Blackie’s Weekend Wrap – Ascot 12th April 2014.
I realise that we are starting to sound like a broken record here, but avid punters alike would have to agree that Derby Day at Ascot this year was a clear victory for the Bookies – with multiple upset results littering the program. With only two favourites saluting, the winners came from a handy position or better all day – all be it for two exceptional rides from “The Master”. Premiership hoop William Pike produced a double in the saddle that defied the racing conditions for the day when bringing Dubai Escapade from near last to prevail for Justin Warwick in the opener, before delivering one of the all-time great rides when surging Respondent through traffic from last to claim the WATC Derby feature for Grant Williams. Of the trainers, there was none more elated than Simon Foster who prepared a stunning boil-over when his $86.00 pop Prentice landed the Sire Produce Stakes.
PR1). Black & White Party @ Ascot Today BM68+ 2100m.
With only six runners contesting the opener, this race was going to rely heavily on tactics and cool heads, and when Master Robson ($8.00) took up the running at a decent clip the stage was set for the swoopers. Of the four leading chances, Hel Cool ($4.00) and Toned ($4.60) looked to have the race between them as they presented from their handy positions on the turn, but it would be the backmarkers Dubai Escapade ($3.00 fav) and Moreish ($4.60) that would run over the top of them all – the former doing best to score by a length from the latter, with a further two lengths to Hel Cool in third.
WATCH: Moreish loomed large from last on the turn and ran out the race well – will go close next time on that run.
PR2). Westspeed HCP 3YO BM64+ 1000m.
All the talk prerace was for multiple winner Fuchsia Bandana ($3.00) and the resuming Fairetha Stakes victor Saint Bro ($2.50 fav), but neither would feature at the business end. Backing up from a strong maiden win at Pinjarra, Onadowntowntrain ($13.00) shot to the front upon barrier rise – shook off Saint Bro on the turn, before hitting the line hard from the fast finishing August Knight ($6.00) and Fuchsia Bandana – a half-length the winning margin with a further ¾ lengths to third – a telling ride from Shaun O’Donnell coming up trumps.
WATCH: Not a lot to like about the two favourites, but August Knight ran the fastest final sectional (33.73 sec) for the day and remains in career best form.
PR3). Tabtouch Supporting The Industry BM66+ 1500m.
The third was a fair dinkum lottery, with $5.00 the field awaiting punters, and it would take a dramatic change in riding tactics from a promising apprentice that would prove the difference. Chantelle O’Grady had obviously watched Shaun O’Donnell’s ride from the race prior, as she stormed Rubin Sky ($8.00) to the early lead from barrier seven and strung out the field. Dash For Home ($10.00) sat behind the leader and found a run in the straight, but the bird had flown – Rubin Sky clinging on for a short neck victory. William Pike again displayed his prowess to bring Fashion Princess from nowhere – only to run out of racing room at the death to claim third.
WATCH: Fashion Princess had no luck in the straight before running up the “behind” of Rubin Sky near the line – super performance worthy of a better result.
PR4). Westspeed Stayers’ Bonus BM60+ 1800m.
The plunge of the day would have to go with the supporters of Magical Mist ($4.60 – $2.80 fav), but for the second time in as many weeks the “big bets” were denied. Zedspiel ($31.00) led with California Valley ($11.00) hot on its heels, but Jason Whiting had Dollar Down ($18.00) in the box seat and capitalised on his favoured position in the straight to run away with a clever length victory. California Valley fell into second, a quarter length clear of the barnstorming favourite who had left its run too late.
WATCH: Big run from Magical Mist late justified the punters decision to support the High Chaparral mare, but maybe best to wait for racing conditions to suit.
PR5). Perthracing.org.au HCP BM72+ 1200m.
Punters rallied around the classy Testa Rossa 3yo Testamezzo ($3.30 – $2.60 fav) in what was a strong lineup, and finally they would be rewarded – but there would be nervous moments a-plenty before they could collect on this one. A mad rush for the lead saw Tax A Million ($21.00) and Soldier’s Lass ($4.20) tear each other to pieces upfront, while Testamezzo found itself in strife – buried away three back on the fence in serious traffic. But when Soldier’s Lass moved off the fence upon straightening, senior hoop Peter Knuckey made a brilliant split second decision to swing Testamezzo back towards the rail – and his mount did the rest – cruising to the line for a 1 ¾ length exhibition. Iseethingsyoudon’t ($8.00) battled away from sixth to secure second, with a fading Soldier’s Lass lasting into third.
WATCH: A lot to like about the finish of Iseethingsyoudon’t – there will be a race for the Star Cross 6yo this time in.
PR6). $200,000 Group 3 WA Sires’ Produce Stakes 2YO 1400m.
Ascot is not alien to seeing its fair share of upset results, but today’s 2yo feature would raise the bar to a whole new level – and we were all left scratching our collective heads when the $86.00 roughie Prentice claimed the prize for Simon Foster. It was an electric start to the race which saw Star Glitter ($26.00) lead. Fancied runner Hobart Jones ($3.50 fav) dwelt towards the rear, while second elect Cadenza ($4.20) bustled forward in-between runners and looked set for a big run. But when Prentice and Glenn Smith kept Cadenza in a pocket upon straightening, the momentum fell to the long-shot as it rattled to the line to collect the luckless Dancing Express ($7.00) in the shadows of the post by a head. Hobart Jones finished in a flurry a further length adrift in third.
WATCH: For mine – Cadenza was winning on the turn before disaster struck – but alas – it was not to be…