TWO Warrnambool-trained horses are among three horses nominated for the 2021-2022 Country Racing Victoria Horse Of The Year Award.
Glassey Miss, trained by Symon Wilde, and Lindsey Smith's In The Boat have been shortlisted for the award, while Hi Stranger is the other contender.
The Horse of the Year Award is determined by the 54 professional country race clubs who vote on the top-performed country horses in the season (only flat and country races are considered in the judging process).
Glassey Miss won three races during the year, including the $250,000 Country Mile Final at Flemington.
In The Boat has raced his way through his classes, with a win in the $500,000 Country Discovery the highlight of his short career, while Hi Stranger won the listed Kilmore Cup and ran second in the Echuca and Bendigo Cups.
Other awards to be presented are for the apprentice jockey of the year and trainer of the year.
There will be no country club awards at this year's function, which will be held in Melbourne on August 20.
Ivory's Delight scored an impressive debut win in a maiden at Bendigo on Sunday and Warrnambool trainer Symon Wilde is confident there will be more wins in store for the galloper.
The four-year-old, with Damien Thornton on board, beat his well-favoured stablemate Armstrong Bay in the $35,000 race over 1100 metres.
"I'll be honest, I thought Armstrong Bay would beat Ivory's Delight home," Wilde said.
"It was a huge run by Ivory's Delight. He was slow to begin and then slow into stride.
"I watched back at one stage and thought if he tacks onto the field, he's done a good job, but he came with a withering burst down the outside to beat Armstrong Bay.
"Ivory's Delight had trialled up well at Casterton for his debut run.
"I thought he may need one or two runs to run well.
"He's always shown us ability in the stable. We'll give him another run or two and just see how he measures up."
The two-time Grand Annual Steeplechase winning trainer said Armstrong Bay ran well but was beaten by a better horse on the day.
"I was quite happy with the performance of Armstrong Bay," he said.
"I think he'll improve on a better racing surface."
Armstrong Bay has run second at his two starts in this preparation.
Illowa-bred galloper Just Folk appears likely to kick off his campaign in the $200,000 Aurie Star Handicap at Flemington on Saturday.
Champion jockey Craig Williams has been booked to ride Just Folk, who has won over $500,000 in stakemoney from his 20 starts.
Warrnambool-trained mare Pres De Toi may back up in a $130,000 race this Saturday after winning a restricted race at Echuca last Thursday.
Trainer Peter Chow said the Echuca victory was long overdue for Pres De Toi ,who was ridden by Jarrod Fry.
"Pres De Toi has not had much luck," Chow said.
"I suppose she doesn't help herself with her normal racing pattern as she drops out in her races but she jumped better at Echuca and sat closer in the run and that paid dividends.
"It was a good ride by Jarrod.
"He's a very good jockey, who is getting more opportunities now, which he deserves."
The former star Port Fairy footballer said Pres De Toi will be heading to the breeding barn.
"We'll see how things go this week with her but she may go to Flemington this Saturday," he said.
"It looks a nice race at Flemington before she gets ready to go to the breeding barn."
Pres De Toi took her stake earnings to $300,000 with her victory.
Lindsey Smith's stable stars Tuvalu, In The Boat and Triple Missile are only weeks away from resuming for top Warrnambool trainer.
The multiple group one winning trainer said he's pleased with how Tuvalu, In The Boat and Triple Missile are progressing for their spring campaigns.
"I'm really happy how the three horses have come back into work after brief breaks," Smith said.
"Tuvalu, In The Boat and Triple Missile have been lightly-raced and I believe they're all in for good campaigns.
"We're going to lift the bar with the three of them over the spring.
"It's the toughest time of the year to race horses in Melbourne is over the spring but I'm quietly confident they'll be up to the challenges."
Tuvalu has won seven of his 11 starts and In The Boat has the same record, while Triple Missile, from his 13 runs, has won seven races.
Jockey John Robertson will be on the sidelines for 10 meetings after pleading guilty to a careless riding charge at Bendigo on Sunday.
The charge related to an incident near the 200-metre mark when Robertson permitted Shulty to shift out when not clear of Reggae Roc.
Robertson's suspension begins at midnight on August 5 and ends midnight August 15. Stewards deemed the incident to be in the mid-range and took into account Robertson's guilty plea and record.
DOUBLERN: could have been a shade unlucky in an 1100-metre race on Sunday. She should be improved with that run under her belt.
DIAMONDS IN THE SKY: nice first-up effort after drawing a wide barrier in a 1200-metre race on Saturday. Her hopes will be enhanced next time if she draws a better barrier.
DAMIEN LANE: showed his riding skills with a double on Saturday. Lane is one of the quiet achievers in the jockey ranks. He looks set for a big spring in 2022.
CHIEF ALTONY: was well back in a 1600-metre race before finishing it off strongly to run second. Punters who took the short odds should stick with him next time on a bigger track.
EXTREMELY LUCKY: impressive black type winner at Morphettville. He should be competitive in tougher races over the spring.
RUDHYAR: forget his run in a 2500-metre race at the Valley. He was trapped wide from the barrier and caught wide most of the race. He will pay to follow next time.
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