A new twist presented itself in the lead up to this year’s Ascot Group 1 Karrakatta feature for the two year olds, when the Darren McAuliffe trained Oratism ($7.50) saluted in the Westspeed 2yo Plate 1200m.

Having yet to open its winning account, the Oratorio filly had produced sound performances its first four starts – none better than its narrow short head second behind Moet Me last November. Commencing well from barrier two, jockey Shaun O’Donnell took hold of his mount, as an ensuing speed battle unfolded ahead of him. Play With Fire ($12.00) flew the gates, as did race fancy Vampi Lass ($3.00 fav), neither prepared to concede the leading position. The pair played “cat and mouse” for a majority of the race, as they strung out the field with blistering sectionals. Maintaining the speed upfront would ultimately prove the undoing for the pace makers, as Oratism gobbled up the ground over the final furlong – putting paid to rivals as it collected an impressive half-length reward for effort.

Low Tide ($5.00) stormed home from twelfth to claim second, while the photo was required to separate Vampi Lass and Moonsearch ($4.60) who battled out the minors respectively.

In other races, jockey Paul Harvey copped an 18 day suspension when causing interference aboard the first of his two winning rides – Black Tycoon ($1.80 fav) again successful for the third time in as many starts when a lucky half-length victor in the Stevenson Logistics HCP 1820m. Harvey followed up his offending ride with a cracking effort aboard Young Lionel ($3.30 fav) who proved too classy in winning the Westside Auto Wholesale HCP 1400.

Hoop William Pike steered home a double for trainer Dan Morton when Coughlin’s Law ($19.00) opened its winning account in the Banksia Capital HCP 2100m, together with a stellar ride aboard Galiletto ($2.35) when saluting in the Norton Rose Aust. HCP 1400m.

Trainer Neville Parnham had reason to celebrate when his 4yo Blackfriars mare Dark Rock ($9.00) provided the only “all the way” win for the day in the United Overseas Aust. HCP 1200m, while silk Troy Turner continued his own purple patch of riding victories when successful aboard Wahkeena ($16.00) in the Grant Thornton 3YO HCP 1100m.

The lucky last offered a somewhat expected result, with equal favourite Let’s Lighten Up ($4.40 equ fav) giving hoop Ryan Hill an armchair ride throughout to run away with the tabtouch.mobi HCP 1200m.

The Hoops / Trainers

Training double for Dan Morton and riding doubles for Paul Harvey and William Pike.

The Black Book

There were a handful of promising rides from horses flooding home from well back today, none more so than the fast finishing effort from the Blackfriars 2yo gelding Low Tide in the opener, the run throwing yet another Karrakatta anomaly into the mix. Even Astar put in its best run for some time, coming from fourteenth on the turn to get within a length of winning the sixth, while The Tenby Friar reproduced yet another barnstorming finish in the seventh to suggest a win is not too far away.

Chris Blackwell  – www.ozracing.com.au