The Starting Gate
By Ray Hickson
What do we do with Chetwood's 12-1/2 length trial win as a pointer to his first-up run?
The easy answer would be to assume he's come back flying but the gelding has a bit of form to help us work how to assess it.
Last spring he won two trials, the second by five lengths, then went unbeaten through a four start campaign including a Group 3 and Listed race.
Earlier this year he won his second trial comfortably but didn't get warm in three starts at $4.20, $2.20 and $4 in Group 2 and 3 events.
Which Chetwood we have in November 2017 is the question.
Chetwood's barrier trial demolition at Canterbury - November 3
Despite the decisive margin, the 900m heat at Canterbury was run 0.10 seconds slower than his one length Rosehill trial win a month earlier.
Different tracks, sure. He ran home much faster at Canterbury but it's impossible to get a line on the opposition as they were so far back and not moving an inch - the likes of Secret Trail, Test The World, Terravista and Live To Dream.
What the trial did ensure, though, is you'll be asked to take a very short price to find out which Chetwood we're dealing with.
Star on the rise
Promising filly Star Sensation has only just turned three by actual birthday so trainer Mark Newnham will know he has a handy type if she beat older horses at Randwick on Tuesday.
After a dominant second-up win at Canterbury on October 27, two days after her 2014 foaling date, Star Sensation faces a wet track and a distance increase in the McGrath Estate Agents VIC Handicap (1300m).
Newnham is well aware the filly's only failure came on a heavy Randwick track in the Resling Slipper Trial but said she had excuses and is a much improved horse now.
"She came back a bit stronger this prep,'' he said.
"She was probably just in need of the run first-up and her coat wasn't quite right. Blinkers on second up and three weeks between runs she improved.''
Koby Jennings takes over from Blake Shinn on Star Sensation and Newnham has plenty of faith in Jennings, who regularly rides trackwork for the stable.
"She's still able to come back to three year-old company regardless of the result,'' Newnham said.
"If she can beat the older mares there's a good future for her.''
Canterbury trial wrap
Away from Chetwood, a couple of Godolphin youngsters must have been watching their stablemate because both Plague Stone and Roheryn posted very easy wins at Canterbury on Friday.
Both are Lonhro colts.
Plague Stone, a half-brother to VRC Derby winner Benicio and the well performed Romneya, sat second in his heat and the leader took him wider so was stoked up to go past then raced well clear.
He ran 0.40 seconds faster than Roheryn who sat behind the speed and took a neat run on the inside 300m out, once through he burst away.
Quite a strong trial preceded Chetwood's heat and was won by Redouble, who suffered cardiac arrhythmia when beaten second-up, over Egyptian Symbol and Dothraki with the latter pair looking particularly appealing.
Fastnet Rock filly Connemara set the bar quite high at her first public trial with a booming 5-1/2 length success.
Trained by Bjorn Baker, the three-year-old led under a hold to the 200m then dropped off her rivals with seemingly plenty to spare.
A quick mention to a few others - Heliosphere hit the line well, as did Dyslexic, and Soothing won with a bit in hand.
The laying of turf on the Kensington track at Randwick will be complete by the end of November.
ATC racecourse manager Lindsay Murphy said the club is pleased with the progress and is hopeful racing can resume on the track in April 2018.
Horses to follow - Rosehill
Anatola's tough second at Rosehill on Saturday
Stunts - had an impossible task when the winner jumped clearly in front and he wasn't the best out so had to settle last. Produced some nice sectionals to run into second place, a few lengths from the winner, with a huge gap to the rest. Needs to get it all right next time after two fast-finishing efforts but is worth another go.
Realing - the run of the race in the Highway. He was slowly away and settled a few lengths off the pack. While he wasn't far from the eventual winner on the turn, that horse took a run through the field while he was forced to take the long way around. He peaked on the run at the 100m. Should be winning a Highway soon.
Anatola - first run for Mark Newnham. She was forced to track three wide not far off the speed and was one of the first under pressure in the straight. She responded, though, and ran into second. A promising effort and she looked to have plenty of improvement in her too.