Weekend Racing Review: Frankely Awesome stars at Rosehill

Frankely Awesome
Frankely Awesome led home a quinella for trainer Kris Lees in winning the Listed W J McKell Cup.

Who were the star performers in Saturday’s Australian horse racing action? Let’s take a look at the standouts around the tracks over the weekend.

Win of the weekend: Frankely Awesome

Frankely Awesome was exactly that in the Listed W J McKell Cup, notching up win number three and her first since September 2018. The Frankel mare was matching motors with Verry Elleegant in the ATC Oaks and Vinery Stud Stakes in the autumn last year but hadn’t found that form since. Jason Collett settled midfield on the 4yo before working his way into the clear at the top of the straight and finished strongly over the top of Carzoff to go away with a one-length win. She was well backed on the day, shortening from as much as $31 into $11 before the jump. If she can continue on with that winning form, she could be a live hope in some lesser staying races in the spring. She is currently $51 with TAB for the Group 1 Metropolitan Stakes, which could be her go.

More joy for Waller at Doomben

Chris Waller opted to scratch Sure Knee from Sydney in preference for the Group 3 Sapphire Stakes at Doomben, which turned out to be a master stroke. The Snitzel mare found herself a long way back in the run but travelled sweetly throughout before being produced down the centre of the track for a well-deserved win. Much to punters’ disappointment, Sure Knee drifting from $7 out to $9 was too good for Krone ($6 into $4.80) and Baccarat Baby ($4.20 into $2.70). She will likely be put away for the spring now and could be aimed towards the Group 1 Empire Rose at Flemington.

Cellarmaid produced one of the wins of the day at Doomben with a swooping first-to-last effort over the 2030m journey. The filly proved far too good for them in the straight and did what a lot of horses struggle to do at Doomben, looping the field. She had been looking like winning for a while with strong finishing runs behind Wapiti and Vanna Girl. James Orman sat quietly at the rear and cornered with a lapful of horse under him. There will be a nice race for Cellarmaid over a similar trip during the summer in Brisbane, no doubt.

The Group 3 Premier’s Cup went the way of Another Dollar for Chris Waller, beating home La Pulga and Alward. It was a winning treble for Luke Dittman and Waller at Doomben after the Ocean Park mare was presented at the top of the straight, getting past stablemates Alward and Satono Rasen before winning in a close photo. It capped off a good autumn for the 5yo, which won the Gosford Cup in May. She is going at $51 for the Metropolitan as well.

Inquiry ended his season on a high, taking out the Listed Spear Chief Handicap in an all-the-way victory under Ryan Wiggins. The Exceed And Excel gelding had won five races from seven starts this campaign, saluting in Mackay, Townsville, Rockhampton and the Gold Coast, before taking his winning form to town on Saturday. Wiggins jumped cleanly from barrier four, found the front and made every post a winner. The ex-New South Wales galloper has had a wonderful winter and will likely be sent for a well-earned spell now before a potential tilt at some richer races later in the year.

McDonald hits a hat-trick at Rosehill Gardens

James McDonald was the star of the show in Sydney on Saturday, riding three winners and bringing up his 100th metropolitan win for the season. He rode Rothenburg in the TAB Highway (Race 2) for a brilliant win, pinching runs on the inside on the $7 shot, before steering home well-supported favourites from the Godolphin camp in Roheryn (Race 5) and Kordia (Race 9). He becomes the first jockey since Hall of Famer Darren Beadman to salute on 100 metro winners in consecutive seasons. He now leads the premiership race by 20 winners ahead of Nash Rawiller.

Sweet Thomas found the winner’s stall for the first time in Australia with a dominant victory in the Stayers Cup (3200m). The import ran fourth in this year’s Sydney Cup at this distance and faced a significant drop in class here. The Dylan Thomas gelding has shown potential in all of his Australian runs, with his best performance being over longer distances and on wet tracks, which he got on Saturday. Kerrin McEvoy settled midfield on the 8yo and was swinging on him as they cornered, pinching runs along the inside of tiring horses before pulling away for a strong win over Loveseat and Re Edit.

It was a case of ‘if he jumps, he wins’ for the enigmatic Trumbull, which has been knocking on the door for a while now. Often tardy away, the Darci Brahma 4yo can blow his chances as soon as the gates open on race day, breaking the hearts of punters around the nation. Tommy Berry settled just behind the speed and snuck under race favourite Home Of The Brave at the 200m and the horse was too good for the fast-finishing Order Again and Dealmaker in the Listed Civic Stakes. That makes it win number six for Trumbull from 18 starts.

Harbour Views disappoints punters at Caulfield

Mystery Shot made it three from three on Saturday under Michael Rodd. The Shooting To Win 3yo had been dominant in his two career runs on the country circuit and was well supported to do it on the big stage as well, shortening from $4.50 into $3. He did exactly that, settling just behind the speed to finish over the top of them and record a half-length victory over the late charger, Splendoronthegrass. He looks to be the sort of horse that can continue through the grades over the winter before maturing into a nice horse to follow in bigger races in 18 months.

Matt Laurie’s promising sprinter Alfa Oro made it win five from seven starts with a brilliant win over 1100m. It was the first we had seen of the gelding since his last start victory on May 23 at Flemington, with Laurie electing to give the 4yo a break between runs to keep him fresh. Ben Melham has now ridden him six times from seven starts and will hope to keep a strong connection with the sprinter in the spring. He found the best part of the track at Caulfield and kicked strongly despite a market drift. Ruban Bleu was great late and will be very hard to beat next start.

Well-backed favourite Harbour Views failed to run a place in the 2000m event on the program. The gelding was dominant at Moonee Valley last start, but they punters who flocked towards him again were let down as he ran fourth. John Allen presented the horse in the straight and looked to have it shot to bits, but he failed to get past Sirconni and Mirimar. He weakened late and was grabbed on the post by Salsamor, nudging him out of the placings. On Monday, Harbour Views was sent for further tests to see if there are any respiratory issues. Fingers crossed all is well, because he is a serious racehorse.