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After riding for 30 years Robert Beattie hasn’t lost his touch yet, he took the short way along the rails to win the Tyrepower Wangaratta Handicap, on the grey gelding, Perfect Sir.

There are no signs of retiring at present, he keeps himself fit riding track work most mornings, and any spare time is spent on his farm.

He is a well known figure around the north – east of the state and over the border, he knows every track in the area like the back of his hand, and when to make the winning run.

Racing has changed quite a bit since he was apprenticed to the late Hal Hoysted, a big punting stable; when the money was on they seldom missed out.

There was the occasion when Foxwise was backed off the card in a Maiden race at Wagga, he went on to win 15 races in all, and usually the pilot was Robert Beattie

Trials are scheduled for Yarra Glen on the 21st of this month, at last something is becoming positive, racing should commence there soon after the course has been closed for three years.

Yarra Glen has always proved a popular racing venue, it is a great shame that the steeplechase course cannot be utilised, it is just going to waste and no one is giving it a second thought.

Jason Maskiell is doing his upmost to resurrect what was a brilliant career, one that has been literally torn to threads due to the indulgence of alcohol and drugs.

He is determined to resurrect what was a brilliant career, trainers lost faith in him and that is not always easy to regain.

Today he has a good book of rides at the Devonport Cup meeting, his Cup mount, The Cleaner, is outright favourite, a win would assist in restoring confidence.

There are still 161 horses remaining in the $1millon Blue Diamonds Stakes, after second declarations were taken today.

The Blue Diamond, to be decided on February 23, is the jewel in the crown of the Melbourne Racing Club’s autumn Carnival.

David Hayes has retained 19 of his 47 of his first declarations; Mick Price, trainer of last year’s winner Samaready, has declared 16 runners, and Peter Moody 12.

Connections of Saturday’s impressive winners, Diamond Glow at Caulfield, and Miracles Of Life, a nine lengths winner at Morphettville, will have to pay a late fee of $55,000 if they intend running in the race.

Children will not run short of activities when Kyneton race next Sunday, the theme being “Kids Day Out”

The Race Club is catering well for children, instead of the parents dragging the kids to the races, it might work in reverse, at least it is worth trying.

The Picnic meetings appear to be doing quite well, fields may be on the small side but crowds are good, while city meetings have lost their appeal, except at carnival time.


Whisper Downs putting it all together

Whisper Downs is shaping up as an emerging middle distance performer, having won at his last two starts in runaway fashion at Flemington, and now Caulfield.

Both of those wins have built up his confidence, he is now putting it all together well, relaxing in his races and finding the line, that is what maturity is all about.

He got a fair way back in the Robert Hunter Handicap that suited him, promising apprentice, Chad Schofield, rode him to perfection, he began to take closer order on the railway side of the course, and from there on he continued to make up ground.

The well backed Now And Zen, who was always prominent in running, didn’t show anywhere near the acceleration of the winner, only battled away to finished third.

While Whisper Downs holds his form he will return to David Hayes’s training property at Euroa, and a few days on the water walker will determine which direction the gelding will take.

He is by Churchill Downs, he fell a bit short of the best two year olds when racing, he was thereabouts in the major juvenile races, but there was always one to just beat him.

The last heard of him he was shipped out to Syria, he will have a long walk there to find a green patch to nibble.

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Whisper Downs - ridden by Chad Schofield


Tariana looking for Black Type

Tariana put a space between herself, and those that opposed her in winning the 1200 metres John Moule Handicap.

The win was clearly the most decisive and impressive on the eight race card, she jumped clearly from the gate and made a procession of the event thereafter.

While she is racing in such good form, she will be given the chance to include Black Type alongside her name, by going down to Hobart next month for the Bow Mistress Stakes.

Now would be the time to give her that chance at a Stakes race, she is a five year old, she retains her form and the fruit is ripe for the picking.

Her regular rider, Craig Newitt, stepped aside in favour of the claiming apprentice, Damien Thornton, he was able to claim the full 3kg reducing the mare’s weight down to 57 kgs.

Vain Attraction chased Tariana home again as she did when they last met on Boxing Day, there was a difference of 2 kgs in weight, this time the scales weighed in favour of Tariana.

She has definite brood mare potential being by Anabaa from Gabrieli a daughter of Red Ransom ,she is the first foal of her dam, also a winner.

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Tariana - ridden by Damian Thornton


Khalifa consistent

Khalifa, who has yet to miss a place in his five starts, was on top of his game at Caulfield, on Saturday, in winning the Swettenham Stud Summer Championship Heat 5 over 1400 metres.

He was there at each stage of the trip; he jumped well from the gate taking the position of one out until the field reached the home turn, thereafter he was the dominating factor, drawing right away to win well.

Michael Robb, restricted as far as weight is concerned, rode the prefect race, whilst it was a small field tactics played a role, he proved the master when it was time to go.

The gelding opened favourite and that is where he stayed, whilst there was backing for Al Aneed, he didn’t warrant the support, he raced well below his best and was never a chance.

Cornell showed a slight glimpse of form as he had been on the outer for quite a while, his run was encouraging enough, he could turn up in a similar type race before the better horses come in for the autumn.

The winner, Khalifa, is a good type of gelding, unlike his sire he is a chestnut by Barely A Moment, a Toorak Handicap winner who has slipped off the radar the last couple years, he has not been advertised in the sources where you look for sires.

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Khalifa with Michael Rodd up


First Command - no spent force

First Command showed he is far from a spent force when he blew his opposition away in winning the Mal Seccull Handicap.

We all know that Mal had a handy one in Manikato, and while First Command may not be in that class, he is still a pretty handy steed, as shown in winning at Caulfield on Saturday.

First up since October, when finishing last in the Schillaci Stakes, the seven year old gelding has found a new lease of life overcoming quite a few problems, including a throat operation, plus nagging fetlock ailments that have caused worries for the stable.

In the past he has proved a 1000 metres specialist at Caulfield and could follow the pattern again, he will be entered for the Oakleigh Plate, he finished fourth last year.

Go The Knuckle was the preferred favourite on recent form, as many may have thought that First Command was a spent force as he had not greeted the judge in over a year.

It is difficult to comment too much on the beaten brigade, Go The Knuckle was the best run in the race outside of the winner, Rocking Force ran a nice race but nine year old horses rarely win in the city.

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First Command - out on his own with Glen Boss


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