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Ibicenco wins staying test

Ibicenco was in his element at Sandown on Saturday over 3200 metres (2 miles), winning the Sportingbet Sandown Cup in what was a genuine staying test.

Surely the penny must have dropped by now, our racing authorities have got to look at Sandown more objectively as the best track in Australia as a staying test.

That was again in evidence on Saturday with the win of Ibicenco the time might have been a bit out on what they ran in the Melbourne Cup but who cares about that, the overall spectacle, plus the terrain, is brilliant.

Reuben Percival drew the outside; it didn’t take Vlad Duric long to set him alight, he led around the first turn and remained there well into the straight until he was seriously challenged.

Ibicenco who had settled well back in the field early, began to take closer order in the middle stages of the race, his rider, Glen Boss, didn’t want to lose sight of the leader.

The winner, formerly trained by Luca Cumani, will remain here under the care of Peter Moody, with the Sydney Cup at Easter high on the intended agenda.

Punters took the lead that Ibicenco was running into form, he opened up at $3.50, drifted slightly thereafter, coming back to start at his opening quote.

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 Ibicenco winning the Sportingbet Sandown Cup


Direct Charge heading for Sydney

Direct Charge has earned himself a berth in the $250,000 Inglis Classic, at Rosehill Gardens in January, after his sound performance winning the Hong Kong Jockey Club Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington.

A race steeped in history has proved a stepping stone for quite a few two year olds that  have gone on to win the Golden Slipper Stakes, the honour role includes Canny Lad, Fine And Dandy, Baguette and Vain.

While Direct Charge had the experience of two previous starts, he was neglected in betting, with punters preferring to put their faith in Crack A Roadie and Citations, starting equal favourites.

The winner, a $105,000 purchase at the Classic Sales, has given his connections a quick return having earned $104,500 in prize money, plus the VOBIS bonus.

Robbie Laing, the trainer of the winning colt, went into the race with a ton of confidence after the Moonee Valley run when he finished fourth, travelling wide for much of the race.

No fault could be laid at Steven Arnold; he was the victim at the Valley on that occasion, it was hard to get across to the rail with horses being kicked up on his inside.

At Flemington the plan was to let him run along, up near the lead, he gave plenty when headed by Shamus Award, there was merit in the win. 

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Direct Charge wins the Maribyrnong Plate


Green Moon Wins For Lloyd

Lloyd Williams has never been afraid to put his hand up to buy a racehorse; he has spent a fortune in the quest for racing’s greatest reward, the Melbourne Cup.

Green Moon’s win gave Williams his fourth Melbourne Cup in 31 years, the first being Just A Dash in 1981, the others were What A Nuisance, 1985, and Efficient, in 2007.

Williams, a former V R C committeeman, rarely goes to the races now, preferring the lounge at his city penthouse, yesterday it was in the comfort of his palatial home at Mount Macedon.

Son Nick, the operations manager on race days, was ecstatic for his father, and all the people employed at the farm that put in so much time and effort, it was a great result.

“I will have to have another look to fully appreciate the win, we are over the moon” he said.

Brett Prebble flew in from Hong Kong to take the winning ride on Green Moon, who was always travelling well in a forward position, while there were a couple of incidents of interference, he escaped all of that, having an uninterrupted passage all the way

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Green Moon winning the Melbourne Cup


In fact both of the Williams runners, Green Moon and Mourayan, were both handy to the lead, with the latter finishing seventh, picking up $125,000 in prize money.

The win was a bonanza for bookmakers with Grey Moon paying $20.00, with last year’s winner, Dunaden, favourite at $7.00, Americain and Mount Athos were prominent in betting, starting at $7.50 .

There was not a lot of support for Green Moon after failing in the Cox Plate, with rumours circulating he had a problem and would be spelled.

Glencadam Gold took up the running, as he did in the Caulfield Cup, and faded out well before the home turn, yet in yesterday’s Cup he led well into the straight to finish seventh

Fiorente was impressive, running second, beaten a length at his first start here, Gai is sure to be spruiking him for next year, but a lot of water will go the under the bridge between now and then.

Both of Luca Cumani representatives performed fairly, both earning prize money, with Mount Athos finishing fifth and My Quest For Peace tenth, but both were missing at the business end of the race.

The big disappointment was Dunaden, at no stage of the race did he look like playing any positive role, he was near last for most of the trip, the spark was missing, maybe he left it behind when he won the Caulfield Cup.

He raced like a tired horse, one who would have preferred to be at home in the stable, rather than lumping 59 kg around at Flemington, over 3200 metres.

Americain, winner of the Melbourne Cup two years ago, and slaughtered when he ran fourth last year, again he did his best, but sadly his best was not good enough  

Trainers and jockeys are so quick to quote a horse and how well it is going to win, in the end the horse knows more and he or she are not saying.

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Duchess of Cornwall presenting Nick Williams with winning trophy



Alcopop's deserving win

Alcopop, so often the bridesmaid in Group 1 races, achieved his reward when he won the $1 million Mackinnon Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington.

The eight year old gelding deserved his win after finishing second to Ocean Park in the Caulfield Stakes ,then was narrowly beaten in the Caulfield Cup by Dunaden.

The gelding is unlikely to race again this spring, while others may continue onto the final day, he will be heading back to Victor Harbor, to a warm welcome from the locals where he has a cult following. 

The imported grey, Glass Harmonium, who was out to repeat his win in the race of last year, made sure there was going to be no loafing, he set up a solid pace from the outset, he was still eight lengths in front coming to the final turn

Ocean Park, the weight for age find of the spring, and the odds on favourite, didn't finish the race off like he had previously, when his races had been spaced two weeks apart leading into the Cox Plate

The quick back up may not have suited him, he did have a hard run in the Cox Plate, he peaked on the day and is another that is likely to go for a rest 

It doesn't look as if December Draw is going to recapture the form of 12 months ago, he wilted badly in the Caulfield Cup two weeks ago, and didn't perform much better in the Mackinnon Stakes.


Damien's Derby

Damian Oliver was seen at his best in winning the Victoria Derby on Fiveandahalfstar, who was not seen as a serious contender, except for those close to the stable

 Whilst he went into the classic as a winner, at his two starts over staying trips, one a Maiden and the other a BM 72, against a mere handfull of runners, there were no signs about reading, please back me .

As a result the gelding was unwanted in betting proceedings at $41.00, and there were not too many takers about at those odds either .

Oliver had Fiveandahalfstar parked right behind the leader Jimando, who was cutting out a merry pace, Super Cool was keeping in touch, while It's A Dundeel was so far back he would have needed the assistance of a cab to have had any chance.

 James McDonald again allowed the colt to drop too far out of his ground, whether he has trained off from being up too long is hard to say, punters didn't get much of a run from the favourite.

 It's A Dundeel will now be spelled and return to Sydney for the Australian Derby at Randwick, no doubt Fiveandahalfstar will follow the same pattern, it is difficult to say, the attrition rate between the Melbourne spring and the Sydney autumn can be high.

 Super Cool ran right up to his win in the Vase at Moonee Valley, he held his position for the entire journey, never giving up at any stage, he is bound to become a better horse in the autumn, with his mission likely to be the Australian Guineas on his home track, Flemington.

 The win of Fiveandahalfstar was a bonus for Anthony Cummings, he bred the gelding and also trained his sire, Hotel Grand, among the finest sires you would wish to see.


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