The opening race at Belmont today (the Irish Day @ Belmont Park October 5 HCP 1000m) provided a nail-biting three way photo finish, with the Lindsay Smith trained Modello ($5.50) saluting by the narrowest of margins.

Resuming from a five month spell, the Snitzel 5yo continued its impressive first up record, outlasting dead-heaters Dueton ($3.30) and Military Secret ($9.00) to win by a mere nose. Race favourite Tiger Pete ($2.60 fav) failed to find a run in the straight to finish a further half-length away in fourth.

It was a tricky day for punters, with a miss-match of results proving difficult for investors to negotiate.

Races two and three provided huge upset results that few saw coming. The Neville Parnham trained Via Laurentia ($21.00) recorded the win of the day with a barnstorming run from sixth on the turn to capture the Westspeed 3YO HCP 1200m by a length, while trainer Helen Harding certainly has a Kalgoorlie Cup prospect on her hands, when her Commands 7yo Imperial Command ($26.00) led all the way in the Westspeed Stayers’ Bonus HCP 2100m for an impressive 1 ½ length triumph.

The upsets continued in the Carlton United Brewers HCP 1000m, when an overdue Recode ($12.00) flashed home from eleventh on the turn for a short half head victory, while Dangerously ($9.00) did much the same in the Ausdrill HCP 1400m, producing a massive run from thirteenth to also salute by a short half head.

But there was some relieve for the battle weary punter.

Rose Of Choice ($2.70 fav) made it back to back wins when successful in the Kelly Kay 60th Birthday HCP 1300m – getting up by a long neck on the line, while Belmont fancy Settle Strada ($1.26 fav) was never in doubt – careering to victory in the listed WFA Goodwood Sprint 1300m by an impressive 2 ¾ lengths.

The last hoorah fell to the punter, when Danablue ($3.80 fav) scored for trainer Simon Miller – successful in the Crown Perth HCP 1300m by a length after being prominent throughout.

The Hoops / Trainers

The apprentice jockeys had a day out – with Ellie Cockram, Jerry Noske, Alex Hearn and Ben Paterson all saluting in a race each, while the trainers shared the spoils.

The Tipsters

Blackie had a torrid day first up on the punt, but did land the $109.60 quartet (first four) in the opener, and a healthy $384.70 trifecta in the sixth.

On the east coast, Shane had another blinder. At Mooney Valley Shane found best bet Broken ($13.00), together with Warwick Stakes winner Veyron ($21.00) at Warwick Farm – and the $252.80 trifecta in the same race. Windswept ($3.50 fav) also saluted for Shane at Warwick Farm, while at Eagle Farm he found winners Wishupon A Star ($21.00), Prussian Heart ($7.50), and Listen Son ($6.00).

The Black Book

I’ll be keeping a very close eye on Imperial Command as it progresses towards the Kalgoorlie Cup, while the run of Double Jester was full of merit and stays under notice.

Chris Blackwell