Archive for September 2019

Nanjing Night Net

Admire Rakti

Weight is the only query with this seven-year-old but most of his top rivals are too close to him. He has been given a perfect Japanese preparation, the same as Delta Blues before his 2006 win. Will appreciate the anticipated firm ground, which could take a toll on others, and has the benefit of an Aussie navigator in Zac Purton.

Cavalryman

A nine-year-old but age hasn’t wearied him as he is in career best form, which keeps him on the radar on Tuesday. Failed badly in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, run at a dawdle, but has subsequently been successful in Dubai and the UK. Jockey Craig Williams is a plus.

Fawkner

The best local hope and the hardest to beat. An excellent second in a strong Cox Plate confirms the necessary class, but will it extend to 3200 metres? The gelding was sixth last year after giving a long start – mastermind and owner Lloyd Williams intimated jockey Nick Hall “went to sleep”. Expect both horse and man to be lively, mentally and physically, on Tuesday afternoon.

Red Cadeaux

Another old-timer who looks good and has a penchant for Flemington. Second in two previous Melbourne Cups, but I can’t see him adding to that tally here.

Protectionist

A five-year-old from Germany, this rising star is potentially the best horse in the race, coming along a similar European trail to Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011). Also has the benefit of Australian experience, finishing fourth in the Herbert Power at Caulfield. I’m gambling against him. It could be the wrong move.

Seismos

Widely travelled and a group 1 winner in Germany. Failed pulling hard in the Caulfield Cup and was subsequently described by jockey Craig Newitt as “dour”. Too slow for mine.

Junoob

Benefited from a great Blake Shinn ride to take The Metrop at Randwick but with 55.5 kilograms could be tested against this company. Has the assistance of Hugh Bowman, a great distance rider, but it won’t be enough.

Royal Diamond

Another nine-year-old eligible for the pension or the paddock and regarded as the second pick of the John Murtagh stayers. Acts over two miles, but not with any brilliance. Back with the cap-catchers.

Gatewood

Did not like Sydney and a failure for Chris Waller. A Geelong Cup winner (2012) and subsequently back with John Gosden in the UK. His form has been good in much weaker races. Not a contender.

Mutual Regard

Being an Ebor winner last start and still having the bloom of youth at six, he appeals strongly but I did not include him in my first four because he has not had Australian experience. Great rides win the Melbourne Cup and none do it better than his jockey, Damian Oliver.

Who Shot Thebarman

Likes Flemington and is a proven 3200m horse, having won the Auckland Cup. Failed in the Caulfield Cup but on later examination was found to have mucus in his lungs. Lacks the necessary class to figure in the top bracket but, with Glen Boss up, he should get a good passage.

Willing Foe

An eight-year-old which has had three starts in the last two years. Regarded abroad as “gifted”, but fragile. Maybe he’s just a travelling companion for Godolphin’s major player, Cavalryman.

My Ambivalent

Obviously top-class, but a flighty mare. Targeted at the Caulfield Cup but withdrawn because of to injury. Under the circumstances, the 3200m journey is a problem.

Precedence

Remarkably, did not make the field last year when in better form. Had excuses for his last-start Moonee Valley Cup failure and lacks the lead-up credentials of his past three Melbourne Cup attempts.  Only the fact that J.B. Cummings is in his credentials entitles him to any respect.

Brambles

Certainly his effort in the Mackinnon at Flemington on Saturday was ordinary, not unlike Viewed (2008) before he won the Big One. But Viewed struck interference. Brambles was too slow but has enough pace to take a position here. However, not where it matters.

Mr O’Ceirin

Concussion plates going on as a gear change indicates the firm ground could be a problem. Also, his recent Cranbourne Cup failure hardly puts him into the form horse category.

Au Revoir

Prepared by Andre Fabre, known as a champion French trainer, the five-year-old can improve fitness-wise on his Moonee Valley Cup third, but could this be more an exploration exercise for the future, for the trainer if not for the horse?

Lidari

Like Lidari, the last four Melbourne Cup winners have been northern hemisphere six-year-olds. He was sixth in the Caulfield Cup and lacks quality and a staying element, in my opinion, but Racing And Sports has him highly, if not, top rated.

Opinion

Catch him on his day and he is better than average. However, this was not the case in the Moonee Valley Cup last start. Perhaps a tidal wave would help. But that appears unlikely.

Araldo

Third in The Metrop and that is a reasonable credential, as was his Caulfield Cup fifth. But the 23 launch is hardly a plus for a stayer which needs all the breaks.

Lucia Valentina

Highly talented and the youngest entrant in the race. Produced an outstanding Melbourne Cup trial when third in the Caulfield Cup. So why didn’t she make my top four? She has the class but maturity and staying power are the queries.

Unchain My Heart

The Flemington metric two miles are much to her liking, but class and tempo will test this eight-year-old mare, still racing at an age when most of her gender are at stud or in a paddock.

Signoff

With 51kg, he has the handicap to test the topweights, even allowing for the possibility of Joao Moreira riding another half kilo overweight. Trainer Darren Weir has given the five-year-old gelding a strong foundation and he should look sweet in the run for a long way. Then class will kick in. Top three for sure.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Kris Lees’ Cup hope Lucia Valentina. Photo: Eddie Jim Kris Lees’ Cup hope Lucia Valentina. Photo: Eddie Jim
Nanjing Night Net

Kris Lees’ Cup hope Lucia Valentina. Photo: Eddie Jim

Kris Lees’ Cup hope Lucia Valentina. Photo: Eddie Jim

Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep

In a geographical sense, Andreas Wohler and Kris Lees could not be further apart. In every other sense, they just about share everything.

The same syndicator, the same Melbourne Cup dream, even at various stages the same line of betting for the big race but perhaps no link is more profound than their origins in the training game.

Wohler, the master German trainer who has won three Derbies at home, was thrust into the racing game at just 24 when he downed his economic textbooks and took over the family stables after the death of his father Adolf.

Lees, too, was completely unprepared when his father Max succumbed to a cancer battle no one knew he was fighting two weeks after being ordered by his wife Vicki to see a doctor about his back pain.

The Newcastle trainer was eight years Wohler’s senior when a stable suddenly needed someone to step up.

Wohler has been at the wheel for almost 30 years since his father’s death and has won races all over the world but remembers how hard it was to even think about training at such a young age.

“I was studying – how do you say? – something like economics,” he said. “My father was ill for a long time and I had the stable running for already half a year. He took it over, but just for two weeks [before he died].

“I would have learned so much more [if he had lived longer]. The plan was to always be his assistant and get different experience in different countries and he would be my assistant later on. That was the longtime plan, but it didn’t happen.

“It was tough because it was our living for the family. We had to get on. To carry it on I had to do it, but I needed the backing of my owners.”

Lees, perhaps, was far more underprepared when the family’s business suddenly rested on young shoulders. He remembers sending a horse of his father’s to the races the day after his dad died in August 2003. It was called Carry On Mate. Fittingly, it won.

“Dad was irreplaceable and a one of a kind gentleman,” Lees said. “He was a family man and just a great bloke.

“He had County Tyrone for the first [in 2002] Melbourne Cup and then I had him for the second. That is a long time ago and it was a big learning curve.”

One man who has been there the whole time was syndicator and Australian Bloodstock director Jamie Lovett. Along with fellow director Luke Murrell, they remember the time Lees was just “shoeing a few” while foreman for his father.

“When Max passed away with cancer there was no contingency plan,” said Lovett, who races Protectionist in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup with Wohler before it transfers to the care of his great mate Lees.

“I could remember the morning he had a sore back and we said ‘Doc, you don’t look too good’ as he was walking up the stairs.

“We took him to acupuncture thinking he had a sore back and his wife Vicki said three days later ‘Go and see a doctor’. He had cancer – was riddled with it – and died [two weeks] later.

“But now [Kris] has taken [the stable] to a level not many people thought he could have.”

Eleven years on and Lees has returned the family name to the Melbourne Cup book with Lucia Valentina. For once, Lovett and Murrell won’t be by his side in the mounting yard.

The pair lament the “one that got away” when another German they imported, Lucas Cranach, ran third in 2011. This time they hope to share the bulk of the $6 million purse with their fellow Novocastrian.

“If we can’t win it I hope he does … I really do,” Lovett said. “He’s a good mate of ours and we all grew up together. I’d love to win the race with Andreas and have Kris run second.”

And Lees would still be happy with that?

“He would, he’s that sort of guy,” Lovett said. “He’s one of the very few selfless guys who is not jealous. For a big race it would be lovely to have a couple of cowboys from Newcastle quinellaing it.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Good to go: Patrick Hogan and Bart Cummings run their eyes over Precedence on Monday.Wizard of Odds: Live Odds, Form and Alerts for all RacingFull coverage: Melbourne Cup 2014Melbourne Cup sweep
Nanjing Night Net

The first thing Bart Cummings wanted to check on Monday morning was his horse for the Melbourne Cup. Precedence stood in his box, head in his feed bin as Bart and owner Sir Patrick Hogan peered in and looked at him.

Co-trainer James Cummings waited for the verdict from the legend, who will turn 87 next week.

“He turned to me and gave his seal of approval,” James Cummings said. “He said ‘he looks in good nick, but he always looks in good nick. We will find out if he is good enough tomorrow’.

“He was just happy to be there with Sir Patrick and it has given him a real lift coming down here.”

Bart Cummings is part of the fabric of the Melbourne Cup. His record of winning it on 12 occasions is remarkable but add the fact he has also quinellaed it five times, it shows why he is called the ‘Cups king’.

“Whenever I talk to him he wants to know how the Melbourne Cup horse is going. It really sparks him,” Cummings said. “It is a very special race to him and he wanted to be here.

“This time of year you really get to know how much he means to racing.”

In total, Precedence will be Cummings’ 89th Cup runner, a record that will never be equalled. His dozen winners have complemented by six seconds and four thirds.

On Tuesday, Precedence will become the first horse to run in four Cups for Cummings. The only other runner to start in three Melbourne Cups for Bart was 1979 winner Hyperno.

The nine-year-old has history against him, no horse of that age has saluted in the Melbourne Cup but he remains the sentimental favourite. Although his price was $61 on fixed odds, he was just $32.70 in the TAB market with more than $700,000 in the pool on Monday afternoon.

“You can see the once-a-year punters want to be on him, just look at the tote, it’s half his fixed odds price,” Tab’s Glenn Munsie said. “Everyone seems to want to be on the dream result of Bart winning the Cup again. Even in our book he is the third worst way behind Who Shot Thebarman and Fawkner in strictly win bets, and is a loser.”

The ultimate racing guide with the latest information on fields, form, tips, market fluctuations and odds, available on mobile, tablet and desktop.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Sione Mata’utia takes a high ball under pressure in the last moments of the Test. Photo: Matt King Sione Mata’utia of Australia is tackled during the Four Nations match between Australia and England at AAMI Park on Sunday. Photo: Mark Metcalfe
Nanjing Night Net

Sione Mata’utia of Australia is tackled during the Four Nations match between Australia and England at AAMI Park on Sunday. Photo: Mark Metcalfe

Sione Mata’utia of Australia is tackled during the Four Nations match between Australia and England at AAMI Park on Sunday. Photo: Mark Metcalfe

Sione Mata’utia of Australia is tackled during the Four Nations match between Australia and England at AAMI Park on Sunday. Photo: Mark Metcalfe

Australia’s youngest Test representative, Sione Mata’utia, says he will have mixed emotions if chosen to play against Samoa in Sunday’s Four Nations match at WIN Stadium.

Mata’utia, who was spotted walking the streets of Melbourne in a suit early on Sunday, had been expected to be chosen alongside brother Peter in the Samoa squad until an impressive performance for the Prime Minister’s XIII convinced Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens to select him for Australia.

He made his Test debut against England at 18 years and 129 days on Sunday and despite a defensive error that allowed England winger Ryan Hall to score in the first half produced a sound performance.

“I am not sure he shoudn’t be playing in the forwards he is that big, so it was a good test for me to go up against him,” Mata’utia said of Hall.

“There was only one try let in so I was happy with my performance against him and it is something I can improve on for next time. It was on my behalf that we let in that try that we had talked about all week. It was my fault but Dylan Walker [and I] talked about it and we rectified that.”

Mata’utia showed his maturity when he managed to field a bomb under pressure in the dying minutes of the match to help Australia hold onto a 16-12 lead.

“As a winger it is your job to catch those ones,” he said. “You practise every sesssion catching bombs and credit to the boys around me, too, who helped me out. We had a bit of a strategy around defending cross-field kicks and it paid off on that occasion.”

Before the match Mata’utia had been allowed to leave camp to attend church and said some fans who saw him might have thought he had been out the night before.

Afterwards he said the experience of playing his first Test had been everything he imagined and said he was emotional during the national anthem.

“It was fast, loud,” he said of the game and atmosphere. “It is good I have got a little bit of a taste and a bit of experience I can look back on, and know what to expect next time.

“There is no hiding and no time to catch your breath, it is sort of 110 per cent from the starting horn to the ending horn so it was a good lesson for me and I learnt a lot.

“All my family was there … when I saw my mum during the anthem I had to close my eye to shed a tear.”

Mata’utia will again catch up with family this week as Peter, who plays for St George Illawarra, lives in Wollongong.

He said playing against Samoa would be special.

“It will ring a lot of bells in my family and the family back home, too, so if I get a chance I will do my best to do them all proud,” he said.

“Peter was meant to play for Samoa but he had to pull out. He lives down in Wollongong so once I get down there I will go and see him, we will play a game of golf and catch up. My other brothers will be down there, too, so it will be good.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.