Mare in tune for spring campaign
TALENTED Warrnambool mare Spirit Song will use a first-up run in an $80,000 mares’ race at Caulfield on September 1 as a launching pad for the $500,000 group 1 Myer Classic at Flemington on November 3.
Spirit Song has won six of her eight starts for Aaron Purcell. Two of those — the Schweppes Stakes at Flemington and the Sunline Stakes at Moonee Valley — carry group status. Both races were run in March.
Purcell said the five-year-old mare had spelled well and he was looking forward to a good spring preparation for Spirit Song.
“We do a lot of beach work with her,” he said. “We don’t take her to the track. We’re going to target some of the good mares’ races with her during the spring. Her grand final will be in the Myer Spring Stakes on Oaks Day.”
Purcell said he had been amazed in the improvement of Spirit Song.
“When we got her I thought we might win a mid-week mares’ race in town but she has kept on winning. She’s all heart,” he said. “She loves working on the beach. I would say she has thrived on that sort of preparation.”
Meanwhile, Purcell said there were some positives to take out of the run of his imported galloper Val Mondo to finish sixth in a field of seven at Caulfield on Saturday.
“The track was really heavy,” he said. “I think you’ll find the first three place getters in his race on Saturday will be handy milers during the spring. We knew the 1600 metres would be too short for us. Ben Melham (jockey) said the horse never handled the going.
“We’ll send him over to Adelaide for a race over 2000 metres in a fortnight before getting him ready for the $120,000 JRA Stakes at Moonee Valley over 2040 metres. He will be suited to the longer distance races.”
Val Mondo will have his stablemate Yokozuna as a travelling companion. Yokozuna won a 1000-metre race at Warrnambool last Tuesday by more than two lengths.
“We’ve entered Yokozuna at a couple of other places this week but I think we’ll take him to Adelaide for his next start in a 1200-metre race,” Purcell said.
A fitting award for Warrnambool
WARRNAMBOOL Racing Club chairman Des Roberts said it was fitting that the May Racing Carnival had been recognised by its peers with the Country Racing Victoria (CRV) event of the year award in Melbourne on Saturday night.
The club’s inaugural CRV award came after it lifted all its benchmark budgets for the carnival.
“The award is a great reward for our hard-working staff, which includes our management team of CEO John Green, Liam O’Keeffe, Sue van Rooy, Brad Pole and the rest of our staff,” Roberts said.
“They are all passionate about seeing the club succeed and grow. The win is a fitting result for all the hard work that our staff put into the carnival.”
Roberts, who is in his first term as chairman, praised Racing Minister Denis Napthine and the club’s former chairman Margaret Lucas and his fellow committee members for the win.
Big hopes for Berlioz in feature jumps races
FORMER Warrnambool Racing Club chairman Margaret Lucas hopes Berlioz can make the leap from winning the Leslie Short South Australian Grand National Steeplechase on Saturday to being competitive in feature jumping races at the 2013 Warrnambool May Racing Carnival.
Lucas, who part-owns Berlioz with a group of friends, was excited the seven-year-old won the feature jumping race at Morphettville.
“I suppose what made the win even more special was it was named after the late Leslie Short,” she said.
“He was a long-time sponsor of the Warrnambool Racing Club through his company Dominant. I think Robbie Laing (trainer) will spell the horse now and set him for next year’s Warrnambool Brierly Steeplechase or the Grand Annual Steeplechase. He’s only had the two steeple starts. He was unlucky in his first attempt at Bendigo but really improved on Saturday.”
Princess Diablo to have a brief rest
HONEST Warrnambool mare Princess Diablo will have a brief let-up after running seventh in a mares’ race over 1400 metres at Caulfield on Saturday.
Trainer Merv McKenzie said Princess Diablo failed to handle the heavy going on Saturday.
“She never was at home in the going,” McKenzie said. “It would have been the heaviest track that she has raced on. I’ll give her a few weeks off before getting her back into work. It’s no good taking her down to town for the races during the spring. ”
Michael Hayden to help track curators
UNDER the direction of Racing Victoria, Terang’s racecourse manager Michael Hayden has taken up the job to help track curators at Dunkeld, Penshurst, Mortlake, Camperdown, Colac, Edenhope and Casterton as they prepare their tracks for meetings.
Warrnambool’s Liam O’Keeffe will assist curators at Hamilton and Coleraine in the lead up to their meetings. Hayden and O’Keeffe will continue in their jobs with Terang and Warrnambool respectively.
Strong bidding at thoroughbred sale
STRONG bidding meant last week’s Inglis August thoroughbred sale increased its gross sales by more than 55 per cent. The sale produced a clearance rate of 96 per cent.
The Wadham Park unreserved dispersal proved popular with buyers, with Ravenous Lass and Swosh recording the equal highest price when each sold for $100,000 to John Leek and Danny O’Brien respectively.