By Geoff Newling
RACE 1: Lord Cecil lunged at precisely the right time to begin his racing career with victory in today’s $25,000 Arrowfield Stud Star Kingdom 2YO Handicap (1000m) at Muswellbrook Race Club’s Skellatar Park. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom, who stands at Arrowfield Stud, Lord Cecil is trained by Arrowfield studmaster Paul Messara. He began well from barrier seven and sat outside Gerald Ryan’s Junglized all the 1000m before jockey Paul King urged him to produce a desperate final lunge and notch a nose win in the juvenile scamper.
RACE 2: The Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Arbitrate came from a long way back to grab third in a traditional lead-up race to next month’s Inglis 2YO Challenge, an 1100m sprint worth $100,000. That Lord Cecil was able to win a 1000m scamper being bred to win over 2000m and further is a major bonus, Paul Messara said. “He’s going to be a nice horse moving forward,” Paul Messara told Sky Thoroughbred Central. Another first starter, Leaven Of Malice, then won the $25,000 Arrowfield Stud Miss Finland 2YO Handicap (1000m). The Paul Perry-trained grey daughter of Sebring finished powerfully along the inside to run down leader Cinque Stella before snaring a good win from the Kris Lees-trained Excelamour. South African jockey Keagan Latham was having his first ride for the Perry stable and couldn’t have impressed more for the Novocastrians. “It was his first ride for us,” Shannon Perry confirmed. “Glad to see a jockey not panic and make the horse attack the line.” The Perrys train Leaven of Malice for longtime supporters, the Wallace family.
RACE 3: Just when race favourite Sojournist looked to have the Muswellbrook RSL Club Maiden Handicap (1280m) in his keeping, first starter Roseito sailed home to victory. Trained by Fred Cowell Sojournist, the horse started favourite and looked to have the race won when he surged down the middle of the track to claim the lead but unraced Snitzel filly Roseito was just starting to warm up and swamped her opposition wide out. Mitchell Bell partnered the debutante who is trained by Scone studmaster Paul Messara. He had been celebrating the debut win of Lord Cecil in the Arrowfield Stud Star Kingdom 2YO two races earlier and was delighted to post a winning double. “It doesn’t happen like this very often,” he mused as some of his stable workers celebrated a punting double. “She’s a very nice filly, has some good owners in her,” Paul Messara said. “Always been a nice filly and will be a good filly going forward over a bit of ground. Time and distance will be her friend.”
RACE 5: Keagan Latham followed his winning debut for the Paul Perry stable by making it a double for them when the South African jockey stepped up to win with Walk Right In. The race favourite just lasted to beat dead-heaters Hunter Caulfield and Miss Tickles in today’s Shalaa @ Arrowfield Benchmark 60 Handicap (1280m). Walk Right In notched a third race win at the three-year-old’s 16th race start. The son of Hinchinbrook had drawn wide (10) inducing Latham to go forward for him to surge to a handy lead in the straight. “It didn’t suit him to lead but he drew out there and Keagan had to cross and lead,” Shannon Perry said. “He probably should have won last start too.” He described it as an exciting win and a good day for the stable after Leaven Of Malice had won the Miss Finland 2YO Handicap earlier with Latham aboard as well.
RACE 6: Don't Tease Me bounced back to his best form when the gelding son of Beautiful Crown jumped straight to the front and was never headed in today’s $25,000 Arrowfield Stud Lone Pine Charge (1000m) at Muswellbrook’s Skellatar Park. The five-year-old Muswellbrook gelding had disappointed trainer Stephen Gleeson at his last two outings but returned to winning form in emphatic fashion to claim a seventh career win at his 30th start. It was also his first win at his home track and he had been working well to induce solid backing from his supporters. Don’t Tease Me was backed from $8 to start a $3.20 favourite. “He’s always had the ability,” Stephen Gleeson said after the win. “Just his last two have been disappointing but he was back in business today.” A good working gallop leading into today’s race had instilled confidence in Gleeson that he was back to his best but it wasn’t easy. “Took a lot of work, had to put a lot into him,” he grinned. Endowed with speed Gleeson will keep him at the 1000m distance. “He’s a very fast horse,” he said. “Not too many can lead him when he’s spot on. He’s been a very good horse for us considering no one wanted him at the Scone Yearling sale. Glad we kept him.” He was also glad for Don’t Tease Me’s owners Elaine and Danny Wells. “They’ve been with us for 30 years,” he said of owners who started out with his father, Jim Gleeson, and remain with him today. “They deserve that win, been very staunch people, just very happy for them.”
RACE 7: Mosgiel Ruby flew high wide and handsome at Skellatar park today. The Matt Robinson-trained mare won her fourth race in six starts when she flashed home from last down the extreme outside at Muswellbrook to win the BJ’s Workwear Benchmark 65 handicap (1500m). In an open race she over powered Paul Perry’s Peggy’s Cove with Scott Thompson’s Valatia also finishing stoutly from back in the field for third. However, Taree mare Mosgiel Ruby, who has now won eight of 43 starts, produced the biggest best and brilliant run to score another impressive win for her young trainer. Just what he’s done to win four of her last six but Matt Robinson is sure of a few things. He’s got her fit and reckons “she’d run through a brick wall for you”. There was no brick wall at Skellatar Park but a wide open expanse of territory out wide as she entered the straight last, moved to the extreme outside and then unleashed. “I think she might have matured in the head,” he also offered as a reason for her purple patch of form. “And she’s a little bit stronger.” Making it even better for him is that she is a “family” horse raced by the Robinson family.