It was tough going for favourite punters again at Ascot today, and it took an upheld protest and a nail-biting finish in the final race to add to their dwindling bank balance. But it was another fantastic day for the Aquanita stable, with Simon Miller preparing a double when Oz Racing’s Bombora ($7.50) disposed of rivals in the sixth, before High Limit ($2.80 fav) scored a narrow victory in the last.

Hoop Pat Carbery did best in the saddling when landing Molto Allegro ($7.00) for David Harrison in the opener, and followed it up with a dashing performance aboard runaway victor Cool Trade ($4.80) in the third for Alan Mathews.

PR1). Westspeed Plate 2YO 1200m.

Another open affair to kick off the day, but the result would be anything but. Vitalism ($3.80 fav) started public elect but was never in the race after second starter Molto Allegro ($7.00) broke the stalls with vigor to dictate terms throughout. Universal King ($5.50) applied the pressure early but to no avail, as Pat Carbery released the brakes on Molto Allegro in the straight to career away for a three length hiding.

WATCH: Vitalism was found well out of its ground when dead last on the turn, but did run on nicely on a day that wouldn’t suit the back-markers – will pay to watch the racing conditions next start and invest accordingly.

PR2). $100,000 Listed Raconteur Stakes 1500m.

A disappointing six horse field presented for this 3yo feature, and all the money came for two horses – He Or She ($2.30 fav) and Testamezzo ($2.40).When Young Knight ($17.00) hit the ground running the race looked set up for the swoopers, but William Pike persisted with the Al Samer gelding and extended swinging the turn. But Peter Knuckey had Testamezzo in the box seat and rounded up the brave leader in the last 100m to win by ¾ length.

WATCH: Another gutsy ride from Pike aboard Young Knight who nearly stole the show – will pay to watch this horse going forward.

PR3). Westspeed Sprint 3YO BM60+ 1200m.

The hype surrounding Oz Racing’s Classical Prince ($2.10 – $1.90 fav) prerace was enormous, but it was not to be for connections when the Stravinsky 3yo failed to deliver at the business end. The ever consistent Mireille ($10.00) elected to lead from barrier two with Pat Carbery and Cool Trade ($4.80) in hot pursuit. The race was there to be had on the turn, but only Cool Trade presented and strolled to the line untouched for a 1 ½ length victory rewarding Carbery with an early riding double.

WATCH: Classical Prince copped a bump at the top of the turn and didn’t stretch out in the straight – is better than that and there may be further excuses – a must to follow.

PR4). Sheldon Peterson’s 40th BM60+ 1000m.

The lottery race on the card was up for grabs, and if punters did one thing right today it was laying the favourite Gottabeyou ($3.10 – $3.80 fav). Buster’s Empire ($5.50 – $4.80) was well commissioned and stormed the gates early to take a comfortable lead, and looked the goods entering the straight. But the resuming Regal Romp ($7.50) had had a soft run throughout and charged down the centre of the track to salute comfortably by 2 ¼ lengths from Madam Sass ($5.50) with Buster’s Empire clinging to third.

WATCH: Not much to report on this one, but we’ll be watching Amber’s Hero next start after it ran out the race well into fourth.

PR5). $100,000 Listed Grandstand Cup 1500m.

An upheld protest marred an exciting finish to the second feature of the day, after Mr Utopia ($5.00) and Shaun McGruddy seemed to have defied the odds in beating raging favourite Amorino ($1.90 fav) to the line. But premiership hoop William Pike was quick to interject – citing that Amorino had been cut off at the top of the turn – and the officials agreed with his argument, reversing the result. Global Flirt ($13.00) did best of the rest to secure third a further 2 ¼ lengths adrift.

WATCH: Despite thinking the protest result was correct, there is no denying Mr Utopia has returned to its stunning 3yo form which saw it win four from five starts – a gut wrenching way to lose a feature race.

PR6). Tabtouch Supporting WA Racing BM72+ 1400m.

Oz Racing had five runners across the country today, including three at Ascot supporting our new silks, but we would have to wait for our final runner to celebrate – and celebrate we did… Black Magic Miss ($4.80 fav) would start public elect in a wide open race, but it would be Passion Cantata ($10.00) that would lead the field to the turn. But hot on its tail was Oz Racing’s Bombora ($7.50), and when Chantelle O’Grady claimed the leader at the 250m mark it was all over – the Tiger Hill 6yo jettisoned to the line for a crushing 1 ½ length triumph.

WATCH: Again nothing ran on, but Black Magic Miss had excuses and still managed to find the line well to finish fourth – another that will enjoy a change in racing conditions to suit.

PR7). Westspeed Stayers’ Bonus BM66+ 2200m.

The closest finish for the day would be saved for the staying event, as “quaddie killer” Toned ($19.00) did enough over the concluding stages to deny Hel Cool ($7.00) by a nose. Rive Gauche ($11.00) and Reprisal ($81.00) set a steady pace early in proceedings, and for a moment we thought the back-markers would benefit. But sitting just off the leaders was Hel Cool and Toned, and it would be that pair that would fight out the finish. Dubai Escapade ($8.50) rattled home into third a half-length astern.

WATCH: Big run from Dubai Escapade from ninth on the turn – stays under notice on that effort.

PR8). Ascend Sales Trophies BM66+ 1200m.

Relief for the punters in the last when High Limit ($2.80 fav) and Jason Whiting brought up a training double for Simon Miller – but it wouldn’t come easy. Pribyl ($51.00) and Lord Hatras ($10.00) battled for the early lead, but it would be Daintree Road ($18.00) who would hit the front late in the race before being claimed in the shadows of the post by the favourite – a long neck the official margin. It was a further 2 ½ lengths to Swap Ya ($9.00) who rounded off the minors.

WATCH: It has been a while since we have heard from Daintree Road, but the Magic Albert 7yo backed up well from a recent win in Albany and did everything but win this race – has it turned the corner?


There is no bigger punting anchor than overconfidence, and after what looked like a pretty straight forward Ascot card on paper went drastically south, we were left scratching our collective heads pondering what went so wrong. The answer was actually quite simple – we spruiked the back-markers on a day that was never going to be. It took an upheld protest to find our only winner (Amorino $1.90 fav), and when Toned crushed our quaddie in the third leg – the white flag was firmly in the air. The verdict – a massive fail…

Chris Blackwell