Hot action on track at Summer Fun Race Day

15 January 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

An early start prevented early morning watering, but jockeys were full of praise for the Flemington track on a sunny day that saw a hot day of racing action.

The meeting was brought forward a little over two hours to combat the extreme heat later in the day which forced Flemington track manager Liam O’Keeffe and his team to water overnight. 

The watering provided the ideal surface for racing. 

“Special mention to Liam O’Keeffe and his team,” jockey Harry Coffey said after guiding Dunkel to victory in The Stud and Stable Staff Awards. 

“That track is in terrific order, and it gives every horse their chance and gives those horses every chance of a quick recovery with some nice give in it.” 

Flemington first for McGrath 
The man responsible for taking the Melbourne Cup on tour around Australia was in the winner’s stall celebrating his nephew’s first Saturday city winner as a trainer. 

Joe McGrath shares in the ownership of D’Jumbuck, the winner of the Resimax Group Rapid Racing, Friday 20 January (1200m), a horse that was bred by his brother, former UK race caller Jim McGrath, father of the sprinter’s trainer Brian McGrath. 

Young McGrath has been training since 2015 and had his first winner the following year when Larrikin scored at Geelong in the colours carried by D’Jumbuck. 

“It’s a big thrill to get a winner here at ‘headquarters’. It’s massive,” Brian McGrath said. 

“It’s a real thrill and I’m really thrilled for the owners, especially my uncle Joe McGrath who goes around Australia with the (Melbourne) Cup. 

“He’s in there with his syndicate, my dad and other members of the family also are involved along with other friends Neville Gibson, Chris Deighton and John Curtain.” 

D’Jumbuck is the best horse to go through McGrath’s Cranbourne stable, landing his fourth win from 23 starts, and McGrath indicated he may be back at Flemington in a months’ time for another shot at a 1200m race on the straight course.

Snapper lands start-to-finish Standish win
Snapper has led throughout to take out the Standish Handicap at Flemington.

The Mike Moroney stable holds loftier plans for Snapper after the sprinter landed his first win at stakes level at Flemington.

Snapper led throughout to claim the Group 3 Standish Handicap (1200m) on Saturday with the stable hoping the five-year-old will return to the track in a couple of months for a Group 1 sprint. 

The Moroney stable won last year's Group 1 Newmarket Handicap with Roch 'N' Horse and may aim Snapper at this year's 1200m sprint down the famous Flemington straight. 

Ridden by Jye Mcneil, Snapper led throughout to defeat the favourite Rose Quartz by three-quarters-of-a-length with Dawn Passage the same margin away third.

Dunkel easy in the end
Jockey Harry Coffey says there are better wins in store for Dunkel after the three-year-old made it three wins from four starts in taking out The Stud and Stable Staff Awards (2000m).

But first Coffey said Dunkel needs to improve his racing manners.

Dunkel had to show grit to win on Saturday, bursting through a gap when looking in trouble, before recording a ‘soft win’ according to Coffey. 

“He’s got really nice ability, a stayer that is on the rise, but he’s doing little things that makes it hard to watch,” Coffey said. 

“Every time I’ve ridden him, I’ve thought we were going close to ironing them out. 

“Today was different to his win at Sandown. He missed the start, was a tad disinterested, but then around the 600 (metres) he gained a bit of motivation and got the job done.” 

Blinkers do the trick with Princess Rhaenys 
Trainer Peter Moody has always held Princess Rhaenys in high esteem and the now five-year-old mare may be about to deliver on that potential after her win in the Be A Mate, Nominate Trophy (2000m). 

Moody threw Princess Rhaenys into the deepend at her third race start when she finished fourth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) as a three-year-old. 

After a year on the sidelines, Princess Rhaenys scored at Sandown in her second preparation while Saturday’s win was her first start since. 

Katherine Coleman, Moody’s assistant trainer, said the addition of blinkers had helped the mare turn around a disappointing effort at Sandown on Boxing Day. 

“We were disappointed with her last start in the run to line after not showing her usual turn of foot, which is unlike her,” Coleman said. 

“The aim with these types of mares is to build their profile and hopefully get a bit of ‘black type’. 

“We’ll have to see where we have to go to get that, whether there’s something over in Tassie or a distance race here may be an option for her.” 

Consistency pays off for Belle Et Riche 
Ballarat trainer Mitchell Freedman finally had luck on his side when Belle Et Riche took out the Brew Living Legends Plate (1400m). 

Belle Et Riche had collected a cheque in each of her eight appearances prior to Saturday’s race, but had only crossed the line in first place on two occasions. 

That all changed after Jordan Childs had the filly well-positioned in the run, giving Freedman confidence a long way from home. 

“You could see from around the 1000-metre mark that we were going to have luck on our side which is unusual for her,” Freedman said. 

“She’s had nine starts now and hasn’t finished out of the top three and she could have quite easily won another three or four of those races.” 

Freedman indicated he may give the filly a freshen as the filly is still maturing, but he is keen to try Belle Et Riche in a stakes race during the autumn. 

“Whether that is in Victoria or down in Tassie, we’ll make that decision over the next week,” he said.