Andrew Ramsden Race Day review
Overcast skies greeted racegoers at Flemington for Andrew Ramsden Stakes Day, a qualifying race for Australia’s greatest race, November’s Lexus Melbourne Cup. But as the day progressed, the sun shone brightly with large fields the order of the day providing open races and lively betting opportunities.
Lunar Flare gains Melbourne Cup start
The Graeme Begg-trained Lunar Flare has joined Goldman with a ballot exemption into the ‘race that stops a nation’, the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.
Goldman earned his place with victory in The Roy Higgins in March while Lunar Flare raced to a 5-½ length win in the Lexus Andrew Ramsden (2800m) on Saturday.
For Lunar Flare it was her second win in a ballot exempt race having taken out The Bart Cummings (2500m) last October.
However, a Racing Victoria veterinary inspection on Melbourne Cup last year morning ruled her out of the race.
Begg will now work back from the first Tuesday in November to have Lunar Flare in peak order for this year’s Melbourne Cup.
It’sourtime in Straight Six
The inability to be reshod ahead of the Wangoom Handicap at Warrnambool earlier this month has seen It’sourtime take out the Listed Hilton Nicholas Straight Six (1200m).
Trainer Danny O’Brien said there had been the possibility of It’sourtime tackling both the Warrnambool race and Saturday’s contest but was certainly happy to take out the Flemington contest on his 54th birthday.
O’Brien said he would now sit down with connections and work out a plan for It’sourtime.
He said the final of the Listed Santa Ana Lane Sprint Series over 1200m at Flemington in July was likely to come under consideration as could a trip north to Brisbane for the remainder of the Winter Carnival.
Scheelite shows spring potential
Ken and Kasey Keys invariably have a good horse pass through their stable.
Scheelite is potentially that next one after he kept his record intact when taking out the Parade Lounge Sprint (1100m) which followed a debut win at Sandown.
The Keys’ wanted to give Scheelite experience down the Flemington straight prior to the Spring Carnival with races potentially on the program including the Danehill Stakes and the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
The Caulfield Guineas could also be on the program, a race Rich Enuff ran a narrow second in for Ken Keys in 2014.
Early tip pays off
Simon Zahra told dejected connections after Oceans Above finished out of the money at Sandown that the gelding would recoup their losses next start at Flemington.
The trainer was right on the money when Oceans Above took out the VRC Member Cameron Ryan Plate (1600m).
Oceans Above finished fifth at Sandown over 1400m on April 29, but Zahra said post-race the gelding was looking for 1400m.
“I declared it after Sandown,” Zahra said.
“We just couldn’t find the right mile race for him.
“We rolled him around at Sandown the other day and I just said to the crew after that race who were a little bit flat, that we would be here at Flemington in two weeks, and he just wins.
“He’s got a lot of ability. He’s still pretty raw, but we’re pleased with where we are going with him.
“He loves the wet tracks and I’m keen to get him to 2000 metres.
“There’s one in three weeks back here, so we might head that way and give him a little freshen up.”
Rejuvenated King Magnus back in winning form
Trainer Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock were focussed on the VRC-CRV Winter Championship with King Magnus when he returned to racing following a break of over 12 months.
After pleasing the stable first-up at Sandown on April 29, King Magnus returned to winning form in the Lexus Melbourne Cup Tour Trophy (1400m), the first heat of the Winter Championship that has a final over 1600m at Flemington in July.
“It’s very satisfying. He’s had a lot of time off,” de Kock said.
“The owners have been patient, we’ve been patient with him, so it’s nice to get a result with him.”
De Kock said King Magnus was suffering from arthritis, but the 12 months away from the track and the softer tracks are likely to see the rising eight-year-old race on for another couple of years.
“He had a bit of arthritis and things like that, but he’s over that now and he looks back to his best,” de Kock said.
“We were a bit worried about being second-up off a long break, but he’s such a trier and never gives up.
"We wanted a winter program with him and that is where we are heading.”
Party For One back on the board
Trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr have finally turned around the fortunes of Party For One who recorded her second career win taking out the Sir Eugene Gorman Handicap (1400m).
Party For One has been in the care of Price and Kent Jnr for three starts after starting off in Sydney with Joe Pride.
“Joe Pride is a gun trainer and I looked at it, 18 starts, one win, and thought ‘what am I going to do’,” Price said.
“We just persevered with her and one of the keys with her was getting her to jump instead of being out the back all the time.
“I had no instructions (for Blake Shinn), apart from getting a man on her head and tail and to get her to jump.
“She put herself there today and was pretty good in the end, so it makes you wonder what she has been doing for 18 starts.”
Altivo keeps record intact
The Hawkes Racing-trained Altivo has stretched his unbeaten winning streak to four with an impressive victory in the K A Morrison Handicap (1600m).
Wayne Hawkes, who runs the family’s Flemington stable, said Altivo was getting the job done on raw ability.
“This might sound a bit bullish, but he has no idea what he is doing,” Hawkes said.
“He’s just a big kid and learning what it’s all about.
“But he’s got a great attitude and has a bright future.”
Hawkes Racing and Jye McNeil completed a double when Airman took out The Rose Room Sprint (1200m) to make it four wins from his five-start career.