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By Graham Potter | Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Melissa Taylor stable sent three runners to Eagle Farm on August 14 and, while a winning result eluded them, they all came back with a prize-money cheque.

The three-year-old filly Vienna Empress got the Melissa Taylor show on the road with a fourth pace in the opening event on the card, a QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1000m.

Vienna Empress came into the race having shed her maiden ticket at her previous start, that win coming in a Two-Year-Old Fillies Maiden Plate over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast.

Here she had plenty of opposition going into the race on paper though with the likes of Glorious Ruby (who had won twice and run second twice in her four career starts … she started at $3) and Secret Tales (a $3.50 chance boasting two wins from three starts … including an 18 length romp at the Gold Coast) topping the betting boards … form factors which played their part in Vienna Princess starting at the second longest priced runner at $14.

As things turned out, none of these runners had a major say in the outcome as the race went to Princess Bojack, who has been good enough get a start in the $2 million Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic in January.

Vienna Princess showed to good advantage racing just off the speed for much of the race but, although she stayed on well enough, she didn’t have the extra gear required to go with Princess Bojack on the day and the run ended in a fourth place result, with Vienna Princess only surrendering third spot in the final 75m.

One race later The Kewess went into action.

The lightly raced son of Super One had previously only had two starts as a two-year-old and was coming into his first start as a three-year-old first-up after an eight month layoff.

Those two previous starts produced eye-catching with The Kewess winning on debut in a QTIS Two-Year-Old Maiden Plate over 1000m at the Sunshine Coast over 1000m on November 27, 2020, before stepping straight into feature race company and finishing fifth in the Listed Phelan Ready Stakes behind the smart Alpine Edge over 1000m at Doomben on December 12, 2021.

The Kewess was partnered by Dale Smith on both of those occasions.

Here, in a QTIS Three-Year-Old Handicap over 1000m, with Jim Byrne in the saddle, The Kewess raced ungenerously with his head up off heels towards the rear of the field in the early part of the race … and he, in fact, had gone back to last when the field straightened for home, but he was only a little over three lengths off the frontrunning $51 chance Tikka Ready.

While the first half of the race had not gone his way, The Kewess showed a glimpse of what he is made of when, once balanced up by Byrne, the chestnut colt started to build momentum. His determined chase ultimately carried him into third place, behind the clear-cut winner Legal Esprit, a good result given his run and where he was placed when the field turned for home.

Certainly, there was nothing wrong with The Kewess going down to Legal Esprit … who was winning for the fifth time in his six career starts.

Kudu, who has been something of a stable flag-bearer in recent times, was last up for the Melissa Taylor stable and was good enough to secure a runner-up finish in a Class 3 Handicap over 1500m. (That made it six out of his last seven starts in which Kudu has either finished first or second).

Jumping from a wide draw at a starting price of $8, Kudu, who had Jimmy Orman in the saddle this time, comfortably crossed runners to move into third place soon after the start, and he then improved into second place going down the back straight, just ahead of the $4.60 chance Samurai, who had the run of the race in third.

These runners held their positions through the home turn and, on straightening Kudu moved forward to challenge the leader Nishikori (another $8 chance). At the same time Samurai started improving quickly hugging the rail along the inside.

It stayed three horse race for most of the straight until Samurai edged ahead inside the final 150m and Nishikori started to weaken.

Kudu kept fighting though and, although he did come back at Samurai marginally in the closing strides, he ultimately had to settle for second place.

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Talking tactics
Talking tactics
Vienna Empress
Vienna Empress
The Kewess
The Kewess
Photos: Graham Potter
Photos: Graham Potter
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