Shots fired at Terry Bailey’s house

Police are investigating an incident where shots were fired at the house of Racing Victoria’s chief steward Terry Bailey.

It is believed Bailey and his family were out the back of their home in Templestowe when the shots were fired on Sunday evening at 9:20pm.

Victoria Police confirmed a shooting had occurred in Templestowe, with four people at the residence. Nobody was hurt but police spent Sunday night and Monday morning investigating the incident.

Racing Victoria Chief executive Bernard Saundry conformed that it was Bailey;s house which had been targetted.

“Racing Victoria can confirm an incident overnight in which shots were fired into the family home of Chairman of Stewards Terry Bailey. Terry and his family were home at the time but no injuries were sustained,” Saundry said.

“Victoria Police are investigating the incident and we will afford them whatever support is necessary to ensure that the people responsible for this disgraceful act are brought to justice.

“The welfare of Terry and his family remains our number one priority and we ask that their privacy be respected at this distressing time.”

Plate hero Winx claims superstar status

In the build-up to the $3 million William Hill Cox Plate (2040m), trainer Chris Waller declared that Winx ‘could just be a superstar’.

There’s no doubting that now.

In one of the strongest Cox Plate fields in years, Winx delivered an utterly dominant performance.

Jockey Hugh Bowman made full use of barrier one, ensuring the four-year-old mare didn’t go around another horse as she went on to record a four-and-three-quarter length victory.

As The Cleaner took up his customary front-running role, Winx enjoyed a quiet run settling fifth on the rail.

When the others made their runs with 600m to go, The Cleaner got off the rail and Bowman took the gap quickly, shooting through and hitting the front on the turn.

That was all she wrote as Winx ($4.60 favourite) powered away with Bowman able to lap up the roar of the big Moonee Valley crowd in the final 100m.

The David Hayes and Tom Dabernig-trained Criterion ($6) finished second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Highland Reel ($8), who was in that position throughout.

The $61 outsider of the field Pornichet was fourth, while Hartnell finished fifth.

But there were no excuses from the beaten brigade as the best horse won the race.

It was a huge result for Waller, who had collected 53 Group 1 winners since 2008, but hadn’t yet cracked one of Australia’s big four races (Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, Golden Slipper).

Winx made sure his 54th Group 1 victory was one to remember.

“It’s obviously a huge thrill – it hasn’t sunk in yet,” Waller said.

“We’ve got a lot of good horses but you don’t even dare dream about Cox Plates.

“Obviously it was a great ride, she had a lovely run and she just put the foot down turning for home.

“It was shades of Sunline.”

Waller, who also had Preferment (ninth) and Kermadec (13th) in the race, was very positive in the run and thought Winx would be in the finish.

“I could see she was travelling pretty good,” Waller said.

“I quickly lost sight of the other two when I saw her coming through them.

“She’s just a superior athlete. She’s amazing.”

It was also an emotional victory for Bowman, who was in tears as he returned to scale after collecting his first major.

“All I wanted to be when I was a little boy was to be a jockey,” Bowman said.

“To be here riding on this stage is one thing, but to actually win a race like this I can’t tell you how much it means.

“I’m so thankful obviously to Chris Waller and the connections of the horse, but to my family and friends that are here, my two little girls at home, my wife … I just can’t believe it to be honest.”

Despite the emphatic win, Bowman revealed things didn’t go exactly to plan in the run.

“I drew barrier one, I had a lot of confidence in the mare (but) I was worried coming down this (Dean Street) side when Highland Reel was one-off the rail,” he said.

“There was a lot of room between me and the leader which wasn’t ideal. But she’s a Group 1 mare, she’s a serious racehorse. She adapted to the awkward position.

“From the 800 (metre-mark) I was very confident but at the 600 when The Cleaner rolled off and I went through, I didn’t want to be going that early.

“Sometimes you don’t have choices.

“You have to take the cards you’re dealt and I was on the premium mare that was able to capitalise on the run I got.”

Turns out he’s really good

The combination of trainer Murray Baker and jockey Opie Bosson struck again for a third feature success in eight days when Turn Me Loose landed the $200,000 Schweppes Crystal Mile (1600m).

The victory followed a week after the pair combined to win the Caulfield Cup with Mongolian Khan and only six days after Turn Me Loose powered away to win the Seymour Cup carrying 60kg.

Bosson said Turn Me Loose was probably now the one to beat in the $1 million Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

“Going on his form and the fact that he’s still improving he’s going to be hard to beat,” Bosson said.

“He’s got a really high cruising speed and he can sprint off that high speed as well.

“We always knew he was a good horse but he’s come back even bigger and stronger.”

Sent straight to the front by Bosson, Turn Me Loose ($4.20) sprinted clear at the top of the straight before holding off the late charge of Bow Creek ($17) to win by a half-length, with the well-backed favourite Lucky Hussler ($2.05F) a further 2.5 lengths away in third.


Jameka beats the boys in Vase

Jameka launched her claims for the Crown Oaks by beating the boys with a strong performance in the Dilmah Exceptional Teas Vase (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

Bookmakers immediately slashed Jameka’s price for the Flemington Group 1 from $7 to $4 on the back of the effort, installing her second favourite behind Sacred Eye ($3).

Trainer Ciaron Maher won last year’s Oaks with Set Square and he says Jameka measures up well in comparison.

“This horse has probably got the form on the board, (Set Square) was quite raw,” Maher said.

“They’re probably similar-type horses, both have that real staying ability.

“We’re really targeted the Oaks for her, so it’s a great job by (Damien Oliver) and the team at home, she seems to be coming together nicely.”

Jameka enjoyed a beautiful run in transit, sitting in the box seat behind early leader Shards.

Shards gave a kick on the turn but Oliver stayed patient and got to work on Jameka, and she responded, overhauling Shards in the final 100m.

Mick Price’s Tarzino caught the eye with a slashing third, and is now a $2.70 favourite for the Victoria Derby, while Pasadena Girl finished fourth.

Maher confirmed Jameka will now go straight into the Oaks.

“She’s just really starting to peak so I’m really looking forward to the Flemington Carnival and the Oaks,” he said.


States launches Cup bid with record win

The United States has launched a late bid to gain a start in the Emirates Melbourne Cup with a track-record-breaking win in Saturday’s $250,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m).

The big question will now be what penalty Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter allocates the Team Williams import, who elevated himself from equal 63rd to 48th in the Melbourne Cup order of entry following the win.

In winning the race, the six-year-old defeated last year’s Moonee Valley Gold Cup winner Prince Of Penzance, who 12 months earlier received a 2kg penalty for his win in the race.

Carpenter will announce what penalty the son of Galileo receives on Monday morning, though it would need to be a significant one for the horse to be any chance of making the final field in ‘the race that stops the nation’.

Part-owner Nick Williams said The United States probably deserved at least a 3kg penalty such was the strength of the performance.

“He’s a horse that we’ve had a huge opinion of but he’s had a bit of bad luck at his past two or three starts but today we saw the real deal,” Williams said.

“It was a fantastic ride by Hugh Bowman. He was as cool as a cucumber and the way he picked way through the field so patiently was the sign of an athlete in absolute peak form.

“When you see a win like that smashing the track record I’m sure that Greg Carpenter would be looking at it and give him the 3kg that he needs to get in the race, I don’t think there’s much doubt about that.”

After settling midfield on the rails throughout the race, Bowman allowed The United States ($3.60F) to improve along the fence before angling him into the clear in the straight where he finished too powerfully for Prince Of Penzance ($6) to win eased down by a half-length, with Bohemian Lily ($8) a further three-and-a-half lengths away in third.