaking eight length win in the Cox Plate, Winx couldn’t have been any more impressive racing clear of a class field, as if it was a mere walk in the park.

The highest ranked turf horse in the world she will continue on now to three Group One races, the time honoured Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes, before her grand final this preparation, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

If she remains unbeaten at the conclusion of the autumn racing in Sydney, she will seriously threaten the all time stakes winning record created by Makybe Diva of $14,526,685.

Connections are not getting carried away with future plans, except the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October is a strong possibility.

“A very humbling experience to say the least,” a proud Chris Waller said, “it’s a huge privilege to be a part of her career.”

“Hugh does such a fantastic job, he’s Mr Cool, he makes it so easy, with a field of 14 runners he has to get out at the right time and unleash his challenge”.

For winning rider Hugh Bowman the fairy tale story of Winx continues, he is very proud of the achievements of his best four legged friend.

“She’s a racehorse; she’s an athlete, she’s an exciting piece of work and it’s a privilege to be a part of it,” said Hugh Bowman.

Winx was a $230,000 purchase at 2013 Magic Millions Sales on the Gold Coast, and since earned $9,493,425 for connections, which includes the Apollo trophy.

She is a daughter of the former outstanding international sire Street Cry, she was included in the draft of Coolmore on behalf of the Camilleri family of Fairway Thoroughbreds, and is from their Stakes winning Al Akbar mare, Vegas Showgirl.

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Winx wins the Apollo Stakes


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