Well-fancied flops and excuses from Saturday racing


by James Lamb and Jack Fitzpatrick

Here’s our assessment of the horses to forgive and forget from SA Derby day at Morphettville, Hollindale Stakes day at the Gold Coast, The Coast day at Gosford, and Caulfield.

READ: Saturday racing in review, SA Derby day

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Lord Belvedere ($3.60F) – Gold Coast R3 (2400m)

The ride of Mark Zahra received the Slaughter yesterday after both connections and punters alike voiced their displeasure. Andrew Hawkins, Racing Manager for ownership group Highclere Racing Australia, told Punters: “How you can end up three-wide the trip, at the Gold Coast of all places, from gate four is atrocious. For a top jockey, that was a disgraceful ride.” Hawkins also confirmed to Punters that multiple jockey managers had already been in contact wanting to have their client ride the horse next start.

Stampe ($4.20) – Gold Coast R4 (1200m)

Did a good job to finish fourth yesterday, beaten 1.25L, after racing three-wide without cover having jumped from the widest barrier. Despite the tough trip, he got going late and was taking ground off the leading pack in the closing stages.

Ranch Hand ($2.05F) – Gold Coast R5

We wrote yesterday that he’s becoming costly, having gone under at $1.40F and $2.05F in two of his four career starts, but he did have genuine excuses in the G3 Ken Russell Memorial Classic. The Chris Waller-trained colt was held up at a crucial stage, with the stewards’ report noting he was “unable to improve making the turn into the home straight.” He still showed a good turn-of-foot when clear, punching through on the inside to fight out the finish. However, he was beaten 0.1L by Subterranean – who’s jockey was subsequently suspended and fined for overuse of the whip. Seriously, fancy being a punter or connection of Ranch Hand and seeing your horse beaten in a tight photo – by a horse who broke the rules. And while punishments are handed out to the jockey on the winner, no action is taken and you’re instead punished for following the rules.

Rocketing By ($4.40) and Simply Fly ($6.50) – Gold Coast R7 (1200m)

A couple of clear forgives for the pair who finished fifth and sixth respectively, beaten 2.65L and 4.4L.

Not only did Rocketing By undergo the dreaded pre-race vet examination, but stewards noted his hampered run in the straight: “Was unable to secure clear running between the 400 metres and the 200 metres,” they said. Hardly ideal for a horse settling towards the rear of the field in a race dominated by those on-speed.

Simply Fly’s excuses became clear after the race, where he appeared to lack his customary finishing burst. “Underwent a post-race veterinary examination revealed the gelding to be displaying signs of mild thumps post-race,” stewards said. That certainly can’t help!

It’s worth noting that Amish Boy ($8, beaten 4.8L in seventh) also had excuses. “Was slightly slow to begin and then lost ground when crowded between runners. Raced four-wide throughout,” the stewards’ report noted. Meanwhile, stewards reported Lord Olympus ($9.50, beaten 2.35L in fourth) “raced three-wide without cover throughout.”

Liqueuro ($6.50) – Morphettville R7 (2500m)

Liqueuro enjoyed a nice run up on the speed here but was gone basically as soon as Currie took him to the lead at the top of the straight. It was a very plain finish by a horse who had won 4 from 5 leading into the race. However, a post-race vet examination revealed the gelding to be lame in the near foreleg. 

Horrifying ($3.60) – Caulfield R7 (2000m)

Kah told stewards post-race that Horrifying ‘raced flat and was disappointing’, but while she had a brilliant day in the saddle, this was not a great ride by the gun hoop. After jumping from barrier five, Horrifying raced wide without cover for basically the entire 2000m journey. Given he had 59kg, it was no real shock that he didn’t savage the line. He was vetted clear.

Anagain ($5) – Gosford R1

The second-elect in the market put in a shocker, finishing more than 5L from the winner and failing to beat a runner home. A maiden winner and a G3 runner-up prior to yesterday’s failure, a post-race vet check revealed no abnormalities. However, rider Grant Buckley reported Anagain was “uncharacteristically stirred up prior to the even and was fractious in the barriers.” Further, he said she “raced in a manner where it appeared to have come to the end of its preparation.” Trainer Garry Frazer confirmed she will now be spelled, and she showed enough in her first two runs to be forgiven for yesterday.

So Wicked ($4.20) – Gosford R5

A last-start winner before yesterday, this Street Cry mare led the field into the straight before fading and only beating three runners home, finishing 4.45L from the winner. The excuses for the Chris Waller-trained 6YO are two-fold: first, Tommy Berry suggested 2100m might be a stretch too far, and the 1900m at Canterbury sees her out ; second, a post-race vet check revealed the mare to be 1/5 lame.


Anything that finished behind Zaaki in the G2 Hollindale Stakes (1800m)

The asterisk next to this is when they race Zaaki again. The Hollindale was a very good field, with leading Queensland trainer Trent Edmonds declaring “it’s probably the best Hollindale ever” in the lead-up to the race. But it was a one act affair – the UK import decimated his opposition to the tune of 2.25L. He raced three-wide from the 1000m mark onwards but it mattered little, and it’s hard to see any of those behind him turning the tables if they meet him again.

He’s A Balter ($4.60) – Morphettville R3 (1400m)Some may have sacked him already given his record (19:2-5-2) but he keeps going around at pretty short prices. Since winning at Bairnsdale back in October last year, He’s A Balter has been rolled at $4.20, $4.40, $4.60, $10, $2.60, $3.90, $3.60, $4.40 and $4.60 – bookies must absolutely love him. This was a really plain performance after settling three-back on the fence in a race where the first two home came from off the speed.

Appalachian ($3.20) – Morphettville R5 (1050m)

He’s won 3 from 12 – not a bad record at all – but he’s been rolled at $4 or shorter on seven occasions. His best is very good and exciting to watch, but often he’s slow out and he has a nasty habit of over-racing in behind runners. He got well back in this 1050m affair and really made no impression at all, just plugging home for seventh, beaten 5.5L. A post-race vet examination revealed no abnormalities and you’d be a brave punter to butter up again next start if he’s shorter than each-way odds.

Mozzie Monster ($5.50) – Caulfield R8 (1600m)

She definitely has ability this Sadler filly but she just leaves herself with way too much to do due to her poor gate manners. She’s slow out of the stalls more often than not and unless you’re a special talent like Chautauqua, it’s pretty hard to win when you’re having to loop the field from the rear or duck and dive through. Stewards placed a warning on Mozzie Monster after she was reluctant to proceed to the mounting yard and barriers.

Entente ($8) and Young Rascal ($9.50) – Gosford R7 (2100m)

A pair of stayers we’re happy to let go.

Entente was placed in the Jury’s Out section after his last-start seventh and offered little yesterday, finishing 4.51L from the winner in fifth after appearing to have every chance in the run. Well, the jury is back after yesterday’s performance and the verdict is in: sacked!

Young Rascal arrived last autumn with star stablemate Addeybb and won his first race in Australia – the G3 Manion Cup (2400m), defeating Mugatoo – before starting favourite in the Sydney Cup. He only managed seventh in the Sydney Cup though and was transferred to Archie Alexander and continued to race in Australia. In four starts for Alexander, he’s finished no better than seventh and got no closer than 5.3L to the winner. A post-race vet check yesterday revealed no abnormalities, while Jason Collett reported he was “disappointed with the gelding’s final 200m in that it gave ground.”

Let It Pour ($10) – Gosford R9 (1200m)

Finished last, beaten 5.62L, with two $101 chances beating her home. All the stewards’ report had to say was: “Rider J Ford could offer no excuse for the disappointing performance. A postrace veterinary examination did not reveal any abnormalities.” Considering she hasn’t won in eight starts since breaking her maiden last August, and has only placed twice in that time, we’re letting her go.


Wisdom Of Water ($3.90) – Gold Coast R4 (1200m)

This three-year-old son of Headwater wasn’t exactly a flop yesterday, finishing third, beaten 1.15L, in a Listed race against the older horses. However, he was afforded every chance by Jye McNeil and loomed at the 200m as if he would win before dying on his run. His other two starts this prep have been a second at G3 level and sixth in a G2 so he’s hardly going horribly, but it’s been just under a year since his last win and the horse who won his race yesterday, Baller, hadn’t won since September 2019. Questions must be asked …

Tycoon Evie ($4.20F) – Gold Coast R6 (1800m)

If you were to watch this as the field approached the home turn, you’d throw this well-related filly straight in the Forgive section. Stewards noted she was “held up and unable to improve between the 600 metres and the 400 metres.” At that stage she looked to have plenty to offer but was caught on the fence behind a tiring galloper and had nowhere to go. However, from there, she simply did not quicken when the gap did come and only battled to the line, beaten 8.85L in 10th. This is the same horse who ran past Eagle Farm track record holder Kisukano and subsequent black-type winner Apache Chase over 1200m just two starts ago, showcasing a very different turn-of-foot. Maybe being held up is the reason she didn’t finish off. Maybe she didn’t handle the track. Or maybe she’s not a stayer, given her full brother, Winning Rupert, was a noted speedster. A post-race vet check revealed no abnormalities.

Maui Girl ($4.60F) – Gold Coast R9 (1400m)

Was deadset crunched in betting yesterday, shortening from as much as $14 before starting favourite. However, she showed next to nothing, finishing 7.25L from the winner in 10th. Amazingly, the mare isn’t even mentioned in the stewards’ report, hence her inclusion in Jury’s Out – how do we know what to make of yesterday!?

Three Kings ($4.20) – Morphettville R2 (1400m)Three Kings looked good posting back-to-back wins at Ballarat and Flemington, but he performed well below market expectations here. Currie settled him back beyond midfield and that’s where he stayed, unable to make any sort of impression in the straight. A post-race vet examination revealed no visible abnormalities. 

Deepstrike ($5.50) – Morphettville R7 (2500m)Deepstrike was close enough if good enough in the G1 SA Derby (2500m) but he just didn’t stay the trip. The jury is very much out on him in terms of racing at 2400m and beyond, at least at a high level. He appeared to be travelling quite well in the approach to the final bend.

Agreeable ($5.50) and Way To Go Paula ($5) – Morphettville R8 (1600m)

Both of these fillies were incredibly plain in the Adelaide Guineas (1600m), won in dominant fashion by Cherry Tortoni. Way To Go Paula raced just off the speed before weakening right out in the straight, while Agreeable improved her position just one spot after passing the 400m in sixth. The two fillies, who were coming off wins in Victoria earlier this campaign, were both vetted clear post-race.

Spinning ($2.80) – Caulfield R1 (1200m)

She wasn’t awful this Lindsay Park juvenile but she was certainly entitled to beat the runner-up Linas Legend. Coming off a nice debut second to Gimmie Par, most thought Spinning would give the even-money favourite Generation a real race. That wasn’t the case at all though, with Spinning finishing 3.45L away after following the leader throughout. She was vetted clear post-race.

Portland Jimmy ($4.40) – Caulfield R2 (2000m)

Well-backed to beat the favourite Excelman, Portland Jimmy got across to lead pretty comfortably. He looked to be travelling okay in the run to the final bend but hoisted the white flag soon after being headed by Excelman. His work in the straight was horrid, dropping out to be beaten 7.35L. There were seemingly no excuses for the shocking performance, with ‘Jimmy’ cleared of any abnormalities. His previous form was good, so he’s probably worth seeing again before sacking. 

Platini ($7) – Caulfield R4 (1200m)It was a bunched finish to R4 and Platini wasn’t far away (beaten 1.85L), but the Ellerton and Zahra gelding seemingly had every possible chance. Moor rode him a treat, just off the speed with cover, but he was pretty one-paced in the run home. He might need it wet this 4YO.

Blesk ($4.60) – Gosford R4

We put him in the Sea yesterday and he deserves a spot in the Jury’s Out section too. Not because he’s hopeless and can’t win again, but because questions have to be asked as to whether he’s a betting proposition or not. His get back pattern means he can find excuses or be left with too much to do and, while he did win two starts prior to yesterday’s 4.09L fourth, he’s been beaten at $3.70 and $4.60 since – while he also went under at $3.40 before the win.

Wheelhouse ($4.40F) – Gosford R8 (1600m)

The Chris Waller-trained colt finished nearly 5L from the winner in The Coast, beating only three runners home. As a result, we threw him in the Sea considering he’s only won once in nine career starts – in a maiden on the Kensington track. We aren’t prepared to completely sack him yet – he was fifth and fourth at G1 level just three and four starts ago – but we certainly will start asking some questions. 

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