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By Jack Petley | Friday, October 9, 2020

Danny O'Brien's star son of Camelot, Russian Camelot looks to have the Gr1 Neds Stakes at Caulfield this weekend at his mercy with only five rivals. Such has been his form since joining the O'Brien yard that he will run a red-hot favourite with Humidor and Arcadia Queen as main rivals with that pair having chased him home ever so gamely and never looking likely to win in the Underwood Stakes. This will be the star's final run before the WS Cox Plate.

Also amongst the super fields at Caulfield tomorrow is that Kiwi stayer The Chosen One is at $12 for the Herbert Power with the favourite and Cups candidate, the Danny O'Brien trained Orderofthegarter at $2.30 ahead of Mike Moroney's Chapada (6.50) and In Good Health (7). The hope for the Baker-Forsman stable is that a win by The Chosen One will secure him a place in the Caulfield Cup.

The Team Hawkes colt Ole Kirk, to be ridden by William Pike, is favourite for the Caulfield Guineas ahead of Tagaloa and King's Legacy then the NZ bred and unbeaten Mo'unga, by Savabeel, at $6.20 with Damien Oliver up. Craig Williams has replaced Michael Walker on Tagaloa.

Randwick trainer John O'Shea has two NZ breds tackling the Spring Champion Stakes and he rates one, Lion's Roar (18-1) as a replica of his sire, Contributor, who he trained when No1 trainer for Godolphin. He went to Karaka intent on buying a colt by the Mapperley Stud sire and when he looked over the youngsters one colt stood out, the one now named Lion's Roar. "He looks exactly the same," O'Shea told the NZ racing Desk. "He is a replica of his father. He is a deep bay, he's got a big deep girth and he has a bit of character about him." Lion's Roar won decisively at Newcastle last week and earlier in the season Mo-unga beat him on the same track. "He has improved for that run," he said.

O’Brien also has Socrates in the field, a recent Kembla maiden winner and by Tavistock from an O'Reilly mare and bred to stay. "He has a magnificent pedigree,” said O’Brien. “He is raw, but with so much potential." Both three-year-olds are not wanted in the market, though with the filly Montefillia at $3.40 and then the unbeaten Love Tap at $3.70 then Cherry Tortini, who will be ridden by Ryan Moloney.

Maloney is in town for the ride also on Alligator Blood who touches short odds in the Silver Eagle at $1.80 ahead of Dawn Passage, $4.50 and the NZ bred Chris Waller trained mare Subpoenaed. I’m looking forward to seeing Alligator Blood step out.

Peltzer sits as favourite for the Stan Fox and O'Shea has the favourite for the Angst Stakes, All Saint's Eve with McDonald up.

And while on James McDonald I note that his Everest mount, Nature Strip has recovered from that slight setback heading towards the big race but stewards will be kept advised by the stable on his well-being.

And on Farnan … after being mildly lame mid-week, the horse will be vetted again early next week. Worrying times for the stable with now only days to the big $15m event. Earlier in the week it was reported that the colt had a bruising in the off fore and he was slightly lame. This setback has resulted in him not taking his place in the Roman Consul this weekend. Stewards are being kept up to date with his progress.

The Roman Consul has drawn a small field with the colt Doubtland just ahead of the James McDonald mount Wild Ruler, $2.40 to $2.60.

Gytrash continues to make progress for the Everest at Warwick farm and he turned in yet another smart gallop during the week.

Meantime Irish trainers Aidan O'Brien and his son Joseph have a string in Australia for the carnival and they have been tested regarding that feed contamination which kept Aidan O'Brien runners from tackling the Arc last weekend. 10 horses are in the O'Brien family string including Anthony Van Dyke and Tiger Moth. I gather the results will be known in a few days.

Chris Waller gained his fifth consecutive Australian Horse of the Year Award with brilliant sprinter Nature Strip, a major candidate for the Everest Handicap. That followed on the four wins by the great mare Winx. Farnan was named top two-year-old. Yes Yes Yes was named top three-year-old colt or gelding and Loving Gaby, top three-year-old filly, while Fierce Impact and Regal Power shared the honours for the middle distance award and Vow and Declare won top stayer.

I note that the brilliant Anders has been entered for the Schillaci Stakes at Caulfield after he missed the Moir Stakes through an elevated temperature.

Persan has been re-handicapped to 51kgs for the Melbourne Cup after his fine win in the Bart Cummings on the weekend. He will also now have 51kgs for the Caulfield Cup.

Top jockey Ben Melham has been cleared of seven alleged betting charges by the Victorian Racing Tribunal with Melham not subjected to Australian rules by betting on a Singapore races.

Kris Lees, I see, has booked John Allen for Mugatoo in the Caulfield Cup, but is still in two minds whether the top stayer will run in that or a week later in the Cox Plate. Mugatoo sits at $20 in the Cup and at longer odds in the Cox Plate.

In NZ during the week, the Peter and Dawn Williams unleased a very smart looking three-year-old filly, Il Affare. The daughter of Dundeel unleashed a strong finish to win going away by a length and Peter Williams predicts a big future for the filly who is raced by breeder Greg Tomlinson of Nearco Stud. "She is a nice staying filly," said Williams of the filly who is a half-sister to good Hong Kong winner, Full of Beauty.

Another impressive winner at the meeting was Sophisticardo for Jamie Richards and he is on the way to the rich Karaka Million at Ellerslie early in January. "We will likely back off him for a week or so," said Richards with the colt having cost David Ellis $30,000 out of the Cambridge Stud draft at Karaka.

The distance of the Matamata Cup has been reduced this year from 1600 metres to 1400 metres and that, said Cambridge trainer Frank Ritchie, will help his runner, Dawn Patrol. "He has won over 1400 metres before and he likes the Matamata track," said Ritchie.

Other news from the Ritchie stable is that Fiscal Fantasy will miss the Livamol after a disappointing run at Te Rapa last time out. "She can now head to a race she won last year, the Jarden Stakes at Elleslie on Melbourne Cup day,” said Ritchie.

Matamata trainer Karen Fursden is hoping that her stable star Yearn will have a bit better luck this time in Breeders Stakes at Hawera. "Two years back we had bad luck in the race with the saddle slipping and the jockey just had to let her run … we put a line through that run." Fursden said she could not be happier with the daughter of Savabeel going into the race this time around.

Baker-Forsman have their three-year-old Unition running at Matamata and they are keen for the now gelded son of Fastnet Rock to perform well and earn a trip to the south for the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton. "We have seen a big change in him,” said Murray Baker. Since being gelded the Unition has been successful, and easilytoo, in a trial at Te Aroha.

Shaune Ritchie said that he will not have his Oaks winner of last year Jennifer Eccles run in the Livamol at Hastings on Saturday week. She finished near the back of the field in the Windsor Park last weekend and Ritchie said the mare will be vetted to discover her below par effort after a strong run on the first day of the meeting. "Her recovery was normal but she raced very flat, "said Ritchie." I have found that the best thing to do in this situation is to gracefully retreat and start again."

But one runner for the Livamol is the Team Kelso mare Supera, who came home hard for fifth in the Windsor Park. "Her closing sectionals were super and I think the extra distance in the Livamol will suit her," said Ken Kelso of the Sir Peter Vela owned mare.

Melody Belle is now the favourite for the Livamol at $2.40 ahead of Avantage at $3.50 and then Twi Illicit at $6.50.

The winners of the two jumping features at Ellerslie on the weekend, Magic Wonder and Aigne smashed existing track records on their way to convincing wins. Wanganui jumper Magic Wonder gained fans for the Great Northern after his dashing win in the Pakuranga Hunt Cup while Aigne won the Pakuranga Hunt Hurdle narrowly.

The dashing Arc winner Scottsass has been retired said trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget and the high-class galloper will now head to stud at Coolmore. It had been earlier though to have the colt run in the Breeders Cup but those plans were shelved in order for the horse to let down for a stud career.

There is every chance that the great UK mare Enable will have one more race at British Champions Day at Ascot on Saturday week. "She seems fine after her trip to Paris," said trainer John Gosden. "I would say the decision will be made by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah on the weekend."

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