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THE PETLEY REPORT: WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY FOR CONTENDERS TIGHTENS AS BEHEMOTH GAINS EVEREST SLOT

By Jack Petley | Wednesday, September 23, 2020

So much news this past day or so … Behemoth now in the $15 million The Everest, Michael Walker loses Tagaloa ride, jockey Hyeronimus back flips … pleads guilty, Rothfire now hot favourite for Golden Rose with Mo’unga not running, no Saturday run for Fierce Impact, Joao Moreira has hot book for Happy Valley, Farnan has slight setback and so is not running this weekend … and what about racing in England, maybe no crowds for some months.

Behemoth has moved to $15 for the $15 million The Everest after it was announced that The Star slot holder has taken up the outstanding WA galloper for the big event. That means there are seven named runners for the big event with Nature Strip still holding favouritism at $3.50 but needing to barrier trial before he can run in the Premier Stakes.

That barrier trial mishap by Nature Strip was heart in the mouth stuff for Chris Waller and his team. The star sprinter sent James McDonald crashing to the ground at the start and ran riderless in the trial. Luckily Chris, and Charles Duckworth were out on the track and they caught the wayward sprinter before any damage could be done. Now the sprinter has to trial again before the stewards but it does look as though Waller will keep to his plans and run The Everest favourite in the Premier Stakes at Randwick on October 3. Meantime there is a barrier trial set for Randwick later this week and one at Rosehill next week.

Nature Strip retains the favouritism for the Everest at $3.60 ahead of Classique Legend and Gytrash at $6 and then $7 Rothfire, $11 Bivouac, $15 Anders, Farnan.

Godolphin have yet to name their runner but it looks as though the team are leaning towards Bivouac although they could well have another runner with Trekking in the Moir this Friday and a win would give him standing amongst the slot holders yet to fill their spot.

Rothfire continues to thrive for Rob Heathcote and he is now favourite for the Golden Rose this weekend with Mo’unga not running for the Waller camp. Rothfire has tightened in the betting to $2 with Jim Byrne up, to start from gate 8 in the nine horse field.

Farnan, I gather, has a slight leg filling and the Bott-Waterhouse yard will keep stewards informed on the progress of the colt who is in The Everest and sits at$ 15 in the market. Other news out of the powerful stable is that the Gr1 winning mare Con Te Patiro has suffered a knee injury and she has been retired. It had earlier been thought she would run at the Breeders’ Cup meet, but instead she will now be retired and I see she is in the Keeneland November breeding sale later in the year … and further news from the yard, stayer Taikomochi has also had a setback and he has been sent to the paddock to recover.

Fierce Impact was to have run in the Underwood this weekend but trainer Matthew Smith said earlier in the week that the Makybe Diva winner is back at Warwick Farm … with maybe his next run now being the Turnbull or the Hill Stakes in Sydney … and that run will have him then aiming for the WS Cox Plate.

The mount on the Busuttin-Young three-year-old Tagaloa for the Caulfield Guineas has now been taken up by Craig Williams, replacing Michael walker. And a big run in that Classic could see him heading to the Cox Plate, said Busuttin.

Mo'unga, the Savabeel three-year-old who has looked so good in his three wins from as many starts, will head towards Melbourne for the Caulfield Guineas and with that move by Chris Waller he has now firmed to $4.50 favourite for the big event.

That dashing winner for Danny O'Brien on the weekend, Orderofthegarter, has been given a 1 kg penalty for the Caulfield Cup and the same penalty for the Melbourne Cup, but the very good Kris Lees, Australian Bloodstock stayer, Mugatoo has escaped a penalty after his fine Newcastle Cup win.

Watching two NZ bred three-year-olds from the Price / Kent yard run today in Melbourne, Bak Da Man and Dalgarono. Bak Da Man left maiden class with a strong win at Sale last month and he is on track for the Victoria Derby. "He is a good mover," said Michael Kent, "and he is a half to Ecuador and Pondarosa Miss. If he runs well, we will plot a path to the Derby." Dalgarno, by Reliable Man, is also a likely Derby contender and Kent says he had blinkers on in his work earlier in the week and Michael Walker was very pleased with the work. "He has come on ever so well," said Kent.

Catalyst is returning home after 1 2/5 lameness in his off-foreleg after his long last finish in the Shorts on the weekend. Trainer Clayton Chipperfield, at home because of the Covid 19 virus, said he feared the horse may need surgery. "The vet examined him and the x-ray showed a lot of movement in the around his fetlocks. It is a maturity thing and he is still growing. He will have three months out at The Oaks Stud and all going well he will be back racing in the autumn. It is a shame that it happened, but we still have a horse." While Chipperfield had no luck with Catalyst in Sydney he did gain a win at Ruakaka with Desert Mirage, who he races in the partnership with The Oaks Stud.

There was a little confusion in the early market for the Moir this Friday at Moonee Valley when Anders looked as though he may run but was then taken out I gather having had an elevated temperature on the weekend. Bella Vella is now favourite at $5, ahead of $5.20 Fabergino, $6 Trekking, $8 Pippie, $9 Hanseatic, $10 Diamond Effort, Hey Doc, $13 Away Game, Brooklyn Hustle.

That was a good finish to the Makybe Diva with Fierce Impact holding out a game Russian Camelot and they will clash again this weekend in the Underwood Stakes. The latest market: $2.50 Russian Camelot, $4.50 Arcadia Queen, $6 Mr Quickie, $10 Harbour Views, Humidor, $13 Fierce Impact, Kings Will Dream, $15 Dalasan, and the Kiwi The Chosen One, on the way to the Cups, sits at $26.

Melody Belle is back in NZ. The 10 times Gr1 winner has done well since her return and at present plans are up in the air as to where she will run next. She has not been entered for the Windsor Park and the Livamol at Hastings as it was expected she would be … but there is, I see, a late entry, able to be paid until early next week.

Before they arrive in Australia late next week the international gallopers have one heck of a long haul ahead of them. The UK horses leave the quarantine area next Wednesday and then are loaded on the one plane heading Down Under. Firstly, the plane stops at Shannon to collect the Irish contingent. Then the flight heads to the Middle East before going to Singapore and then Australia.

One trainer who is wary of the long trip is Roger Charlton who has Aspetar marked down for the WS Cox Plate. He was quoted in the UK media as saying: "It is a tough flight and they are not allowed off the plane, so let's hope that he takes the travelling well." Charlton pointed out that his smart galloper went to Hong King last year and handled the trip well." Charlton said the trip earlier on was proposed by his son Tom who is working with John O'Shea at Randwick. "He knows the form and also Japan is not sending horses. This is a tough gelding and the sharp track at Moonee Valley should suit him."

Interesting I see that the Melbourne Racing Club and the Moonee Valley Racing Club have decided against offering huge cash incentives for northern hemisphere horses. They both agree the stakes are lucrative enough.

While barriers are being taken down between States in Australia, virus numbers dropping even in Melbourne, that's not the case in the UK. Numbers are rising, lockdowns are in order says the Prime Minister and racing crowds may not be able to go trackside again for some months. Industry heads are saying that this could threaten the survival of sports organisations and the many livelihoods they support. Racing has been held in the UK behind closed doors for some time now and it had been hoped that crowds would be back on track come October 12. BHA chief executive Nick Rust was quoted in the UK press as saying this will have a "dreadful impact" on racing if crowds are not permitted for the next six months.

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That barrier trial mishap by Nature Strip was heart in the mouth stuff for Chris Waller and his team. The star sprinter sent James McDonald (pictured above) crashing to the ground at the start and ran riderless in the trial. Luckily Chris, and Charles Duckworth were out on the track and they caught the wayward sprinter before any damage could be done.
That barrier trial mishap by Nature Strip was heart in the mouth stuff for Chris Waller and his team. The star sprinter sent James McDonald (pictured above) crashing to the ground at the start and ran riderless in the trial. Luckily Chris, and Charles Duckworth were out on the track and they caught the wayward sprinter before any damage could be done.
Godolphin (James Cummings - pictured above) have yet to name their runner but it looks as though the team are leaning towards Bivouac although they could well have another runner with Trekking in the Moir this Friday and a win would give him standing amongst the slot holders yet to fill their spot.
Godolphin (James Cummings - pictured above) have yet to name their runner but it looks as though the team are leaning towards Bivouac although they could well have another runner with Trekking in the Moir this Friday and a win would give him standing amongst the slot holders yet to fill their spot.
Rothfire continues to thrive for Rob Heathcote (pictured above) and he is now favourite for the Golden Rose this weekend with Mo’unga not running for the Waller camp. Rothfire has tightened in the betting to $2 with Jim Byrne up, to start from gate 8 in the nine horse field.
Rothfire continues to thrive for Rob Heathcote (pictured above) and he is now favourite for the Golden Rose this weekend with Mo’unga not running for the Waller camp. Rothfire has tightened in the betting to $2 with Jim Byrne up, to start from gate 8 in the nine horse field.
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