Maskiell Banned for 18 Months

Victoria Stewards today inquired into a report received from Racing Analytical Services Limited confirming that a urine sample taken from licensed jockey Jason Maskiell at the Kyneton race meeting on Wednesday, 6 November 2013 contained a banned substance.

Jason Maskiell subsequently pleaded guilty to breaching the provisions of Australian Rule of Racing 81A(1)(a) after providing a sample that was found upon analysis to contain substances banned by Australian Rule of Racing 81B.

Jason Maskiell was suspended from riding in races for a period of 18 months, commencing 10th November 2013, at which time he was stood down, to expire midnight 10th May 2015.

Further, Jason Maskiell is suspended from riding in trackwork and trials for a period of 12 months, to expire midnight 10th November 2014. Jason

Maskiell must also provide a sample that is free of any substance banned by AR81B and; provide written evidence of a satisfactory period of counselling, prior to resuming riding trackwork and in trials.

Brilliant Offer wins Ballarat Cup

Gai Waterhouse and Damien Oliver ended the Spring Racing Carnival in style winning today’s $200,000 Listed Ballarat Cup (2200m) with The Offer.

Oliver, who famously partnered the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fiorente to win the $6 million Emirates Melbourne Cup earlier this month, said the imported son of Montjeu relished today’s heavy conditions.

“Gai’s brought this horse down at the right time,” Oliver said. “He’s certainly on the way up when some horses might be coming to the end of their tether.

“He really enjoyed that soft track. Coming into the straight he was going OK but when I put the foot down he really extended and I think he can win a very good race on soft ground.

“It’s been fantastic (combining with Waterhouse) and it’s nice to get on some quality horses.”

After settling in a midfield position, Oliver moved The Offer ($4F) into a three-wide position with cover approaching the 1000 metre mark before allowing him stride into the race approaching the home turn.

Joining the leaders at the top of the straight, The Offer burst to the lead with 200 metres left to travel before racing away to record a 3.3 length win over Pelicano ($9.50), who finished runner-up in the race for a second consecutive year.

Brad Rawiller could only manage third position aboard Hurdy Gurdy Man ($16), a further half-a-length away, in his quest for a fourth straight Ballarat Cup victory.

Part owner of The Offer John Bongiorno, who also has a share in Fiorente, said he couldn’t believe his luck.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Melbourne Cup but to win a race like the Ballarat Cup, to win any race anywhere in Australia is an amazing privilege,” Bongiorno said.

“It’s been a great association with Gai, we’ve become good friends over the years and how great of a trainer is she and how great is Damien Oliver?

Story by Ben Asgari


Third Group One for Luckygray

Locally sold, owned and trained star Luckygray captured a third Group One at Ascot on Saturday when he steamed home for a comprehensive victory in the million dollar Railway Stakes (1600m).

A $46,000 purchase from the Riverslea Farm draft at the 2009 Magic Millions Perth Yearling Sale, Luckygray gave new trainer Trevor Andrews a second win in WA’s feature race.

The handsome grey gelding was having just his second start for the Andrews stable after an unsuccessful campaign in Melbourne over the Spring Carnival. Prior to the Melbourne stint Luckgrey was prepared to 12 wins including two at Group One level by his yearling sale buyer Gino Poletti.

“I’ve had him for about six weeks, since he came back from Melbourne and I have been really happy with the horse,” Andrews said.

“There have been a lot of negatives about him and I have had to bring him back from Melbourne and recharge the batteries and press forward.”

“I thought his first up run here was full of credit and Shaun O’Donnell has been glowing in praise for his trackwork,” he added.

Luckygray scored his first Group One race in controversial circumstances when he won the 2011 edition of the Railway on protest. He ran second in the race last year to Mr Moet and then at his next start swept away with the Group One Kingston Town Stakes.

Eight of Luckygray’s 13 career wins have come in group races. From 26 starts his 13 wins and two second placings he has earned his connections an ever growing $2,469,175.

He has been second twice in his career – once in last year’s Railway and also at three when he chased home subsequent Group One winner Playing God in the Magic Milions Perth 3YO Trophy.

Saturday’s Railway Stakes race result was a triumph for popular Glenlogan Park based sire Bradbury’s Luck with his daughter Fire Up Fifi a close up third.

A Magic Millions 2YO Classic winning son of Redoute’s Choice, Bradbury’s Luck is the sire of 137 winners including 11 stakes performers with his other stars including She Can Skate, Ringa Ringa Rosie and Cash Luck in Singapore.

Luckgray is from Damah Lady, a four time winning daughter of Mukaddamah. He is her sole runner to date from four named foals.

Twice a winner at two and successful at her career at sprint trips to 1400 metres, Damah Lady is a half sister to the former star Australian, Hong Kong and Macau galloper Diego Garcia.

A winner of the Todman Slipper Trial and Canonbury Stakes in Australia, Diego Garcia raced in Asia as My Eternal Flame and he is conitnuing to build on his prizemoney haul of A$1.45 million.

Buff By a Breath in Winterbottom

Buffering confirmed his status as Australia’s leading sprinter with a thrilling win in Saturday’s Group One Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth.

In holding out Moment of Change by a breath, Buffering notched a third straight Group One victory after a successful Melbourne spring campaign.

On the pace throughout, Buffering burst to the front at the top of the straight and then had to call on all reserves as the Peter Moody trained Moment of Change emerged with a strong challenge over the final few hundreds metres.

In a desperately close photo finish, Buffering got his nose down right on the line to beat the locally bred and sold star by the smallest of margins.

Most punters felt the race was a battle between Buffering and local star Barakey. Unbeaten in WA, Barakey won last year’s Winterbottom, but after showing speed he weakened from the corner and wound up in ninth place.

Trainer Rob Heathcote said the tough gelding would now return home to Queensland for a well deserved spell after a wonderful preparation.

“He’s an extraordinary little animal,” Heathcote said after the race. “He’s so resilient.”

“What a feat! Three Group Ones, it’s kind of crazy stuff,” he added.

Jockey Damian Browne described Buffering as a “wee champion” when quizzed by Sky Racing’s Bernadette Cooper.

A son of Vinery Stud sire Mossman, Buffering was bred in Queensland by well known thoroughbred breeder and racing administrator Kevin Dixon and sold through his Racetree operation at the 2009 Magic Millions Gold Coast March Yearling Sae.

It was there that a young Buffering caught the eye of leading New Zealand based bloodstock agent Paul Willetts and he bid $22,000 for the future star for his good friend Rob Heathcote.

After a string of outstanding runs at racing’s elite level, Buffering broke through for his first Group One win at Moonee Valley before going back to back at his most recent start at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

As it stands the courageous Queenslander boasts a career record of 15 wins and 14 minor placings from 38 starts and massive earnings of over $4.1 million.

Nine of Buffering’s 15 wins have come in group races across all four states he has visited.

Buffering is one of 25 stakes winners for his sire, Success Express’ Group One QTC Classic winning son Mossman.

He is the star performer to date for his dam, the Sydney winning Anabaa mare Action Annie – a half sister to international stakes performers Instant Strike and Don’t Go Crazy.

Further back it is the same family as international stars Martha Stevens, Relaxed Gesture, Wait Till Monday and Evolving Tactics.

Buffering’s sire Mossman has 14 lots catalogued in Books 1 & 2 for the 2014 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale including a filly from Group One winner Allow and a three quarter brother to South African Group Two winner Royal Zulu Warrior.

Snowden and Darley to part ways

Sheikh Mohammed is on the lookout for a new trainer to head up his Darley operation in Australia following Peter Snowden’s shock decision to relinquish the position.

The man who has been Darley’s head trainer since setting up a full-time Australian operation in May 2008 will leave at the end of next year’s Sydney Autumn Carnival to enter a training partnership with son Paul, who has been the stable’s Melbourne foreman.

Darley announced the development in a media release today and Snowden said that while he had enjoyed some great times with Darley, the time was right to enter the next phase of his career.

“It has been a rewarding six years and I am proud of all that we have achieved,” he said in the statement.

“It is the right time to move on with my son Paul and take on a new challenge. It is something we have always wanted to do.

“With an operation like this it is only fair that there is plenty of time for a transition. Sheikh Mohammed has provided me with an amazing opportunity and I will be forever grateful.

“When the time comes we will deal with the farewells but for now my focus is on producing results for Darley.”

Snowden has prepared 28 Group 1 winners under the Darley regime, including all five Group 1 races run for two-year-olds in 2011. Sepoy won the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double, Helmet won the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes and Benfica the J.J. Atkins Stakes.

Two of Snowden’s Group 1 wins came during the Spring Racing Carnival with Long John winning the BECK Caulfield Guineas and Guelph the Schweppes Thousand Guineas.

Darley’s managing director in Australia, Henry Plumptre, paid tribute to what Snowden achieved and said he would have a lasting legacy at the establishment.

“Sheikh Mohammed is very grateful to Peter for his efforts since joining Darley,” Plumptre said.

“Peter’s record speaks for itself and we have been very fortunate to have him as our head Trainer. His legacy will continue as we benefit from the offspring of champion colts Sepoy, Helmet and Denman.”

Story by Brad Bishop