The Darren Smith-trained Oakfield Commands will target the $150,000 Ramornie (1200 metres) at Grafton on July 10. Smith will be hoping it is third-time lucky in the feature sprint. In 1998 he saddled up Pimpala Prince, which finished ninth, and Oakfield Duke also finished unplaced in 2002. Oakfield Commands is raced by long-time client Bruce Mackenzie, who also owned Oakfield Duke. ”Bruce and I would love to have another shot at the Ramornie,” Smith said after Oakfield Commands won his second successive Randwick race last Saturday. ”Oakfield Commands is flying and the Ramornie is a race that should be perfect for him. We’ve had it in mind for him for some time.” Oakfield Commands has raced 17 times for six wins and eight placings, with two wins and two placings in Sydney races since resuming in April. With last year’s Ramornie winner Howmuchdoyouloveme a confirmed starter and several high-profile Sydney and Brisbane stables targeting the listed sprint, this year’s Ramornie looks like being a cracker. Howmuchdoyouloveme scored a brilliant first-up win in the Lightning Handicap at Eagle Farm last Saturday.
COLVIN LOSES STAR
Wagga Wagga trainer Gary Colvin has lost his stable star, Baltra. ”He’s been retired this week, deterioration of the near-side front knee,” Colvin said of the gelding, which resumed with a slashing second in the Wagga Town Plate Prelude on April 14. ”His dam [Pixina] had the same problem. It’s very disappointing but that’s racing. He had loads of ability. We’ll just have to think of the good times.” Baltra raced six times, winning his first four runs before seconds at Warwick Farm and Wagga. ”Hopefully there’s another Baltra in some of my young horses coming through,” Colvin added. Meanwhile, the Wagga meeting set down for last Friday was postponed until Monday.
PIGGINS WINS BIG
South Sydney stalwart George Piggins was laughing all the way to the bank at Gulgong last Saturday after Mr Branahdan landed a successful plunge. Having its second start after finishing unplaced as a $71 chance at Hawkesbury last month, Mr Branahdan was backed from $21 in to $7 before bolting in by 1.8 lengths. Mr Branahdan is trained by Milton Coutts at Hawkesbury and wore green and red silks, the colours of Piggins’ beloved Rabbitohs.
McEVOY HAS A BLAST
South Australian trainer Tony McEvoy saddled up his first runner at Bathurst on Tuesday. Pocket Rockets won an open handicap to record his fifth win from 25 starts. The five-year-old had done much of his racing in Hong Kong under John Size before returning to Australia with McEvoy earlier this year.
TAB meetings: Sunday – Wellington, Port Macquarie. Monday – Wagga, Coffs Harbour. Tuesday – Quirindi. Thursday – Bathurst. Friday – Taree, Canberra. Saturday – Albury.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.