By Brad Gray
At Warwick Farm
Estijaab Back In Business
Class shone in the $1m Inglis Sprint (1100m) with Fiesta beating Estijaab.
Estijaab silenced any doubters with an excellent return given her extended period on the sidelines and lead in trial where she went around riderless having dumped Brenton Avdulla.
"She ran terrific, we couldn't have asked for much more after 12 months off with a wind operation. If she was on top of the ground today she probably skips away and beats them," said Avdulla.
Punters Intelligence reveals that the Golden Slipper winner showed her customary brilliant gate speed, clocking 7.50s for first her 100m crossing to the front easily before coming home in 35.10s her last 600m. That's good going on a soft track.
Fiesta got the drop on Estijaab but she was brilliant herself, slipping home in 34.63s her last 600m. Chris Waller indicated she'll next run to the G1 Surround Stakes (1400m) in three weeks' time.
Time Isn't Up Yet
Tim Clark is willing to excuse the defeat of Time To Reign, despite the colt being rolled at $1.60 in the opener at Warwick Farm.
The Gary Portelli-trained two-year-old raced wide throughout, but more tellingly, he was very keen throughout. He finished fourth behind Godolphin's Bivouac, with the royal blues adding yet another classy youngster to their autumn stocks.
"He ran well he just raced a little bit fresh early and being on a soft track, doing that bit of work early left him vulnerable late but we're not hitting the panic button yet. He'll bounce back," said Clark of Time To Reign.
Bivouac's dam is Dazzler and that man Darren Beadman was on at Warwick Farm to cheekily declare that "he'd be in the top 10" two-year-olds in the stable.
"He is a real little professional and gets the job done. I think our team has won this race four times out of six years, so it has been a great race for us and nothing gives us more pleasure than winning the (Darley) Lonhro Plate."
TAB reacted by pushing Time To Reign's Golden Slipper price from $11 out to $26 while Bivouac moved from $101 to $51.
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) February 9, 2019
Bowman Excited By Noble Boy
Hugh Bowman gave Noble Boy a glowing appraisal after the undefeated four-year-old further cementing himself at the top of Country Championships betting.
TAB reacted to yet another dominant win from the imposing gelding by trimming him from $4.50 into $4 win win the Newhaven Park Country Championships Final in April.
"He is certainly a very exciting horse at this level and I would say there is more ahead of him at a higher level to be honest," said Bowman.
"He is here to race and he put them away easily. He had more in the tank, I had another length or so up my sleeve if I needed it."
Trainer Todd Blowes confirmed that the next stop for Noble Boy will be the Goulburn heat on Saturday March 2 at Goulburn over 1400m.
The runner up Acquittal, Danny Williams' top seed for the series, will need to turn around a two length margin when they meet again in three weeks.
Purple Autumn For Derby Player
Take nothing away from the winner Gem Song but the return of Purple Sector was outstanding in the G3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m).
"He ran a massive race, he's still a bit of a baby and the tight track was against us," quipped jockey Tom Marquand, who heads back to the UK tonight.
Punters Intelligence reveals Purple Sector only ran one fastest split in the race, his last with a last 200m of 12.03s.
Meanwhile, there will be nowhere to hide now for Gem Song with Kris Lees set to test the waters ahead of likely Group One goals.
"He'll go through the traditional path of the Hobartville and Randwick Guineas, and we'll see where he measures up against the better ones," he said.
Still on Lees, punters can expect to see his gun fillies Miss Fabulous and El Dorado Dreaming line up in next Saturday's G2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Brenton Avdulla said of beaten favourite Sandbar, "They went too slow, I know he raced on speed but I reckon he's better with a bunny."