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The Starting Gate - Monday 20th November

By Ray Hickson

Guineas under Seige

Talented three-year-old Siege Of Quebec has been back in work with Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott for over a week with the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) in March his early autumn target.

The Coolmore owned colt showed a heap of potential in his first preparation but had his Golden Rose mission aborted in favour of a break.

Siege Of Quebec won his first two starts and his only defeat came when runner-up to Menari in the Listed Rosebud (1100m) on August 12.

"That last run just took a bit out of him and we were mindful he had been up for a while,'' Adrian Bott said.

"We were always of the opinion he'd be a better horse in the autumn.''

Bott said Siege Of Quebec, who cost $1.2 million as a yearling, put on plenty of condition in his break and has filled out into a stronger horse.

Autumn contenders

While on the subject of promising three-year-olds, trainer Paul Snowden said smart colts Pariah and Assimilate are close to returning to work.

Both horses contested the Golden Rose before heading for a break.

Pariah is set for a big autumn campaign. (Pic: Steve Hart).

Snowden said Pariah didn't seem to appreciate the firm tracks in his early spring, despite winning the San Domenico Stakes first-up, while Assimilate is a horse the stable always had marked as a real autumn prospect.

"Spring doesn't always work out with three-year-olds and sometimes you can salvage something in the autumn,'' he said.

"It's safe to say you haven't seen the best of a lot of them.''

Snowden said Group 1 winner Russian Revolution is looking in fantastic order and will also return to work soon.

"I saw him in the paddock when I dropped Redzel off and he's done very well,'' Snowden said.

Of course Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign is due back at Gary Portelli's stable on Monday.

And we asked Chris Waller's racing manager Charlie Duckworth about the status of a couple of the leading trainer's up and coming three-year-olds D'Argento and Calculated.

The unbeaten D'Argento hasn't come back into work as yet but Duckworth said Calculated, who was runner-up to Siege Of Quebec in July, is a couple of weeks off having his first trial.

Eight is enough

Consistent five-year-old Level Eight signalled he's in for another fruitful campaign with an eye-catching third in his 1050m trial at Randwick on Thursday.

It was a fast run heat with Level Eight settling about fifth, staying between horses and held up noticeably until late. Once clear he strode out nicely to grab third.

Peter and Paul Snowden have him nominated for Canterbury on Wednesday and he'll be very competitive wherever he resumes.

Stablemate Dothraki won the preceding heat, run 2.4 seconds slower, and his work was a solid starting point.

Level Eight's closing third in his Randwick trial - November 16

He led all the way, kicking clear around the turn then shaken up when challengers closed in but held them safely. Note he didn't wear his blinkers.

An unraced pair from the in-form Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott team worth keeping tabs on are See Me Rock (3yo) and Let Me Sleep On It (2yo).

Let Me Sleep On It won her 730m trial over the Snowden-trained Starry in 42.90, both fillies looked handy, while See Me Rock cruised home in 44.

Third in his trial was the one-time boom filly From Within who is now with Edward O'Rourke.

She was restrained at the start and kept to a quiet trial but poked through late into third. From Within will trial again then resume in a F&M Benchmark race at Canterbury on December 15.

A few others of note are Patrina (Snowden), Pierata (Hickman), Rotterdam (A&E Cummings) and Super Ex (Newnham).


The racing industry is always quick to support its own and two examples this in the coming weeks are events for injured jockey John Kissick and trackwork rider Kate Nipperess.

John Kissick broke his back riding a steer so wasn't covered by insurance and local trainer Joe Cleary has organised a fundraiser at the Queanbeyan Hotel on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old is about to start a comeback to race riding with surgery on December 4 to remove some metal. He hopes to be back in the saddle in the first half of 2018.

For information or to support the event contact Sharlene Cleary on 0423 676 604.

Then on November 30 at Rosehill, the 'Let's Back Kate' night aims to raise money to help Kate Nipperess purchase a modified car so she can be more independently mobile while learning to walk again.

Kate, a former picnic jockey, suffered spinal injuries in a trackwork accident last year.

Tickets can be purchased for the night at this website or donations can be made via this link.

Horses to follow

Heliosphere (Rosehill): promised to be a handy type with his first preparation and firmed up that view with his strong finishing return. He did appreciate a solidly run race but attacked the line in the style of a horse that will excel at 1400m to a mile, or perhaps a bit further. Like to see him put away a race second-up to stamp his promise.

Bel Diablo (Rosehill): a shade stiff not to run second in his first attempt in a Highway race. Didn't step away the best then in the straight he baulked at a run at a vital stage but still charged when he worked to the outside. Lightly raced and worth another look in a Highway race or he could go back to the country and win.

Aqua D'Ivina (Canterbury): well bred filly who was probably brought undone by lack of race fitness. Enjoyed a nice enough run but when the leader (and winner) sprinted on the bend she was left a bit flat. Plenty to like about her last 100m though as she closed in quickly to get within half a length.

Check out the replays and results for Rosehill Gardens on Saturday

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