By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens
Matter Of How Far For Muntaseera
Just how superior was Muntaseera in the opener at Rosehill?
Punters Intelligence shows the winner ran her last 600m in 33.46s, nearly five lengths superior to the next best.
It was a lovely ride from Hugh Bowman to slide into the race, given the slow tempo up front, pocketing James McDonald on the runner up Chilliwack.
"I expected her to win on what she did in Melbourne and she didn't disappoint," said Bowman.
"She has a good bit of improvement and the distance ranges will open up a lot of options for her. I think she'll be effective over 1200m and even over a mile possibly. There is a lot of scope there and she is still immature physically to my eye, but there is plenty of horse to work with."
Ciaron Maher and David Eustace's assistant trainer Annabel Neasham said the filly is likely to be freshened up now with an eye on the Golden Slipper and/or Blue Diamond.
"She looked like she wasn't travelling before the turn but she showed a beautiful kick. She is a filly we have always had a big opinion of," she added.
TAB Fixed Odds reacted by slashing her Slipper quote from $51 into $15.
Rebel Win Timely Relief
Incredibly, Braidwood-based trainer Aaron Clarke was guarding his property from bush fires only 14 hours before Run Like A Rebel won Saturday's first Highway Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill.
"I was sitting in the stables until about twelve o'clock and then getting up this morning but anyway, we got here," said a relieved Clarke.
"The fire only got about a kilometer from the stable. It was pretty hairy. It nearly jumped back but the wind just changed and it helped us out a lot."
Meanwhile, the fifth-placed Pauper lost the race by dipping his head at the start as shown in the stewards' vision below.
Punters Intelligence shows Natalie Jarvis's four-year-old clocked 33.93s for his last 600m, which was 4.5 lengths faster than the next quickest. Expect to see him another Highway Handicap in three weeks' time.
The head on of Pauper at the start
Villiers Rematch For Festival Pair
There was nothing between Ranier and Live And Free in the G3 Festival Stakes (1500m) and the duo will likely meet again in a fortnight in the Villiers Stakes at Randwick.
Kathy O'Hara has now ridden for Goldolphin head trainer James Cummings four times this season for two wins and a second.
"It was a good win and he'll run a mile easily, so the Randwick mile will suit this horse," said O'Hara.
"I got off the leader's heels doing the right thing to give him every chance but I saw the second horse fly up the inside and I thought I'd given the run away to the winner but he knuckled down late."
What do we do with Bobbing ahead of the Villiers? He never saw clear running until the race was all over. Punters Intelligence shows a last 200m of 11.36s, the quickest in the race.
"He needed luck from back there and I didn't get any of it," was James Innes Junior's comment.
One For Newcastle On Sunday
Keep an eye on Geo at Newcastle on Sunday. Off his trials, the unraced Kris Lees-trained colt looks to have the ability to match his big pedigree.
The three-year-old is by Medaglia D'Oro out of Samantha Miss, making her a half to gun stablemate Miss Fabulass. Aaron Bullock, who has ridden Geo in his last two trials and will ride him tomorrow, says he is much more relaxed than his relation.
"I'm looking forward to riding him, he's a nice horse. In his first trial for me I looked after him in what was the fastest heat of the morning. In his next trial I asked him to do a bit more and roll along," said Bullock.
"Kris said we're going to a 1300m first up so we've put the work into him and we can't have him any more spot on.
"Without getting too carried away, I really like him."