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Merson Cooper had a Proud History

For what has been a highly successful spring carnival racing goes to Sandown on Saturday, to wind up proceedings of the 2017 Spring Carnival.

Sandown is among the best race tracks in Australia, a big spacious course it affords every horse a chance with its long run in, it is no place for squibs.

Among the feature races for the juveniles is the Merson Cooper Stakes, formerly run at Caulfield, among the leading two year old races in Victoria at one stage, until 1970 when the brilliant filly, Dual Choice, proved a popular winner.

Once the Blue Diamond Stakes appeared on the scene the Merson Cooper was scraped, it was not included in the programming for three years, from 1971 until 1974.  

The racing bible, (Millers Guide), records the first running of the Merson Cooper Stakes in 1946, won by Chaperone.


Gai Succeeds In Oaks

Gai Waterhouse has finally the Oaks, one of the few races that have escaped her in- a brilliant career.

The Oaks has often fallen away, but that was not the case this year, with three last start winners, in a field of twelve, made for a very competitive race.

Pinot had to win it the hard way, taking the field up to the tear away leader, Rimraam, mid race, and fought off all challengers up the long Flemington straight, to win so impressively.

She has now put three wins together from six starts and would be a logical favourite for the Oaks at Royal Randwick in the Autumn.

Of course no mention of her sire, Pierro, the only Golden Slipper winner ever to sire a classic winner out of his first crop of foals to race.

Pinot 163 Jack GAI Mobile

Gai wins her first Oaks


Flemington 4----11---- 17

The Carbine Club Stakes 1600m Time 1.35.35, there was plenty of excitement in the Gelagotis camp after the win of Levendi, with trainer Peter Gelagotis commenting, “the colt by Pierro had no luck at Caulfield in the Guineas last time out, and I thought is was going to happen again here today, I think with time he will get out to at least 2000 metres, and possibly a mile and a half.”

His dam, Lipari, was placed in the Morphettville Guineas and the grand dam, Tully Thunder, won the Australasian Oaks besides three other races, there is upside in the family and scope to go forward.”

“We nearly had bad luck again, except the horse worked his way out of what could have been an awkward position, he overcame that and finished the race off well.”

“We are in no hurry, there is no schedule to be met, he is a good horse and he is going to be given every chance.”

“The Sandown Guineas is an option, but again we will assess that if he has two weeks in the paddock, and he will be a stronger version going into the autumn.”

  G H Mumm Wakeful Stakes 2000m Time 2.03.99 trainer, John Sargeant, comments were straight forward after the win of Luvaluva, “I’ll leave it to Blake, he is firing well at present, he rode her well in the Wakeful.”

Luvaluva may be coming right at the right time, she has had the five starts for one single win at Goulburn, her record is hardly impressive, however, her win at Flemington couldn’t be dismissed, it was a great preliminary for the Oaks.

“It will give the filly a lot of confidence as she has not been this way of going before, she will benefit from the experience. “

The Wakeful Stakes is the most reliable guide to any of the classics in the Southern Hemisphere.

Skip Sprint 1100m Time 1.03.29 trainer Darren Weir’s comments are usually forthright concerning Lyuba, “she never runs a bad race, she had a problem with a hind leg, we sorted that one out, she has been racing terrific.”

“The best part of buying these sort of horses, for not a lot of money, you can put in some good mates, if the horses don’t turn out any good, as they usually do, no one gets burnt, you cut your losses quickly.”

 Lexus Stakes 2500m Time 2.35.41

Co trainer Adrian Bott commented, “Cismontane is a pretty fair horse, he is putting it all together, now leading all the way, he has earned his place in the Melbourne Cup now. “

“We have a good horse here, he led all the way and never stopped giving and giving, he is improving with racing.”

“Leading all the way at Flemington is no mean effort, plus he showed a lot of fight in the straight, we are pretty happy with that run.”

“He is improving with each run that was a hard slog today, he has come through it very well, he just keeps on improving along the way, we are taking it one step at a time.”  

 Coolmore Stud Stakes 1200m Time 1.09.10

Stand in trainer, Aaron Purcell, couldn’t wipe the smile off his face after the barn storming performance of Merchant Navy; he has graduated to Group 1 status in winning the Coolmore Stud Classic.

A stud career is already beckoning; he is now certainly sire material after that win, coming from near last at the 800 metres, getting up to score in the last possible stride.

“There is a bloke somewhere in the world with curly hair taking in the Breeders Cup, he has such an opinion of this horse, it is just amazing,” said Aaron Purcell.

Purcell has always been a good trainer and has been trusted as the custodian of the stable in the absence of Cairon Maher

 Myer Classic 1600m Time 1.35.20

Trainer, Anthony Freedman, commented, “The other day we were initially disappointed at Caulfield when Shoals was beaten in the 1000 guineas.”

The winner was a high quality filly, I didn’t want to go four runs in succession in August, I decided three runs on end was enough.”

“We thought she would run well today with that weight advantage, this filly is probably a bit underrated, she is not very big, she never wins by a great margin, saying that, she is not big but tough.”

“I don’t think she will grow much, but she will thicken out, obviously a mile is about as far as she needs”.

She completed a double for her sire, Fastnet Rock, as the previous winner, Merchant Navy, is also by Fastnet Rock, he is among Danehill’s greatest sons.

 AAMI Victoria Derby 2500m Time 2.37.55

Trainer David Payne commented, “we have won it today, it makes up for the defeat of Praecido, by Lion Tamer, in 2010, and Criterion in his year drew badly.,”

“We always thought this was the right one for Ace High’s preparation, he has been fantastic, we have never had one hiccup, we even got the right draw, it has worked terrific.”

“We didn’t run him in between the Champion Stakes and today, you can have one race too many and come undone.”

” You can work them at home, it takes the pressure off, “David Payne is an ex South African training out of Rosehill.

   Kennedy Mile 1600m Time 1.35.01

Trainer Chris Waller comments, “Shillelagh will ultimately go to stud, but not this season as it is too late, we will have her back here again in the autumn.”

“She likes firm tracks, that suited her today, we have a good young team building up for the autumn.”

 Tab Multiplier Stakes 1200m Time 1.08.90

Trainer, Ms Udyta Clarke, was too overcome with emotion to be interviewed, it was a big occasion for a 70 year old lady to saddle up Rich Charm, a $5.5 favourite, and win the last race at Flemington on Derby Day.  

Had there been a float handy travelling to Cranbourne she could have even jumped ship, she was pretty nervous when she saw the horses parading before the race.

She had her concerns of how her horse Rich Charm could possibly win, but the punters didn’t, he was a pronounced favourite at barrier rise.

Udyta Clarke is a remarkable lady, she is great for racing, it can get dull sometimes, she livens it up and her favourite jockey, Patrick Moloney.


Caulfield 21—10—17

Resimax Plate 1400 m Time 1.22.94

Co trainer, Gai Waterhouse, commented re Our Crown Mistress,” she is an improving filly, big and rangy by Star Witness, she was bought by Johnnie and Susie Mackever, through a bloodstock agency in England, she is a very serious filly.”  

“Her next start will be at Flemington, we have taken her to the provincial level where we have won, but we thought this was a winnable race here.”

“We were confident she did have the form on the board, she was ready to take the next step.”

 Gai 2 Mobile

Gai Waterhouse

Polytrack Gothic Plate 1400 m Time 1.23.87

Trainer Darren Weir commented re Snitzepeg,” we took him up to Queensland and he was a little disappointing, his Flemington win was a bit of a surprise, we will head to the Carbine Club Stakes and onto the Sandown Guineas, Trust In A Gust and Mahuta, they were similar horses, they came through these types of races.”

“They have to be tough to stand up to the work to get then fit, that’s what Moody used to do and it works.”

“Snitzepeg has been a bit of a surprise, although he did spell well up there, he has made natural improvement, this colt was selected by John Foote along with four others, they have all won city races.”

Darren Weir Mobile

Darren Weir 

 N Z Bloodstock Ethereal Stks. 2000m Time 2.02.71

Co Trainer Gai Waterhouse commented re Pinot, “ ‘I didn’t worry about the barrier as I knew she would go forward, just as I was watching the race when the speed dropped off and she was able to take up a good position and control the race, she looks a natural staying filly.”

“She hasn’t raced for three weeks which I thought was a slight disadvantage, we were discussing even before this race should we run in this before the Wakeful, and then the Oaks.”

“This was the filly we selected for the owners when they came for the Easter Sales, we chose this daughter of Pierro, who won the Golden Slipper Stakes.”

 “She cost $200,000 which was well below the average, then James Bester took a share, she was just a little wippet of a thing, she has since developed into a quality filly, we will now press on to the Oaks.”

“I made my mind up I wanted to win V R C Oaks, I have some nice fillies around me, it would be great to win the Oaks with one on them.”

Ladbrokes Classic Stks. 2000 m Time 2.02.48

Trainer, Darren Weir, comments re Cliff’s Edge “it’s amazing sometimes when you get on a bit of a roll.”

The right horses with the right jockeys, he is now tops to go to Bendigo for the Cup that leads into the four days at Flemington.”

‘Cliff’s Edge, he was ridden a great race by John Allen, nothing bothers him, he rides flat horses and jumpers alike.”

“Allen is about the only jockey around now that mixes flat riding and the jumps, he takes it all in his stride, it was quite common to mix flat riding and over the jumps in a previous era.”

“The horse has a good form line and you can only win, he is a great chance in the Bendigo Cup, the mile and a half will suit him, you need a lot of things to go the right way, you need to draw a good barrier, I’m sure he will be among the favourites in the race.”


Moonga Stakes 1400 m Time 1.23.44

Trainer Darren Weir comments re Ulmann, ‘’he is a good horse, a bit of rain helped and the way the race was run, the winner ran well and second horse, Burning Front, was very

When it was suggested that you had to be on the speed Weir refuted that, “ Ulmann came from well back in the field, that horse was stalking them.”

“He is going to Perth, we will take a few over hopefully, anything can happen, you pick out 10 and finishing up taking 2.”

“Lindsay Smith said we can use his place, which is a huge advantage, with the number of horses we have, you have to chase the Carnivals.”


Harrolds Caulfield Sprint 1000m Time 56.28

Trainer Henry Dwyer comments re Snitty Kitty,” a race record that is all good, every race she runs in she either wins or runs second.”

“She does it without raising a sweat, she is a dynamic mare and keeps on improving, she has been winning restricted races and now won a Group 2 race.”

“That was a Group 2 she went around in today; she pulled up as if she had never been around.”

“She hasn’t put it all together yet, once she does that I think she is going to be a pretty good mare.”

“I would like to see her in the Oakleigh Plate in the Autumn, her real chance to win a Group1.”

“Now that she won so well today, she will get a break, there is no point in going to Flemington for a Listed race.”

Henry Dwyer is well aware he has a very good mare, still improving, he will rest her up and dream about the Group1 Oakleigh Plate in the Autumn, a win would increase her value tenfold.”.

Henry Dwyer Mobile

Henry Dwyer

Caulfield Cup 2400 m Time 2.27.66

Co Trainer David Hayes comments re Boom Time,” we thought he would run well although we had other horses in the race, he was a good place chance, it was just an amazing run, I just saw him getting out, he hit the line strong.”

“It was a run that reminded me of Fraar winning the Caulfield Cup 24 years ago, ridden by Peter Hutchinson.”

“I knew the horse had a bowed tendon all his life and had run a shocker in the Sydney Cup, he was building up and was not very marketable at all, but I didn’t want to see the horse leave the property so I purchased him myself.”

“We are still friends with the former owner, Tim Loxton, he phones regularly, he is sure to ring tonight. “

David Hayes 2 Mobile

David Hayes 




Caulfield 14—10—17

Debutant Stakes. 1000 m Time 58.30

Co trainer, Tom Dabernig, commented re Qafila, “when Damian Oliver got her into the clear our filly was too strong late in the race, I thought we were not going to pick up that other filly, Sacred Sword, to her credit she didn’t give in.”

“She was pretty quiet prior to the race; she got a bit funny going into the gates, all that tells me there is improvement to come.”

I think we have a nice filly here, she knuckled down well after coming from well back I n the field, at the 800 metres.”

Is she a Magic Millions filly? “There are a couple of options, the fillies race on Melbourne Cup Day, or the Maribyrnong Plate on the final day. “

“We will then put her on ice and await the Magic Millions in January.

Tom Dabernig Mobile

Tom Dabernig

Thoroughbred Club Stks 1200 m Time 1.09.52

Co trainer, Gai Waterhouse, comments re Invincible Star,” she’s got scope, that’s what you are looking for, is scope and speed,s he needed that from the outside draw, that is what you are looking for, scope and good cruising speed to get a win.”

‘Steven utilised her speed, she won here last season, we are here for these fillies races, they have programmed some nice races for the fillies, she could get up to a mile, we will wait and see, we will enjoy the sprint distances at present.”

Gai Waterhouse Mobile

Gai Waterhouse

Cape Grim Beef Stks. 1200 m Time 1.09.67

Trainer Tony McEvoy commented re Cool Passion,’‘ luckless at his first two, never got a look in at Balaklava, unlucky, not to have won the Listed Wiley Stakes against the boys the other day in Adelaide. “

“Coming over here to 1200 metres against mares, I was expecting a big performance, she was fabulous, she is getting better each time.”

“As to her future, I want to know, and what I would like to learn from her, in her training up the hills at Angaston, one tells me she will run further. it is hard to interfere with her great record at 1200, is very good, she has won eight races at that distance, there are plenty for her at 1200, if she could get to 1400 I would consider the Myer Stakes.”

Tony Mcevoy Mobile

Tony McEvoy

Herbert Power Stks. 2400 m Time 2.27.17

Trainer, Archie Alexander, comments re Lord Fandango,” we will see how he is, I would like to run in the Caulfield Cup depending on how the horse pulls up, he had quite a bit in hand, it’s a bit too early, we will have to wait and see how he pulls up, I would like to run.”

“He is improving, there is nothing wrong with his form, he won the Benalla Cup, he is maturing and the firm tracks do assist.”

“There is nothing wrong with his form, he is a light weight in form, it would be hard not to run, there is a lot of form around him."

Archie Alexander Mobile

Archie Alexander

Keno Weekend Hussler Stks. 1400 m Time 1.23.94

Co trainer, Tom Dabernig, comments re Fast ‘N’Rocking, “ he has won $1.3 million in prizemoney, he is certainly a great campaigner, although he doesn’t win that often, his record is 52 starts for six wins, and 12 placings

”There is a nice race on Oaks day that may suit him, a 1400 metres at Flemington, that is where we may go, it would suit with the long run in.”

“He did run second in a Blue Diamond, he has done his job and is a stable favourite, he loves it here, some of his best wins have been at Caulfield.”

Thousand Guineas 1600 m Time 1.36.27

Trainer, Aaron Purcell, comments re Aloisia,” it’s all a new experience being at Caulfield taking over a great bunch of horses from Cairon Maher.”

“Great staff and good owners, doing the best that I can, hoping to get the right results, so far it has been good.”

“A Group winner gives you a lot of confidence, taking over the Maher team I know them from afar, it is nice to get your hands on some very impressive thoroughbreds.”

“There is some very good guys here, we get along well, and with the win of Aloisia in the Thousand Guineas we will press onto the Oaks, she has now won the 1000 Guineas impressively.

Aaron Purcell Mobile

Aaron Purcell”

Ladbrokes Stks.WFA 2000 m Time 2.02.17

Trainer, Darren Weir, comments re Gailo Chop, “each run has been terrific, he has got fitter, and the step up in distance, and it looked a race if he could get to the front, he could control the race.”

“He got some cheap sectionals along the back, and gave a good kick, however, he wouldn’t have wanted it to be much further.”

“He will go to the Cox Plate for sure on what Winx did to that field last week, it is a long shot but racing can be a funny game sometimes.”  

“We have him in great order, he will run a good race, he is certainly fit enough, rock hard in fact, we will have to wait and see, each run has been terrific.”

Darren Weir Mobile

Darren Weir

Ladbrokes Caulfield Gns 1600 m Time 1.34.04

Trainer, Mick Price, comments re Mighty Boss,” look to be fair, there were better form horses than him in the race, he wasn’t the pick of the market, there were better horses in the race than him with better form than him.”

“We just had to persevere and persevere with him; I think he just peaked on the day to tell you the truth.”

“He was entitled to be 10th pick in the market; he had won just the one race at Sale, and ran a fair race in the Stutt Stakes at Moonee Valley.”

“He’s an easy sort of a horse, the girl that rides him has done a fantastic job with him, she has popped him over those little rubber jumps on Wednesday morning, something different for the horse.”

Mick Price Mobile

Micl Price

Toorak Hcp 1600 m Time 1.36.04

Trainer, Darren Weir, comments re Tosen Stardom, “It’s a relief that he has won a race here, he is a talented horse that has been plagued with problems, he has this amazing pedigree to back it up.”

It is important he can back up his pedigree, this was the key to get a few runs into him, instead of stopping and starting and getting him fit enough to race, he is a seven year old stallion.”

“He will make a great stallion, “but not in Australia, he needs to go back to Japan, he will be useless here, even if he goes to stud next year in 2018, his first crop of foals wont race until 2022, and he will be a twelve year old stallion.


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