WITH Menari’s racing career now over and his Everest dream gone, the baton has been passed to his three-quarter brother Omar to chase some spring riches and fly the flag for his owner-breeder George Altomonte.
Omar, the son of multiple champion stallion Snitzel, is housed at Rosehill with Gerald Ryan, who ventures to Kembla on Thursday to launch the three-year-old’s second campaign.
Omar was spelled and gelded after finishing last on debut at Rosehill behind the Nick Olive-trained Sizzling Belle on January 27. The performance was way below expectation and in complete contrast to the level of talent Omar has displayed in his two lead-up trials.
“He has shown heaps of ability but has had a really bad attitude,’’ Ryan said. “He has been gelded and is a lot better now than he was. The idea of going to Kembla is to give him a ‘kill’ and get a bit of confidence up in the horse.’’
SHAYNE O’CASS’S BEST BETS
BEST BET: OMAR (Race 3, No. 5)
Three-quarter brother to Menari. This son of Snitzel has been gelded since his debut in January and has trialled in great order. Bound for better races than this.
NEXT BEST: BISQUE (Race 2, No. 2)
Gwenda Markwell-trained gelding beaten narrowly at $41 on debut here on July 12 then two weeks later was $4.60 and ran out an easy winner in seriously fast time of 56.86 sec for the 1000m.
VALUE BET: HIGHJACKER (Race 7, No. 4)
Yet to place in his four starts but two were on very heavy tracks, first-up each time. Sent the right signals with a closing fourth at Kembla over 1400m that he was ready to win now he’s at the mile.
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
There is a reason why GWENDA MARKWELL is known as the Queen of Kembla. Barely a meeting will go by there without her leading in at least one winner and that should be the case again here.
Race 5: 2, 4, 6, 7
Race 6: 3, 5, 8
Race 7: 4
Race 8: 7, 10.
BEST BET: GO BENNY (Race 7, No. 3)
Had no luck in town last start at his first run for new trainer Kris Lees when held up behind other horses and went to the line untested. Trialled since, went well, and step to mile second-up will assist.
NEXT BEST: HOLY REIGN (Race 4, No. 8)
Kim Waugh-trained son of She Will Reign’s sire Manhattan Rain. Trialled
like a good horse but was last of the
eight on debut at Gosford. Has to be better than that.
SCROLL DOWN FOR SHAYNE’S EXTENDED PREVIEW & TIPS
Omar has the pedigree to stand at any stud, being the first foal of stakes winner Ichihara, a three-quarter brother to Menari as mentioned, and from the same family as 13-time Group 1 winner Tie The Knot.
So the decision to geld the horse was not an easy one but his antics made him virtually impossible to deal with.
“We took him to the trials one day at Rosehill and we legged Andrew Adkins on him,’’ Ryan said. “He put on a rodeo act so that was time to go and get him gelded because he didn’t want to be here.
“We persevered for two or three preps but in the end we had to geld him. When George (Altomonte) breaks in all of his horses he gives you a report and Omar’s said ‘nice horse, lot of ability, shocking attitude’. He was right.’’
Ryan’s other runner at Kembla is the well-bred Bernardini filly Peace Of Mind. She is a daughter of Group 3 VRC Matriarch (2000m) winner Sweet Corn, who has already thrown the stakes winner Baby Corn.
“She is bred to improve as she gets older,’’ Ryan said. “At the moment she just lacks a little bit of strength. She trialled well earlier in the year and could have gone to the races and raced OK, but I decided to give her time.
“She is going quite well now but she just needs to develop a bit more. She has good potential but I don’t think you will see the best of her for another 12 months. That’s a cliche I don’t like using but I really do think she’ll be better the closer she gets to being a four-year-old.’’
THE prospect of one, and maybe even two, winners at Taree today is the icing on the cake for trainer Adam Duggan, who welcomed his second child into the world on Monday.
The Gosford-based conditioner has two runners on the card, led by the promising Bill ‘N’ Ted in the Taree Cup Calcutta Maiden (1000m).
The other is stable recruit Front View, who is a half-brother to Bart Cummings’ 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Viewed.
“I have a seven-and-a-half-year old son Jack, and he just got a baby brother,’’ a proud Duggan said. “We haven’t named him yet, we are still trying to find a good name for him.
“If my three-year-old wins (Thursday), he could be Bill or Ted. “The baby was born on Monday and he’s perfect. Everything’s good, mum (Jessica) and bub are great.’’
Ditto it seems for Bill ‘N’ Ted, the son of Smart Missile who was very good on debut when finishing third at Scone despite being one of the last ones to leave from his inside alley.
“He is definitely going to improve a lot coming off his first run,’’ Duggan said.
“I thought he might have been vulnerable at the 1100m at his first start and as it turned out he probably was.
“In hindsight, after watching the race back again he might have been in the worst part of the track but we weren’t to know that and we couldn’t have done anything about it from barrier one anyway.
“Mitchell (Bell) gave him a good ride after being slow away. He just wasn’t good enough over the 1100m.
“But coming back to the 1000m, I would be disappointed if he wasn’t right in the finish.’’
Bell hands over the reins to Andrew Gibbons, with whom Duggan has enjoyed success.
“Andrew Gibbons is a long-time friend and whenever Andrew gets on one of my horses, he always gives them a very good ride so I am very happy to have him on,’’ Duggan said.
Front View is having his first run for Duggan in the mile race on the card, which will be his first outing in a little more than a year.
“I nominated him late for this race after a bit of work that he did on Saturday suggested he won’t have too much trouble handling the mile first-up,’’ Duggan said.
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O’CASS
RACE 5 (2.55pm)
2. So Spirited was scratched from a race at Canterbury on Wednesday to run here, which is a positive lead given the military precision placement of Joe Pride. This grey son of So You Think won at Wyong three starts back then was very competitive in town after that. 6. Burden of Proof is 3s 2w here at home and this is his trip. 4. Spencer was in another league to his rivals at Canberra last start. Can go on with it now.
BET STRATEGY: SO SPIRITED win.
RACE 6 (3.35pm)
3. Intense Focus ran a creditable fifth in a deep race at Canterbury on July 4. The Snowden colt went back to the trials on July 30 and was an impressive 1.5 lengths winner. Drawn five for Kerrin McEvoy, had the race experience now. Lot of pluses. 5. Prince George was green as grass on debut. He drew 10 of 10, was last at the turn and came down the outside fence to be beaten 3.2 lengths. Has talent. 6. Kara’s Hope has run in a G2 and two G3’s in her five starts.
BET STRATEGY: INTENSE FOCUS win, box trifecta 3,5,6
RACE 7 (4.10pm)
4. Highjacker is a High Chaparral gelding from the Les Bridge camp who is surely more gifted than his race record of 4s 0-0-0 would have us believe. Bear in mind that two of those runs were first-up on absolute mud-pits which he just didn’t handle. Second-up at the mile on a nice firm track — this is the day. 1. My King’s Counsel was a distant third last start at Canterbury over 15500m. Suited this grade. 10. Sparman is a longshot chance.
BET STRATEGY: HIGHJACKER win
RACE 8 (4.50pm)
10. China Gale is a Pierro son trained by John O’Shea. The handsome bay gelding won first-up on July 14 at Wyong then closed off really nicely for a 0.9 lengths fourth in a big field of 14 here on July 26. That was 1500m, 1600m is perfect. 7. Marabel won that race here two weeks ago so is to be respected. Loads of other chances not least the Jason Coyle pair 4. Excited Prince and 14. Charming Lad.
BET STRATEGY: CHINA GALE win, box trifecta 4,7,10,14
RACE 4 (2.40pm)
Kim Waugh’s 8. Holy Reign trialled super impressively before a lacklustre debut at Gosford on Jul 19. Is way, way better than that. 1. Cabriere is a son of Pierro is a lightly-raced type who has always shown talent. The Benjamin Smith-trained recruit came from a long way back to finish close enough to the handy Panzerfaust at Scone. Fitter and ready to improve. 6. Dogoda Fury has placed 4 from 12.
BET STRATEGY: HOLY REIGN win
RACE 5 (3.15pm)
The Paul Perry-trained 1. Titus has an interesting record of 13s 1-1-8 — not many horses have eight thirds, let alone from only 13 starts. Probably suggests ‘place best’ with this fellow but in saying that he is very well placed for an overdue win. Blinkers first time here. 10. Rubel is a mare by Black Caviar’s sire, Bel Esprit. Was $12 to $9 when a great 1.1 lengths to the unbeaten Miss Celebration at Gosford first-up. 11. Saint Helena has claims at big odds.
BET STRATEGY: TITUS win, quinella 1,10
RACE 6 (3.52pm)
12. Mosgiel Lucy is a 7YO mare nearing her 50th start and searching for her fifth win which could well come here at good odds. This locally trained mare has been getting to the line with purpose at her last few outings. This is her big chance. 4. Toast has only won three from 39 but his numbers here at 4s 0-2-2 at the t/d. Major player. 6. Forever Alone was a huge drifter last start. $6.50 to $14 but almost won. Consider.
BET STRATEGY: MOSGIEL LUCY each-way
RACE 7 (4.27pm)
Put the pen through 3. Go Benny’s first-up run for Kris Lees in town! The son of VRC Derby winner Monaco Consul had a wall of horses in front of him back at the tail of the field into the bend and went to the line untested. Trialled since and went super. 7. Lady Evelyn is a city-class mare. She’s been in town at her last three and ran well at all times. Drawn four — gets good run. 4. Dixie Lad and 5. Chalcedony are the best of the rest.
BET STRATEGY: GO BENNY win, quinella 3,7