Today I’m riding at Flemington for the Rapid Racing meeting. The rail is out 12 metres and after significant rain this morning the track is rated in the heavy range. The Rapid Racing concept is to run seven races every half-an-hour over the short course distances, with riders split into teams of either Country or Metropolitan with points allocated for individuals as well as teams. The riders on the Country team are allocated horses with odd number saddle cloths and riders on the Metropolitan team are allocated horses with even number saddle cloths. I’m on the Metropolitan team and our coach is Dennis Pagan.
Race 1 is the Tick Homes Plate over 1200 metres, my ride here is OXLEY ROAD who is trained by Peter G Moody. This three-year-old colt by Exceed And Excel is having his first start today. I’ve seen him have two jumpouts at Pakenham, once where he made all the running and was dominant in his effort, and at his most recent jumpout he was ridden off the speed and once he was asked to extend his response was sharp and he was very strong through the line. If he brings his jumpout efforts to the races and handles the straight course he will be the horse to beat.
Race 2 is the BM64 Firstly Home Sprint over 1000 metres for three-year-old’s, my ride here is SNAPPY MAGNUS who is trained by Danielle Chapman. This gelding by Magnus is lightly raced having had three starts for a win and a third placing. He finished fifth on debut at Bendigo in December before winning his maiden by three lengths at his home track of Kyneton at his next start. At his most recent start he stepped up to BM58 grade taking on the older horses and wasn’t beaten far to finish third and less than half a length from the winner. This is a small and competitive field and I expect he can make his presence felt if he handles the straight course.
Race 3 is the BM70 Winslow Constructors Dash over 1000 metres, my ride here is MODEAR who is trained by Patrick Payne. This four-year-old mare by Helmet is lightly raced for her age having had 14 starts for a record of three wins and two third placings. She looks to be a lovely, strong mare who won first up this preparation at Sandown over the same distance as this race. She is a horse that usually gets back in the early stages before finishing off strongly and it looks like this race will be run to suit her, with a lot of pressure on paper. She is dropping back in grade today after running in a BM78 fillies and mares last start and is also dropping back in distance slightly from that run. If the track is allowing horses to finish off and she runs up to her usual form, she will be winning this.
Race 4 is the BM64 Eynesbury Golf Plate over 1100 metres, my ride here is SURIN BEACH who is trained by Shane Fliedner. This three-year-old gelding by Excelebration has had six starts for a record of a win and a third placing. All of his six runs were in his last preparation last year and he is resuming today. I expect he will have taken natural improvement and maturity with the benefit of a racing preparation and I’m looking forward to seeing how he presents pre-race. On his best form he will definitely be one of the main contenders in this.
Race 6 is the BM70 PSP Property Group Sprint over 1200 metres, my ride here is ALBURQ who is trained by Michael Moroney. This four-year-old gelding by Rubick is raced by R & C Legh Racing and partners. He’s had 19 starts for a record of one win and nine minor placings, amassing over a quarter-of-a-million dollars in prizemoney. His only win has been as this track and distance and he race here fourth-up this preparation. He is dropping down in grade from his past two starts and will have the blinkers removed from his head gear. He is a very consistent galloper and if he runs up to his best form he has the ability to win this.
Race 7 is the BM64 Resimax Group Jockeys Challenge Trophy over 1200 metres for fillies and mares, my ride here is ARIGATO who is trained by Shane Nichols. This four-year-old mare by Choisir has had 18 starts for a record of three wins and four third placings. She is a versatile mare in both her racing pattern and distances, having won over short course distances when ridden off the speed and also winning over a mile when leading all the way. This will be her first time racing over the straight six at Flemington so I’ll be mindful of that and help her as much as I can. She comes into this second-up and with confidence from her dominant first-up win and is stepping up one level in grade and drops a kilo in weight. If she handles the straight course she will take a lot of beating in this.