By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
Punters All At Sea
Blake Shinn could offer no explanation. The vets could offer no explanation. The Chris Waller stable speculated that the win on wet ground last start took more out of Seahampton than meets the eye.
“It was nothing I could put my finger on,” said a dejected Shinn, “I rode her in a similar pattern to her last win but as soon as I started to feel for her at about the 500m to put her into the race, there was no immediate response. She was one-paced in the straight. It was very disappointing.”
Having beaten just the one runner home, Cassadee who dropped out to be beaten over 20 lengths, stewards have ordered Seahampton back to the trials.
All honours to the winner Irithea but punters should be following the runner up Mandylion. The lightly-raced filly trained by Gwenda Markwell paraded with plenty of improvement in her but still stuck on gamely at the finish.
“It was a huge run,” said her jockey Sam Weatherley, who rode a double on the day, “She travelled up super and really showed a good kick. She came to the end of it the last little bit so she’ll appreciate the run. She’s going really well.”
Seahampton steps into the yard a heavily backed favourite with @tabcomau.
Hard to knock how she parades! ✅ pic.twitter.com/eWFofQdkL3
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) July 21, 2018
Menari Parr For The Course
Josh Parr is, understandably, keen to maintain his association with Menari after the hulking colt was the latest runner to secure an Everest berth.
Parr has ridden the rising four-year-old in four of his eight starts, including his last three but knows the competition will be fierce when it comes to securing the ride.
“I haven’t sat on him, but I’ve seen him a couple of times,” said Parr of Menari, who was secured by slot holder Max Whitby.
“There are a lot of people trying to get a sit on him because he is such an exciting horse. You look at him in the flesh and he is one of the best looking race horses you’ll ever lay your eyes on.”
Menari's trainer Gerald Ryan, who also has Trapeze Artist in the $13 feature, recently pointed out that Menari now weighs in well over 600kg. That’s a lot of power.
Tactical Has Advantage
The July Sprint was over a long way from from home given the way Tactical Advantage trucked into the Randwick straight. It looks an astute purchase by Australian Bloodstock, taking him off the hands of Gooree, and although the win came as no surprise to the Kris Lees yard, the ease of victory certainly did.
"Looking at him, he still looks like he has got a bit of improvement in him which is scary but he is a really nice horse," said Lees' stable rep Cameron Swann.
There are no firm plans for the four-year-old but as Swann pointed out, there are endless options with the spring carnival just around the corner. Punters Intel reveals a last 600m of 33.38s.
"I'm not sure where he'll get to but he could get to the big time," he said.
Brenton Avdulla, who brought up metro win number 92 on Tactical Advantage, said he gave him the feel of a very smart animal.
"He was a bit fresh going to the gates, a bit full of himself. I've never ridden him before so I don't know what he is like but when I moved out I was full of horse. I got him up the rise and when I let him loose he ducked in and let go like a nice horse," the jockey said.
Congratulations @brentonavdulla on a massive season!
Tactical Advantage was his 92nd metro winner. pic.twitter.com/JcKyMAHTtZ
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) July 21, 2018
Invincible Star To Shine In Spring
There is still some doubt as to where Invincible Star will kick off her spring but co-trainer Adrian Bott is certain she is top class and will prove that over the coming months.
The filly, who last preparation trounced her rivals at Moonee Valley before running a huge race in the G1 Coolmore Stud Stakes only to be collared by globe trotter Merchant Navy, looked very sharp in winning a trial at Warwick Farm on Friday.
“She had been off the scene for a whole but she has come back in really good shape,” said Bott, “We couldn’t have beeen happier with that trial but she still has a lot of improvement to come. We’ll see her at the trials again and then map out what her spring campaign is.”
“We’ve got a lot of options open to her but I think she’ll be one of the top class sprinters that emerges from the spring.”
One of those options is the Missile Stakes (1200m) but Bott conceded it might come around too quickly and the 1200m first up would be a stretch. The other races mentioned were The Shorts and Moir Stakes.
Would a win in any of those secure an Everest berth? The stable certainly believe she is worthy.
— Gai Waterhouse (@GaiWaterhouse1) July 19, 2018
New Matt For Grey Lion
Is Grey Lion better the Sydney way of going? That seems to be the case after the six-year-old stuck his neck out to beat Braces over 2400m at Royal Randwick.
Punters better get used to seeing him in New South Wales because Grey Lion will stay here now, being transferred from Matt Cumaini to the Warwick Farm-based stable of Matt Smith.
Jean Van Overmeire was full of praise for Grey Lion, who broke a 869 day winning drought.
“He was very strong. The other horse going past him probably did him the world of good because he wanted to put his head back in front so full credit to him,” the jockey said.
“Once the other horse came past me he didn’t drop off, he stuck with him and I knew then he was going fight back and tough it out to the end.”
As for the odds on favourite, Ombudsman, Kerrin McEvoy blamed the firm track, which was later upgraded to a Good 3, on finishing a well-beaten third in the field of four.
“They just quickened away from me,” said McEvoy, “He probably wants a stronger tempo and a bit more juice in the ground.”