Eckstein set up a stakes-winning weekend for Vinery graduates when she was voted Country Horse Of The Year at the NSW Racehorse Owners Awards on Thursday evening.
Vinery sold Eckstein for $165,000 at the 2015 Gold Coast Magic Millions on behalf of Adam White, who’d purchased her as a weanling from Redbank North owners Jamie and Fiona Middleton. The I Am Invincible mare has since accrued over $1.16million for her owners and trainer Chris Waller who also accepted the Bart Cummings Medal and T J Smith Award at the Royal Randwick Ballroom.
Vinery’s star graduate Exhilarates races first-up in the Quezette Stakes Gr.3 at Caulfield this Saturday and trainer James Cummings is looking forward to her clash with stablemate Lyre.
Exhilarates (Exceed And Excel) was bred and sold by Vinery for $600,000 at the 2018 Gold Coast Magic Millions. She launched Godolphin’s clean-sweep of Australia’s most important juvenile races last season in the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic RL and Lyre followed up in the Blue Diamond Stakes Gr.1.
Cummings couldn’t hide his optimism when interviewed by AAP on Thursday. “It’s a real pleasure to be returning a Magic Millions winner to racing and I’m looking forward to seeing her step out,” he said. “I don’t know how good she could be.”
Adelaide-based All Too Hard 4yo Behemoth is also likely to start in the Regal Roller Stakes LR at Caulfield instead of the Spring Stakes Gr.3 at Morphettville.
Trainer David Jolly believes the Regal Roller is a better fit for the giant gelding. “Obviously, there’s a bit more travel involved but the race at home is at weight-for-age and he would meet a couple of Group 1 horses on equal terms. The Caulfield event is a handicap and he’s only one kilo over the minimum.”
Behemoth was runner-up to Despatch in the Goodwood Hcp Gr.1 at Morphettville in May and he resumed from a let-up with a second to Assertive Approach in the Lightning Stakes LR at Morphettville last month.
Jolly has Group 1 spring targets for Behemoth in the Memsie Stakes and Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield before a possible tilt at $7.50 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill in November.
Bookmakers have installed More Than Ready sprinter Lockroy second favourite at $4 for the Belmont Newmarket LR on Saturday. Melbourne-bound galloper Great Again has been heavily supported from $7 into a $2.60 favourite for the first black-type race of the season in Perth.
Trainer Chris Gangemi will send Lockroy for a spell next week in advance of a Group 1 campaign for the $1 million Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in November.
More Than Ready’s 2yo team for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita in November received a setback this week when his stakes winning filly Magic Dance was sidelined for the rest of the year. She won the Debutante Stakes LR at Churchill Downs in June and followed up with courageous third in the Adirondack Stakes Gr.2 at Saratoga earlier this month.
Magic Dance stumbled badly at the break of the Adirondack and pulled up with bone bruising. “She reached up and hit the back of her left ankle,” trainer Steve Asmussen reported. “She’s going to get time off at Three Chimneys Farm.”
More Than Ready’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Pluck is doubled-handed in Sunday’s $100,000 Taree Gold Cup with Cogliere and Mongolian Wolf.
Cogliere has been a major money-spinner for Port Macquarie trainer Marc Quinn earning $333,250 from 6 wins in 31 starts. He was bred and sold by Holbrook Thoroughbreds for $22,000 at the 2015 Inglis Classic Summer Book and is owned by syndicate members that raced horses with Marc’s father Pat Quinn.
Pluck got him from Final Star (Delago Brom), a half-sister to the dam of Melbourne Group 3 winners Nediym’s Glow (General Nediym) and Red Colossus (Testa Rossa).
Mongolian Wolf is one of a half-dozen stablemates nominated for the Taree Cup by trainer Kris Lees. The former NZ galloper is coming off a fourth in Sydney and a third in Brisbane and has class on his side with a Group 3 to his credit at Randwick.