A look at the Flemington undercard

24 September 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

A look back on Spring Classics Preview Day at Flemington

Melbourne Cup a dream but not completely out of reach

Even on a Sunday the climb towards a start in the Group 1 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) is a step for someone and the Cup-winning trainer John Sadler had his four-year-old mare Foreign Raider make a slight move up the long order of entry by winning the Jeremy Cross Trophy over 1800-metres.

With a perfectly timed run by jockey Jamie Kah pouncing the lead halfway up the Flemington straight, the lightly raced Foreign Raider has progressed through benchmark classes and notched a third win in seven outings together with two placings.

“We hold an entry for the Melbourne Cup, but it is a pipedream,” Sadler said.

Prior to this event the Victorian-bred Foreign Raider, whose sire Tarzino won the 2015 Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), was equal 98th in the order of entry for Australia’s most famous race.

Autumn Carnival outlooks for Wolfy

Flemington-based trainer Nick Ryan has confidence in the ability of Wolfy but patience is likely to win out after the three-year-old colt’s victory in the Flemington Open Day over 1400-metres.

Originally slated as a Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) hope, the likelihood of targeting the Group 1 Australian Guineas over the mile at Flemington has a more realistic outlook at this stage, according to Ryan.

Now with two wins and as many minor placings in five starts, Wolfy delivered at his first Flemington race day outing.

“He’s continued to thrive throughout the preparation,” jockey Blake Shinn said.

“We know he is a horse that is promising, and as three-year-old he has a lot to deliver, but if you can create longevity you can make him into a good horse.

“I think we have one there.” 

Sydney visitor ticks straight box

Trainer Bryce Heys admits to not wanting to get too far ahead of where expensive mare Dancing Alone is currently at, but after winning the Paulele At Darley (1100m) he is satisfied that it was this mission accomplished in the four-year-old handling Flemington straight racing.

The winning time of 1:02.58 was about half-a-second above the Loveyamadly’s decade-old mark.

“I don’t want to get ahead of things,” Heys said.

“She has been unlucky at her past couple of starts and has been running good times.

“With time there’s more to come and her winning down the Flemington straight was a part of what we wanted to achieve.”

Dancing Alone was bought for $1.4 million at the 2021 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale.

Gelding the making of a future stayer

Murmasa finished fifth in the 2022 Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) but afterwards in the then colt’s focus wasn’t where co-trainers Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young quite wanted it to be.

Convincing the ownership take the gelding step has since paid off with a refreshed Muramasa winning first-up for the preparation in the Andrew Aitken Trophy (1630m).

“His focus was about 80 per-cent in those last few races,” Young said.

“We’ll see how far we can push him but we think he’ll be a really nice stayer going forward.”

Shinn takes riding honours with treble

Blake Shinn’s consistency since returning to Melbourne from Hong Kong shone through at Flemington with a riding treble.

Over the first seven weeks of the 2023/24 season, his winning strike-rate sits narrowly short of 19.5%.