Jet Away turns on afterburners

Jet Away has David Hayes dreaming of a third Caulfield Cup win following his brilliant victory in the $150,000 Yalumba Golden Mile today at Bendigo.

The European import could hardly have been more impressive at his Australian debut, storming home from the rear to score a dominant victory in the 1600-metre event.

The six-year-old son of Cape Cross reproduced the form that saw him defeat Melbourne Cup runner-up Fiorente over 2000m at Goodwood last year and Hayes said it was an important win for his Spring prospects.

“We hope he’s a Caulfield Cup horse,” Hayes said. “These days when they’re lowly-rated you’ve just got to get their rating up to get them in the Cups.

“On what I’ve seen him do at Lindsay Park, and in trials, he looks a weight-for-age horse to me and he showed that today because that was a pretty good field.”

Jet Away launched a powerful finish from the back to score running away in the signature event on Victoria’s only stand-alone regional Saturday raceday.

The entire was given time to settle by in-form jockey Stephen Baster early and tracked fellow import Ranked entering the straight, but quickly went past the heavily-backed favourite ($4.60 to $3.10).

Jet Away ($6) rounded up his rivals inside the final 100m before cruising home by 1-1/4 lengths from Zabisco ($16), who edged out Prizum ($21) for second placing. Ranked only battled to the line and finished ninth, 3-3/4 lengths from the winner.

Baster was taken by the win of Jet Away, who has now won seven of his 17 starts.

“The horse raced a little bit fresh but when he came out (at the top of the straight) he let go really well,” Baster said.

“Not many of them (imports) come over here and do that over a mile, so it was pretty impressive. If he can keep that consistency going up to 2000 and further he’s going to be very hard to beat in whatever he runs in.”

While October’s $2.5 million BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) is the main aim, Hayes will send Jet Away to the 2000m Easter Cup at Caulfield in two weeks before a possible trip to Sydney for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on 27 April.

Story by Brad Bishop


Super Cup result for 3YO’s

Super Cool catapulted himself into elite company with victory in today’s Group 1 Darley Australian Cup at Flemington.

The Mark Kavanagh-trained colt joined Dulcify and Saintly as the only three-year-olds to win the 2000-metre event at weight-for-age when he wore down fellow three-year-old Fiveandahalfstar in the $1 million event.

Kavanagh has always had a good opinion of the son of Fastnet Rock and always felt confident the colt could break the three-year-old’s hoodoo with an even field of older horses to contend with.

“It’s been noted that three-year-olds only have a fair record and although only a couple have won, most of the ones that have had a go have been beaten by champions,” Kavanagh said.

“This guy is a very good horse that’s on the improve, his record shows that and once he gets around to the 2000-metre mark he’s a dam good horse.”

Super Cool reversed the result of last year’s AAMI Victoria Derby when he reeled in the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar in front of 19,155 fans.

Super Cool’s jockey Michael Rodd trailed Green Moon in fifth position but went past the Melbourne Cup winner early in the straight when he set out after Fiveandahalfstar, who had taken over early in the straight.

The Derby winner looked set to again have Super Cool’s measure, until around 50m from home when Super Cool dug deep to get home. The ($5) scored by a half-head over Fiveandahalfstar ($11) with Tanby ($26) four lengths away third.

Green Moon, the $3.80 favourite, was given a super ride by Brett Prebble but couldn’t match the sprint of the youngsters and wound up in fourth, 4-1/4 lengths from Super Cool.

Michael Rodd, who brought up a winning double with his Cup success following Sires’ Produce Stakes victory aboard Twilight Royale, said Super Cool’s maturity saw him turn the table on his great rival.

“I was fortunate to get a beautiful run, I was able to come away one off the fence and I kept tracking for as long as I could because I had Green Moon in front of me and I had him covered coming around the turn,” Rodd said.

“I looked up and saw ‘Bossy’ (Glen Boss, Fiveandahalfstar) and I had déjà vu of the Derby last carnival when Fiveandahalfstar kicked away, but I was right next to him and I knew I was on a better and stronger horse this time.”

Dulcify and Saintly both won the Cox Plate in the same year as the Australian Cup success and Kavanagh hinted the $3 million weight-for-age championship would be where he was headed.

“To me he looks like a Cox Plate horse but he’ll be nominated for everything (in Spring) and we’ll see how we go,” he said.

Story by Brad Bishop


Express ticket to the world

A trip to Royal Ascot beckons in June for Shamexpress after he upstaged his more fancied older rivals to win the $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Super Saturday.

The Danny O’Brien-trained colt became the fifth three-year-old in the past decade to win Australia’s most prestigious sprint when he ran down favourite Moment of Change in the shadows of the post.

The victory, at odds of $15, came in the final leg of Racing Victoria’s G1 Championship and elevated Shamexpress to a four-way tie with Black Caviar, Mrs Onassis and Moment of Change.

The $50,000 international travel subsidy for the highest point scorer across the G1 series will be split evenly amongst those within the quartet that travel abroad in 2013, with Shamexpress set to claim his share.

“We’re London bound now….I’ll be jumping on Qantas tonight and booking four business class airfares for the family,” delighted managing owner Jeff Dimery said of his Royal Ascot ambitions.

O’Brien said he’d consult with Dimery and his co-owners before making a final decision on Shamexpress’ future plans, but made it clear that Royal Ascot would be central to those discussions.

The Flemington-based trainer is no stranger to the UK’s famous carnival having campaigned Glamour Puss there in 2006 and Star Witness, who placed in both the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2011.

One thing is for certain, Shamexpress won’t be taking on Black Caviar in the G1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday week, 22 March.

The O’Reilly colt did that in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at his previous start on 16 February and was well beaten by Australia’s glamour girl after racing on the speed.

Ridden more conservatively today by Craig Newitt, Shamexpress emerged late to win the judge’s nod over Moment Of Change and outsider Aeronautical in a thrilling three-way finish.

“Craig just produced him beautifully and he really let go like a top class Group 1 sprinter,” O’Brien said.

“That’s the secret, to get a little bit of cover on him early. He was wanting to charge early but fortunately he (Newitt) buried him and when he did see daylight he really let go.”

The win was the culmination of a plan hatched following the horse’s sixth start when he finished third against his own group over the same track and distance in the Group 1 Coolmore Stakes last November.

“It’s been a long range plan, certainly since Coolmore (Stud Stakes) day and he has come in great shape and he got the right ride today,” O’Brien said.

Newitt celebrated his second win in the Newmarket having piloted Miss Andretti to success in 2007 before combining with that mare for Group 1 glory at Royal Ascot later that year.

Cup favourite resumes with dead-heat

Emirates Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune has resumed with a dead-heat victory in today’s Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.

After an agonising wait for connections, the Darren Weir-trained French import and consistent South Australian gelding Budriguez couldn’t be split at the end of the $220,000 event.

Asked if he’d changed his mind that Puissance De Lune could win the 2013 Melbourne Cup, jockey Glen Boss replied “how could you possibly?”

“That’s the shortest distance that he could be competitive at,” Boss explained.

“He’s come back looking identical to what he left. He just backed up what I thought he could do, he wasn’t expected to do that well first up.

With Budriguez assuming his usual role in front, Boss settled Puissance De Lune in fifth position on the rail early in running before being held up for a run and only gaining a clear run approaching the 200 metre mark.

Still at least three lengths off Budriguez who had kicked a length clear of the rest, once into clear galloping room, Puissance De Lune charged at the leader and probably hit the front in the shadows of the post only for Budriguez to get his nose down on the line and snatch a dead-heat.

“I got slightly held up behind a couple of horses that were going slow when I wanted to go quicker, but once he got into the clear he ripped home and made up three or four lengths very quickly,” Boss said.

Speaking straight after the race, Weir said he wasn’t sure where too next for the Melbourne Cup favourite, explaining that he was ecstatic with the horse’s performance.

“I’m not sure really, he’s probably gone well enough today that we’ll just let him get over it and then decide in the next few days,” Weir said before later indicating that he’d likely be put away until the spring.

The dead-heat was the third of four wins for Craig Williams who was aboard Budriguez.

He up earlier victories aboard Montsegur in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m) and Crystal Web in the Listed MSS Security Plate (1100m) with a barnstorming last-to-first win aboard Flying Snitzel in the Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m).

Speaking after the dead-heat result, Williams said a late decision in running was probably the difference between the David Jolly-trained Budriguez sharing the prize and losing.

“He was starting to go a little-bit right handed and over the last little bit I just had to risk letting him lay out rather than trying to turn his head and that’s probably the reason why I’m standing here talking to you know,” Williams said.

“Flemington is a big imposing straight for front running horses and he stood up to the mark once again and did a great job to go past the line alongside the Melbourne Cup favourite.”

Story by Ben Asgari


Caviar’s sister targets Spring

Belle Couture, the likely next in line from racing’s most famous family, is set to return to work this week for trainer Danny O’Brien ahead of possible racetrack debut in May.

A half-sister to both champion mare Black Caviar and superstar three-year-old All Too Hard, O’Brien told RSN he was excited to get the two-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice out of Helsinge into his stables.

“She’ll start work this week and she’ll have a good solid build-up and if she gets to the races it’s probably looking more like May-June at this stage,” O’Brien said.

“The main thing that we’ll be doing now is setting her up to be a force in the spring.

“She’s really grown a lot and furnished into a lovely filly and I’m looking forward to getting her into the stables shortly.”

In more immediate matters for the stable, O’Brien was at Flemington on Tuesday morning to watch three-year-colt Shamexpress work down the straight ahead of a start in Saturday’s $1 million Lexus Newmarket Handicap (1200m).

Working alongside fellow three-year-old’s Better Than Ready and Shamal Wind over 800 metres, Shamexpress wasn’t extended to finish a narrow runner-up behind Better Than Ready in 46.48 seconds.

“They seemed to trial well and I was certainly happy with our bloke, we just wanted to make sure that he finished off his work this morning heading into the Newmarket,” he said.

“I was disappointed in his run in the (Black Caviar) Lightning, I thought he could have ran a place but a couple of things just got the better of him on the day.

“There was a band behind his stalls which got him a bit worked up and it was hot but the biggest thing was that he tried to go with Black Caviar for the first half of the race and while he was very ordinary late, he’s not the first horse to be busted by her.

“He’s always been targeted at this race and he couldn’t go into the Newmarket in any better shape.”