Predictions of lengthy sunny periods will attract punters and poseurs alike to Flemington on Saturday and Vinery can keep celebrating with another curtain-call during the final meeting of the carnival.
Vinery took centre-stage on Thursday when its Inglis Easter Sale graduate Aristia dominated the cream of Australia’s 3yo staying fillies in the VRC Oaks Gr.1. She was backing up after a Wakeful Stakes Gr.2 victory last Saturday.
More Than Ready stallion Prized Icon can claim another Group 1 at headquarters in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Saturday. He put the writing on the wall when narrowly defeated in the Crystal Mile Gr.2 at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago.
Prized Icon won the 2016 Victoria Derby Gr.1 and is overdue at the elite level after several near misses and some not so near behind Winx. “He’s really well,” trainer Kris Lees said. “He may also go to Perth so we still have a few things to weigh up.”
All Too Hard is also knocking on the door with Sydney visitors All Too Soon (Matriarch Stakes Gr.2) and Warranty (Chatham Stakes Gr.3).
The Vinery sire had Superhard finished second in the $200,000 Country Cup Final on Thursday and Illuminaire closed VRC Oaks day with a length-and-change loss in the Red Roses Stakes Gr.3.
All Too Soon charged home at Randwick last month and James McDonald takes over for her first start in Melbourne. Warranty was doing her best work at the finish of The Nivison Gr.3 on the same day and the booking of Kerrin McEvoy will help diffuse a wide draw.
All Too Hard’s Singapore sprinter Jomo kept his unbeaten record intact at Kranji last Sunday and Vinery-homebred All Too Royal is also spotless this spring following an odds-on victory at Mornington earlier on Sunday. Behemoth broke through at Morphettville on Tuesday like a horse who will eventually graduate to black-type. He’s one of the biggest All Too Hards in training and his frame is filled with the potential to come good for the autumn carnivals.
Perth is also gearing up for its summer carnival and the west’s leading owner-breeders Bob & Sandra Peters will dominate again at Ascot on Saturday.
Their Testa Rossa filly Enticing Star has opened a $2.40 favourite to extend her unbeaten record in the Lee-Steere Stakes Gr.2. “Everything’s perfect,” trainer Adam Durrant said this week. “She just had a little freshen up after the winter and hasn’t missed a beat. But she is taking on the big boys for the first time and we will see what she’s made of this weekend.”
True Attraction (More Than Ready) is among the main chances in a wide-open Fairetha Stakes LR at Ascot. “He knows how to find the line,” Peters said after a power-packed last-start victory. “He’s on a path to the (G2) WA Guineas in a fortnight.”
Across the Tasman, Mossman 3yo More Wonder has earned a start in the NZ 2000 Guineas Gr.1 at Riccarton on Saturday. He is trained by Graeme Rogerson and has been unlucky since returning from a winter spell with placings at Trentham and Arawa Park.
Testa Rossa’s top-class sprinter Enzo’s Lad returns to Riccarton for the Stewards Hcp Gr.3 next Wednesday. He recovered from an awkward getaway to finish third when racing first-up in the Ashburton Cup (1200m) last month.
Enzo’s Lad will be set to repeat his stunning Group 1 Telegraph Hcp victory in January. “I know people say it was a fluke he won the Telegraph and, yes, he did get a dream run,” co-trainer Michael Pitman admitted. “But he still won it – that’s what counts – and he deserves to have another crack at the big one.”