Just Junior to start jumps career

BLOODLINE: Regina Coeli, pictured leading during the Grand Annual, will be joined in jumps racing by sibling Just Junior. Picture: Morgan Hancock
BLOODLINE: Regina Coeli, pictured leading during the Grand Annual, will be joined in jumps racing by sibling Just Junior. Picture: Morgan Hancock

REGINA Coeli and her half-brother Al Garhood are both dual Warrnambool Grand Annual Steeplechase winners.

Just Junior, another sibling out of the old mare Alstomeria, is only weeks away from beginning his jumping career. Trainer Ciaron Maher is confident the lightly raced seven-year-old will perform well in jumps races.

“We've done a fair bit of schooling over the jumps with Just Junior and he goes well at the caper,” Maher said. “He's got big shoes to fill to match the deeds of his siblings but he's showing plenty of promise.

“The big plus Just Junior has over Regina Coeli and Al Garhood is he's a better flat performer then both of them. He's won a distance flat race at Moonee Valley and another flat race at Pakenham, and I'm sure Regina Coeli and Al Garhood could not have achieved those feats on the flat.”

Maher, who has stables at Caulfield and Pakenham plus training facilities in Warrnambool, said Just Junior may have one or two more hurdle schools before his first jumps race.

“Just Junior is not far away from making his jumps debut,” he said.

“I think he just needs another school or two to have him right for a hurdle race. We've decided to give Regina Coeli a break after her Grand Annual win.

“We want to set her for next year’s Annual, but her main danger may be her half-brother Just Junior.”

Just Junior has won more than $50,000 in stake money from his 17 flat races.

MO SUCCESS

IMPORT Dormello Mo may run in a $30,000 open steeplechase at Casterton this Sunday, after his first Australian jumps victory at Mount Gambier.

Trainer Simon Ryan was happy Dormello Mo got the monkey off his back, defeating Twin Tea Bags and Street Outlaw in Friday’s $17,000 steeplechase.

“It's just a relief Dormello Mo got a win,” the Warrnambool-based trainer said.

“Dormello Mo came over here pretty well credentialled as far as running over jumps. He was disappointing in the Brierly but I decided to drop him back in class and go to the Mount.

“He's been jumping too high in his races but he seemed a lot better on Friday. Jockey Braidon Small rode him well.”

Ryan, a former jumps jockey, said he was confident Dormello Mo would be suited by the live hedges at Casterton this Sunday.

“I'm taking Dormello Mo up to Casterton on Thursday to give him a school over the fences,” he said.

“I think it's best he has a good look around the jumps course before Sunday's race.

“It's a tricky sort of course – I know that by experience because I rode in plenty of steeplechase races there.” Dormello Mo has won eight of his 32 jumps starts.

BEACH BABE

BEACH work has been the key to the improved form of five-year-old mare Blacktein, according to her trainer Adam Chambers.

Blacktein won a restricted race at Mount Gambier last Friday for the Warrnambool-based trainer.

“Working on the beach has really changed Blacktein’s behaviour,” Chambers said. “She used to be unruly before I started working her  at the beach. She's a different horse.

“She settles better in her races. I've only had her for 13 starts and she's won four so she's going really well.”

Blacktein has developed into a 1300-metre specialist.

TRUE LEGACY

THE racing deeds of the late great Bart Cummings are well documented.

Twelve Melbourne Cup victories and an inaugural inductee into the Australian Racing Hall Of Fame in 2001 are among his achievements. With the latest list of 11 inductees – spanning from horses and jockeys to trainers and associates – announced this week, it may be time for some of his former champions of the turf to be acknowledged.

MOTT OUTED

JAMIE Mott pleaded guilty to a careless riding charge after riding All Well in a hurdle race at Ballarat on Sunday. Mott let All Well to shift in tightening Something To Share and Waxing. Mott had his licence suspended from May 14-21.

STAKES UPPED

OWNERS, trainers and jockeys are the big winners with a prize money increase of $15.5 million for races in Victoria from August 1.

The stake increases are spread from prestigious Group 1 races to once-a-year picnic race meetings throughout country Victoria.

More than $214 million will be up for grabs in the new racing season.

Increases include a bigger, better Spring Racing Carnival to launch on the first weekend of spring with a $1 million Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) – up from $500,000 in 2016 – at Caulfield on September 2.

Victoria’s being positioned as the place to race three-year-olds, with minimum prizemoney for Saturday metropolitan races raised to $120,000 and the following feature race increases announced for the age group: $2 million Caulfield Guineas (1600m, Caulfield, October 14) – up $1 million, $1 million Coolmore Stakes (1200m, Flemington, November 4) – up $500,000, $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m, Flemington, March 3) – up $250,00.

Victoria’s status as home of the stayer has been affirmed, with minimum prizemoney of $120,000 for all Saturday metro races over 2000m or further – an increase of 50 per cent for some classes. A $100,000 minimum is being introduced for standard Saturday metro races, in addition to the premium increase for three-year-old and staying races (2000m+).

There will also be greater returns for first-time wins, with minimum prizemoney for standard country maidens raised by 10 per cent to $22,000, premium country maidens to $25,000 and $27,000 for maidens at country night meetings.