Sofitel Girls' Day Out: A great start to spring racing

16 September 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

A look at some of the races on the Makybe Diva Stakes card.

Archo shows a touch of class 

Trainer Matt Laurie already had some intelligence on the family of Archo Nacho which prompted him to take a punt on the now three-year-old as a weanling. 

The purchase has paid off with Archo Nacho a winner in two of his three starts, including the Listed Poseidon Stakes (1100m) at start number three. 

“I only bought this bloke because I had a half-brother to him,” Laurie said. 

“He showed a bit of pace and was a little bit mad, but I happened to pass this guy at the weanling sales and thought ‘why not’.” 

On the small side, Laurie left Archo Nacho in the paddock to grow and the gelding finally made his debut as a late two-year-old. 

But it was evident to Laurie that Archo Nacho had above average galloping ability. 

“I had him sold to Hong Kong and at the last-minute Kate, my partner, and I decided to hold tight, we just thought there was more in store for this horse and clearly there is,” Laurie said. 

“He’s a family-owned horse, the kids love him. He’s named after our youngest son, so it’s exciting.” 

Laurie said he would talk to jockey Ben Melham as to whether Archo Nacho can take a step in grade to the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1100m) and the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), both at Flemington. 
“That’s a logical path but he is on the smaller side, but we’ll worry about that later and enjoy this now,” Laurie said. 


Griff a Caulfield Guineas hope 

Griff has put his hand up as a potential Caulfield Guineas hope with his win in the Listed Exford Plate (1400m). 

With his first five of starts in Sydney for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace, Griff was sent to Melbourne to claim a strong victory. 

Ciaron’s always been very sweet on his ability,” Eustace said. 

“His first-up run was excellent, second-up he had a ride on a pretty hot speed so we were really confident coming in to today, 

“We thought he was going to get a lovely run, just needed a little bit of luck and a good ride and he got a great ride from Mark (Zahra). 

Eustace said he would talk to Zahra, but his initial thoughts were to head to the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 14. 

“He was certainly strong through the line there, he relaxes well, five weeks to the Guineas, almost certainly he’ll be going there,” Eustace said. 

Shesallshenanigans ridden by Blaike McDougall wins the Cap D'Antibes Stakes at Flemington. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)

No Shenanigans up Flemington straight 

Trainer Simon Zahra was keen to see Shesallshenanigans on the straight Flemington course and it paid an immediate dividend in the Listed Cap D’Antibes Stakes (1100m). 

Winner of the VOBIS Showdown at Sandown in the autumn, Shesallshenanigans returned to racing with a sixth-place finish in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes at Caulfield last month. 

Zahra knew the mare entered that race underdone and was confident of an improved showing on Saturday. 

“We wanted to run down the straight at sometime, but she was really fat going into the first-up run we sort of knew that,” Zahra said. 

“We sort of redirected where we wanted to go, sat down on the Saturday night and a month in between runs, a nice hit out on Friday, a great ride by Blaike (McDougall), she got the job done.” 

Zahra said Shesallshenanigans still had plenty of improvement to come but will continue to space the filly’s runs. 

“We’ve got a couple of months to work our way through the carnival so it’s good to get ‘Black Type’ on her name too now. 

“She’s done it all.” 

Outsider lands the prize 

The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young stable saddled two runners in The Melbourne Cup Carnival on sale now (2500m) with the outsider of the pair being successful. 

Shaiyhar was sent out the $2.80 favourite and wound up in sixth position, more than five lengths astern of his stablemate and winner, Mostly Cloudy, who was sent out a $21 chance. 

Busuttin was a little surprised by the victory but described the winner as an out-and-out stayer. 

While racing well in Melbourne, Mostly Cloudy had performed below par in efforts in Sydney. 

“He’s only a little ratty looking horse, he’s all of 400 kilos ringing wet but we sent him up to Sydney twice and he just doesn’t appear to go that way of going,” Busuttin said. 

“Outside of those Sydney runs there hadn’t been much wrong with his form but we sort of thought the other horse would be the one to beat. 

“But it had a fairly tough run in the running, so it’ll bounce back, but it’s certainly good to get a win with this horse carrying the Cunningham colours. 

“They’re big owners for us so it's good to get a win in their colours.” 

Kalino scores in blanket finish 

Kalino appreciated the roomier Flemington track taking out the Listed The Sofitel (1400m). 

The Chris Waller-trained galloper was tried over longer trips at the corresponding time last year, but Waller’s assistant-trainer Charlie Duckworth said Kalino was better off when held up for a late sprint. 

“He’s a really good horse once he gets conditions to suit,” Duckworth said. 

“He’s only got a relatively short sharp sprint so actually I think being pocketed on the turn did him a world of good because he could just cuddle him that much longer. 

“We probably had him a bit wrong this time last year when we were trying to stretch him out. 

“He’s obviously a sharper horse than we gave him credit for. I know he’s won over a mile and beyond, but this is certainly his trip.”