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Monthly Archives: July 2019

Snowden puts Ramornie on radar for Sessions

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

The Melbourne spring is in the future for Sessions, but the Ramornie Handicap on July 10 is the present after he returned from a twisted testicle injury in emphatic fashion at Rosehill on Saturday.
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Darley has kept the three-year-old a colt, despite having to surgically remove a testicle following his summer campaign. It shows faith in him and his ability.

Sessions took his record to four wins from six starts after roaring down the centre of the track to score by 1 ¾ lengths from Agent, with Golden Sunshine another three-quarters of a length back in third. But, in essence, there was no match for Sessions.

“We have to look at a race like the Ramornie for him now because there is nothing else there for him at this time of year, at stakes level,” trainer Peter Snowden said. “We need to get his rating up because we think he is up to better races.

“If he is going to race in the Melbourne spring, it’s going to be a total waste of time going there as an 80-rater because he simply wouldn’t get a start. The Ramornie gives him the chance to lift his rating. He is just a really hard horse to place at this time of year.”

Snowden will make his decision in the next week but has to think about what is the best way to go with the son of Lonhro, which has a future at stud in the offing. “He is a big, gross colt and he needs to keep going but there is an option to stop and come back early in the spring,” he said.

“It is a tough one because he has a stallion pedigree and I think he can be competitive in the bigger races.

“The Ramornie means we can keep him in work, while the other way he would have a short break. I’m mindful that he has just had six months [off] and starting and stopping again might not be the best for him.”

Kerrin McEvoy camped midfield on Sessions, then eased him to the centre of the track where he bolted away after getting in the clear. “After the run he had, you wanted to see him do that,” McEvoy said. ”When he relaxes he has a helluva turn of foot and we have to get his rating up to get into the better races in the spring.”

Snowden fulfilled an ambition by winning the Ramornie with Pinwheel a couple of years ago but if Sessions heads to Grafton it will only be McEvoy’s second trip to the track.

“I think I have ridden there once before, but [Sessions] would be worth going back for,” McEvoy said.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Smerdon confident a new spring has returned to jumps racing

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Robert Smerdon has forgotten more about jumps racing than most of his rival trainers know.
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Several top-liners have passed through Smerdon’s hands, including Zabenz (which subsequently campaigned successfully in the US and England) and champion Black And Bent, with which he has established a new Australian record of 10 consecutive wins over jumps.

Smerdon saddles Black And Bent and highly regarded stablemate Brungle Cry in the $100,000 Brendan Drechsler Hurdle at Bendigo on Sunday and the Caulfield trainer, who did so much to keep jumps racing viable during its recent dark days, says Australian steeplechasing and hurdling have never looked to have more potential than now.

For so long it was difficult to persuade owners to jump horses, such was their concern over the loud campaign of the anti-jumps protesters and the opposition of the Labor government. But now, says Smerdon, ”it’s not quite, but it’s bordering on, trendy to have a jumper,” such has been the scale of the rehabilitation of the sport. Much of that, he says, is due to the support of Premier and Racing Minister Denis Napthine, who has always backed the jumping fraternity even in its darkest days.

”It’s like a lot of things in racing, you make a decision, and it usually takes two or three years for it to work through,” he said. ”The decisions made a couple of years ago to improve the sport and make it safer have started to bear fruit. I think it’s in the best position it’s been in for a long time, not just in its current position but going forward.”

All racing carries risk, and with jumpers the risk is obviously higher. There will inevitably be fatalities, and the euthanising of Reckless Rat at Warrnambool last week brought the number of fatalities this season so far to two.

But proponents argue the improved safety measures, the insistence on tougher schooling provisions, the importation of highly skilled Irish riders and the better class of horse now going jumping – different to the old days when old and battered stayers too slow to run on the flat were put over obstacles – are all starting to have an impact. While a 100 per cent safety record can never be assured, as much as possible is being done to remove risk.

”If you look at when Black And Bent began jumping as a late three-year-old [in the autumn and winter of 2010] we extended his season because I was worried there might not really be any future for him,” Smerdon said. ”But the support from the current government was the turning point, and the checks and balances Racing Victoria put in place have also been effective, constantly reviewing the horses, their races, their performances and the riders.

”There were a stack of horses at the Werribee trials a couple of weeks ago and that’s when I felt that things were really starting to change and it could be taking off again.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Nothing like success for happy connections

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Concreter and breeder Sam Gallo couldn’t hide his emotions when he watched the horse he raised ”since he was a baby” win at Rosehill on Saturday. Gallo bred Nothing Like Luca, whose mother died when he was six months old, and named the horse after his grandson. Nothing Like Luca held off the fast-finishing Disciple to win by a short head and send connections into raptures. ”This is big, I’ve been coming to the races for eight years and he’s the greatest,” Gallo said. ”I bred him and raised him since he was a baby.” Nothing Like Luca gave Nash Rawiller a treble after Koroibete and Relaxed And Happy had won for him earlier. ”He really pulled out all stops in the last 50 metres and it was a great effort,” Rawiller said. ”I sat off the high speed and I tried to suck it up as long as I could and I was filthy when I had to come off McClintock’s back before straightening, but he did a good job.”
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TALENT TO BURN

Rawiller believes Koroibete has a bright future once he works out what he is doing on a racetrack. Despite his shortcomings in maturity and copping a whack with the whip of another runner, Koroibete proved too good for juvenile rivals in the opener at Rosehill. ”Coming to the turn he felt like he would win by three lengths, he was going that well,” Rawiller said. ”He copped it over the head and it put him off his game for 50m. He didn’t really know what he was doing but he got the job done.” Koroibete had a half-length to spare from Amovatio and Pit Boss but there could be more in store once he learns some racing manners. ”He did a few things wrong at the barriers and he did not jump very cleanly as a consequence of that but who knows, he might be hopefully winning the Derby in eight months’ time,” Rawiller said.

FIGHTING WIN

Masahiko, named after legendary boxer Fighting Harada, caused an upset as favourite Darciwood flopped at Rosehill on Saturday. The Gai Waterhouse-trained three-year-old won by a long neck from Hunter Jack, but it was the poor performance of Darciwood that left punters, who had backed him from $3.10 to $2.60, and stewards asking questions. Apprentice Shaun Guymer said he was surprised how quickly Darciwood stopped after leading to the turn with Masahiko on his outside. ”With time and maturity he’ll come back underneath me but at this stage he just wants to get out and get running,” Guymer said. ”At the turn he felt strong and I was quite surprised with how quick he stopped. I put it down to going that little bit too hard in the run.”

YOUNGSTER GRILLED

Racing NSW chairman of stewards Ray Murrihy gave young hoop Adam Hyeronimus stern advice after his ride on Reuben Percival at Rosehill. Stewards questioned if Hyeronimus chose the right options in the straight with Murrihy calling his tactics ”terrible” as he went for a run between leader Zaratone and Calvo instead of hooking to the outside of eventual runner-up Mr Armstrong and following winner Said Com. ”You aimed to go up between two tiring horses, instead of going to the outside where a run is opening up,” Murrihy said. ”I didn’t even look to the outside at that time,” Hyeronimus replied. ”It was a 75-25 decision – you went for the weaker options when in hindsight there was a run to the outside,” Murrihy continued. ”Yeah,” Hyeronimus conceded. The decision cost Reuben Percival, which was finishing strongly, any chance of winning and he was beaten two lengths into fifth. ”You’re in the big time now trying to forge a name for yourself and you can’t be making blues like that,” Murrihy said. ”You’re far better going with horses that are going forward than ones coming back to you. It looked to be a terrible decision. You’ve got Mr Armstrong going forward and you tried to go through two tired horses.”

with MATT JONES

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

Blues look to Merritt as injuries take their toll

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Nathan Merritt’s dreams of a long-awaited State of Origin call-up may become a reality as NSW deal with a fullback crisis heading into game two in Brisbane on June 26.
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Merritt has come into calculations as incumbent Jarryd Hayne and would-be fill-in Josh Dugan battle injuries. Michael Gordon had been pencilled in for a call-up had Hayne and Dugan failed fitness tests but he, too, is in doubt after missing Cronulla’s match against Parramatta with a calf injury on Saturday.

Merritt’s inclusion would see Brett Morris switched to fullback with the South Sydney flyer taking his place on the wing.

NSW are expected to pick an extended squad on Sunday as several stars battle injuries as they look to clinch the three-game series after beating Queensland 14-6 in Sydney. Of particular concern is the fullback position, with Hayne no certainty to play after starring in game one.

Hayne, who limped from Parramatta Stadium with a grade-one hamstring tear in his side’s loss to Sydney Roosters nine days ago, has been undergoing intense rehabilitation to get himself fit but there are doubts over how quickly he can recover and what presence he may have on the training paddock.

Dugan has been slated as the direct replacement for Hayne but he, too, is carrying an ankle injury and will have scans on Monday to assess the severity of the ongoing complaint. The St George Illawarra fullback has starred since making his debut at the Dragons in round 10 and Blues officials won’t hesitate to bring him into the squad.

But the concern is he, like Hayne, won’t spend much time on the training paddock. And without playing in the opening game, he needs more time with his new teammates.

The uncertainty surrounding Dugan, Hayne and Gordon plus Brett Stewart’s extended stint on the sideline with a back injury plus Anthony Minichiello pledging his

allegiance to Italy has left NSW in a panic. Newcastle’s Akuila Uate is another sidelined with a rib injury.

In other news, it is understood Tim Grant is the preferred replacement for Cowboys front-rower James Tamou, who has been suspended after drink-driving and driving without a licence charges.

But Grant, too, is in doubt as he recovers from a broken hand. While Grant has declared he’ll be fit for Origin II he hasn’t played since round 11 but featured in two games for NSW last year.

If he, too, is ruled out, either Aiden Tolman or Aaron Woods will make their NSW debuts with NSW coach Laurie Daley hesitant to interrupt an interchange bench that was so effective in the series opener.

Of less concern is hooker Robbie Farah who is confident he’ll be fit.

Back-rower Anthony Watmough also sent a shockwave through the Blues camp after limping from the field midway through the second half in Manly’s golden-point loss to Canterbury on Friday night.

Watmough’s corked leg will be monitored but Bulldogs centre Josh Morris isn’t in any doubt.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

White plots Brumbies win

Written on July 22, 2019 at 23:25, by

Brumbies coach Jake White is adamant his side can clinch the Super Rugby title this season. The Brumbies have secured a place in the finals for the first time since 2004 and will resume their season when they play the Western Force on July 13. But White has already begun plotting his team’s potential path through the Super Rugby finals, which includes lifting the trophy at Canberra Stadium. The former South African World Cup-winning coach predicted the Brumbies were capable of upsetting the British and Irish Lions and that the Lions could ”crumble” if they lost the opening Test in Brisbane.The finals
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The Brumbies will break a nine-year finals drought next month. They will play at least one finals match at home and can finish as high as first if results go their way over the next month. White wants his players to embrace the hype of the build-up. ”Every day I think about winning the title,” White said. ”There’s no use getting to the last corner of a 400 metre sprint and then slowing down. At this point in time we’ve got a ticket in this lottery, it’s about creating an opportunity. On their day, this team can beat anybody. Now the players are sensing that, they believe it and know if you put in the hard yards you get the rewards.”The slump

The Brumbies had to overcome a mid-season slump to get their campaign back on track. They won just three of eight games in the middle of the year. They secured a guaranteed play-off berth when they beat the Melbourne Rebels last weekend. ”You don’t get a prize for being the best Australian side – we’ve won nothing. I’ve got no doubt they’ve earned the respect. But now it’s an internal thing, the job’s not done. My goal is to put Brumbies rugby back to where it was, back to the glory days. The doubters will always be there. The drop off was always going to come, but it’s about how you get out of it. The boys felt the pressure, they heard the doubters, but they came out the other side.”Path to the title

The Brumbies won’t know their opponents in the finals until after their clash with the Force. If they finish first or second, they will get a week off before playing a home semi-final. White has already started mapping what’s required for the Brumbies to host the Super Rugby grand final at Canberra Stadium – and win. ”We’ll play the Cheetahs in the first week of finals. Then the Bulls in Pretoria and then the Crusaders in a final at home,” White predicted. ”That’s if everything goes the way form says it should go.”Taking on the Lions

The Brumbies’ depth will be tested when they line up against the Lions at Canberra Stadium on Tuesday night. It’s the last match in the Lions’ preparation for the first Test in Brisbane next weekend. The Brumbies will be without 12 players through injury and Wallabies duties. Twelve years ago a depleted Brumbies outfit went agonisingly close to stealing victory. They led 28-23 but the Lions scored a converted try in injury time to win the match. ”It’s a chance to put the Brumbies name in history,” White said. ”It’s sporting tales and folklore. The only people that have to believe we can win is us. Imagine if the Brumbies can turn the Lions over a week before the first Test, it will be talked about in Canberra for the rest of time.”The Tests

The Wallabies beat the Lions in the 2001 series with a victory in the third Test. This year their preparation has been overshadowed by the axing of Queensland five-eighth Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale’s return from alcohol rehabilitation and code-hopper Israel Folau’s impending debut. White was reluctant to be drawn on team selection and the type of game Wallabies coach Robbie Deans would play. But the South African World Cup-winning coach says the series will be decided in the first Test in Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. ”It’s always tough to call a Lions series … in 2009 people were convinced that as world champions, the Springboks would pulverise the Lions,” White said. ”Had it not been for a second Test 50-metre kick from Morne Steyn, South Africa could have lost the series. Whoever wins the first Test will win the series. It’s about getting momentum. Australia love Brisbane. The Lions have had better preparation … if the Lions lose they could crumble to pieces. They won’t say it, but the Lions’ expectation is they think they are going to win that first Test.”

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.