By Ray Hickson
Berry’s Winx Moment At Randwick
It’s been three and a half years since Tommy Berry rode Winx but he felt a small part of the champ’s fourth Cox Plate success as he guided Sexy Eyes in the same colours to a very Winx-like win in the Schweppes Handicap (1400m).
Berry rode the champ to win the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes in March 2015, as well as a fifth in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes, but hasn’t got a look in since.
“I don’t think I’ll be getting back on either,’’ Berry quipped.
“She definitely isn’t Winx this mare, she’s been beautifully placed by Chris (Waller) and the team and up in distance suited her well.’’
Earlier in the day Berry and a few of the other jockeys at Randwick were keen to have the Cox Plate out of the way early because the suspense was killing them.
“I said to Christian Reith, ‘gee I can’t wait for Winx, why can’t they run it as the first and get it over and done with’,’’ Berry said.
Cracking Comeback By Chaussure
In another Winx connection for Tommy Berry, the popular hoop was rapt with the return of the Debbie Kepitis-owned Chaussure from a two-year injury enforced break.
The five-year-old hadn’t raced since winning at Canterbury on November 5 in 2016 but produced a super, and unlucky, first-up fourth in the Heineken 3 Handicap (1400m).
Berry fired in a protest against the winner Gitan, alleging his running was taken on the home turn when Andrew Adkins made his move but as stewards couldn’t be convinced a run was there for Chaussure they quickly dismissed the objection.
But it didn’t take away from the merit in the gelding’s effort in being beaten three-quarters of a length.
“He’s come back really well, he’s going to be better over further but he’s a lovely horse going forward,’’ Berry said.
"It’s a shame he had long time off, he lacked a bit of match fitness but keep an eye on him. We might never know how good he could’ve been but we’ll find out in due course.’’
Quinton Eyeing An Autumn Celebration
Promising colt Royal Celebration may be seen once more this campaign but trainer Ron Quinton is adamant he’ll have a smart galloper on his hands come the autumn.
There were no Gem Songs or Yulong Januarys to get in Royal Celebration’s way in the 2019 Membership Handicap (1400m) at Randwick as he cruised to an easy win over Evalina who chased him to the line.
The pair ran identical splits, according to Punters Intel, for the last 400m of 23.15 so it was impossible for the colt to be run down. Quinton said it was a small relief to get a second win on the board.
“Sometimes they run all these seconds and continue to do it,’’ he said.
“He’s still not a fully mature three-year-old colt and will be a better horse in the autumn. There’s another race in a couple of weeks, we might do that then give him a break.’’
Jockey Andrew Adkins said he always felt in control after landing outside the leader I Like It Easy.
“The tempo suited perfectly, I let him balance up the rise and he kicked away like he should do,’’ he said.
Royal Celebration is owned by Ray and Brett Gall who provided Quinton with his first horse when he retired from riding and took up training.
“It’s great to win for the Gall family, they’ve been with me forever,’’ he said.
“Mamzelle Pedrille was the first horse I had when I started training and she went on to win stakes races and 11 races.’’
It’s also appropriate the win came on Cox Plate Day, of course Quinton rode the mighty Kingston Town to the second of his three straight wins in the Plate in 1981.
Smith’s Dilemma Over Rising Aqua
Trainer Matthew Smith has some thinking to do after Aqua D’Ivina continued her climb through the ranks at her first try beyond a mile.
Smith’s initial thoughts were to consider the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington in two weeks but said he wouldn’t be afraid to tip her out and focus on the autumn.
“We had plans to only give her three or four runs this prep and then get ready for the autumn so we’ll see how she comes through the run,’’ Smith said.
“She had a hard run the other day at Warwick Farm on a heavy track so I was a little worried about today.’’
A colic attack cost Aqua D’Ivina a shot at the three-year-old fillies features earlier this year and Smith is mindful of not over taxing her.
He said eventually the well bred mare will appreciate races up to 2400m.
Help From Above Sees Bullet Break Through
Was it divine intervention or good planning, or a bit of both, that saw talented four-year-old Single Bullet snap a 595 day losing streak and post his second win from 16 starts?
Finally! Single Bullet posts his second career win at start 16. pic.twitter.com/CIuBeZmd2Q
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) October 27, 2018
Trainer Gary Portelli revealed after the gelding sprouted wings late to take out the Chandon S Sprint (1000m) that one of the horse’s part owners, Gary Powell, had died during the week.
“He loved this horse, he lived and breathed the horse and it was terrible news he passed away,’’ Portelli said.
“I’m sure he’s watching up in heaven and hopefully his family has taken something out of this.’’
It wasn’t the only fitting result at Randwick, with Sky Boy carrying the colours of the late Dato’ Tan Chin Nam to victory in the Cellarbrations Handicap (2000m) later in the day and earning him a shot at the Villers later this year.
Portelli’s patience has been severely tested by Single Bullet throughout his career. He won the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes as a two-year-old in March 2017 and after a string of placings made the decision to geld him heading into this preparation.
After his second-up failure at Randwick on September 15 he again went back to the drawing board.
“I saw him pulling and carrying on at 1200m and I gave in to the fact he can’t get a solid six furlongs. We backed off and found this race to aim at and we had him spot on,’’ he said.
“That’s the Single Bullet we see at trials and trackwork, it’s good to see him back. I hope he can put it together now.’’
Single Bullet clocked the fastest last 600m of the 1000m dash in 33.19 and easily the best last 200m of 11.43 (Punters Intel).