Exciting colt Tavisan announced his arrival as a serious spring player with a game second in the listed McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Ontrack Thoroughbreds managed colt has now had two Australian outings for Caufield conditioner Mick Price for an easy Cranbourne win and a close second to boom colt Brutal in Saturday’s $120,000 race.
“Tavisan showed plenty of natural ability when broken in by young New Zealand trainer Jacob McKay and that persuaded us to race him at two over there,” said Ontrack’s Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“Things such as soft tracks and wide draws didn’t help him over there but he showed his true ability when being beaten out of the placings in the last couple of strides in a Group Three at Matamata.
“He developed with a nice break over there and he’s furnished into a lovely colt, and it was great to see him step up to Saturday city company in Melbourne and perform so well.
“Being a son of Tavistock, the expectation is that he might get over a trip but he has always been a precocious type and he has tremendous early speed.
“It was that early speed that we used at Moonee Valley to get across and settle on the pace. He was pressured for much of the race by another horse and it was only the last bit that Brutal was able to get over the top of him,” said Grant Morgan.
Plans for Tavisan are yet to be set in stone, with trainer Mick Price having two options – the Group One Caufield Guineas over 1600 metres on October 13 or the Group One Coolmore Stakes over 1200 metres at Flemington on November 3.
“It’s a nice dilemma to have, but at some stage we have to make a call and set him on the right path for whatever race we decide will be his grand final.
“Being a son of Tavistock would lead you to believe the longer distance of the Caulfield Guineas is going to be the right race, but he is such a brilliant horse with a great action that it’s not hard to see him racing really well down the straight at Flemington over 1200.
“He is very closely related to the good sprinter Reilly Lincoln which has been placed in New Zealand’s major Group One sprints as well as the good sprinter Super Impressive so he might be best suited over a shorter trip,” said Grant Morgan.
Trainer Mick Price said Tavisan had come through his McKenzie Stakes run in great order and he would push on with a spring campaign.
“His Moonee Valley run was excellent and he confirmed what he has shown us at home. He’s a trouble-free colt and he’s a good winded horse who is sound and has a great attitude.
“He pulled up in fantastic order and he can now go to Flemington on September 15 when there are two races for him – the 1200 metres Danehill Stakes or the 1400 metres Exford Plate. He will be nominated for both and we will make a decision closer to race day.
“I like the horse a lot and think he has a bright future so we will give him every chance to get to Group One level this spring,” said Mick Price.
High class mare Savanna Amour is back in action on a preparation that may culminate in a Group One race in West Australia.
Savanna Amour went to the spelling paddock after a gritty fourth in the Group One Tatts Tiara at Doomben on June 23.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan said Savanna Amour was back in work with Meagher Racing at Eagle Farm.
“She came back into the stable in great order and has quickened up in training this week and will be ready for a jump out in a couple of weeks.
"She will then head to Melbourne and have her first run in the Schillaci Stakes on October 13," Morgan said.
"The Linlithgow Stks (1200m) on Derby Day at Flemington looks ideal and then she will head to Perth for the (Group One) Winterbottom Stakes (December 1)."
Morgan said the Winterbottom looked a perfect race for Savanna Amour and there was a strong form line suggesting she would be more than competitive.
"Viddora beat Fuhryk in last year's Winterbottom and we have a win over Fuhryk to our credit. I would expect the same type of field in the Winterbottom as last year which gives us confidence," Morgan said.
Morgan added that the likelihood of a firm track in Western Australia was also part of the appeal in the West.
"She races best on firm tracks. Doomben was very shifty after a heavy workload in the Winter and she didn't really let go in the Tatt's Tiara but still ran super at her Group 1 debut."
Before she heads south to Chris Meagher’s Mornington stable for the Melbourne spring carnival Savanna Amour will be a leading candidate for the Queensland Horse Of The Year Award on September 16.
“Savanna Amour must be a serious contender for Queensland Horse of the Year following a big 12 months during the 2017/18 season. She won the Group Three Cockram Stakes, Group Three How Now Stakes and Listed Hinkler Stakes and was fourth in a Group One,” said Grant Morgan.
The inaugural Ontrack Thoroughbreds golf shootout proved to be a tough competition with a handful of strokes covering the field.
The shootout was held at the Emerald Lakes Course at Carrara and it is going to be a monthly affair for Ontrack.
Managing Director Grant Morgan said last Friday’s opening contest proved to be an outstanding success.
“We had 10 teams of two players line up and there was some keen competition for the $500 Ontrack vouchers for the winning team members.
“At the end there were only six points from first to last, so it was a pretty keenly contested affair. Clint Vidler and his partner Tim Baz were the winners and hopefully they’re back next month to defend their title.
“The idea was to provide a bit of fun for Ontrack clients and newcomers and the nine hole Ambrose format is a perfect way to wrap up the working week.
“We even had a couple of young guys drive three hours from Kingaroy to take part so it obviously struck a chord with golfers and racing fans.
“The next Ontrack Shootout will be held at Emerald Lakes on Friday September 7 so if you would like a hit organise a team and check out the Ontrack website on www.getontrack.com.au.
“The great thing about the event is that the Ambrose format provides an opportunity for good golfers and those who are just hackers.
“It’s a chance to have a couple of hours of fun and then join the Ontrack team for a cold drink and something to eat at the beautiful Emerald Lakes course afterwards,” said Grant Morgan.
The 2019 Ontrack Hunter Valley Horse and Wine Tour will see first-hand the influence the ill-fated USA stallion Scat Daddy continues to have on world thoroughbred breeding.
Ontrack’s annual Hunter Valley tour runs from October 14-18 and as usual the powerhouse Coolmore Stud is one of six of the best studs on the programme.
This year Coolmore will parade two sons of its champion stallion Scat Daddy who died tragically in 2015 but continues to leave stakes winners around the world.
Scat Daddy shuttled to Coolmore’s Australian operation in 2008 and this year his sons No Nay Never and Caravaggio will stand there.
Ontrack Tours Grant Morgan said the influence Scat Daddy has had around the world is amazing.
“Scat Daddy made a solid start to his stud career and was the leading freshman sire of 2011 and third on the general two-year-old list, but it’s fair to say his career has gone to unbelievable levels following his death.
“Scat Daddy broke the North American record for the number of juvenile stakes winners in a season with nine. The previous record of eight had been set by his great-grandsire Storm Cat in 2002.
“At Royal Ascot in 2016, Scat Daddy had two winners from two runners, Caravaggio in the Coventry Stakes and Lady Aurelia in the Queen Mary Stakes and in 2017 at Royal Ascot he had Lady Aurelia win the King’s Stand, Caravaggio the Commonwealth Cup and Sioux Nation the Norfolk Stakes.
“Of course, this year his son Justify won the Triple Crown and it will be great to get to Coolmore and see his sons No Nay Never and Caravaggio.
“No Nay Never has made a great start to his Northern Hemisphere career with 16 first crop winners and is the leading European first season sire by winners and earnings.
“Caravaggio was an unbeaten Group One winner at two and followed that up with a dominant performance in Europe’s premier sprint for three-year-olds, the Group One Commonwealth Cup over 1200m at Royal Ascot.
“With No Nay Never and Caravaggio and Crown Winner American Pharoah returning, it’s clear Coolmore is giving Australian breeders access to three world-class shuttle stallions.
“It’s always a great time to get a first-hand look at such amazing stallions and the Coolmore operation,” said Grant Morgan”
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Eagle Farm stable Meagher Racing has made a flying start to the new season.
The stable saddled up former Victorian galloper New Horizons broke his maiden status in the hands of Tegan Harrison at the Sunshine Coast yesterday.
On Saturday, Divine Dice scored for Chris Meagher when leading all the way at the Gold Coast Turf Club.
Ontrack Thoroughbreds Managing Director Grant Morgan said it was good to see Meagher Racing off to a successful start to the new racing season.
“It was good to see Tegan team up with Meagher Racing because she’s riding a lot of work for the stable and has been riding many of the Ontrack horses in the stable.
“She’s a very talented rider and will ride Che Bella Vita for Ontrack and Meagher Racing at the Lismore meeting next week.
“Tegan’s also been doing plenty of work on our Spirit of Boom-Baroque Pearl in his first preparation with the Meagher stable at Eagle Farm and by reports he is going along nicely.
“It’s interesting to see Tegan riding the colt because she was the jockey when his half-sister Basara scored a brilliant first-up win as a two-year-old at Doomben last year.
“She also had a lot to do with Spirit of Boom’s half-brother Temple of Boom and won a Group 2 Victory Stakes on him when he beat his half-brother as well as running second in the Group One Doomben 10,000 behind Spirit of Boom.
New Horizons was a brave winner at the Sunshine Coast in his first Queensland race after stints with Darren Weir, John Thompson and John O’Shea.
He is a son of champion galloper Frankel from the Montjeu mare Miss Keller, a champion turf filly in Canada. She was a 625,000 guineas purchase by Waratah Thoroughbreds' Paul Fudge at the 2011 Tattersalls December Mare Sale.
My Dream Lover kicked off his Queensland career in style when he justified solid support with a Gold Coast Turf Club win.
The chestnut son of Excelebration resumed off a six month break when he had his first start for Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds and scored over 1300 metres in the hands of former Victorian jockey Ryan Maloney.
My Dream Lover had two starts as a colt last summer for Caufield trainer Mick Price but was spelled and gelded after those runs.
“Mick advised that he felt the horse would be better placed in Queensland,” said Ontrack Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“We always appreciate Mick’s objective assessment of horses and he’s proved to be extremely accurate in summing up where the best opportunities exist for each horse.
“Our aim is to get each horse to be competitive in city racing and sometimes that requires us moving horses away from the tougher Melbourne and Sydney company.
“Our Dream Lover has been a horse that needed time to mature and he has certainly strengthened and filled out since his first preparation.
“Toby Edmonds has done a great job with the horse and having him fit enough to win first-up over 1300 metres was a tremendous feat.
“It shouldn’t be under-estimated how difficult it is to score over 1300 metres off a six month break and Toby and his team deserve plenty of accolades for having the horse fit and he was aided by a superb ride.”
A $130,000 purchase by Ontrack from Widden Stud’s 2016 Inglis Classic Sale draft, My Dream Lover is a son of Excelebration, a son of Exceed and Excel who was Europe’s champion miler in 2012.
His dam, Miss Coolum was a winning two-year-old who is a half-sister to the 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking.
“There’s plenty of staying blood in his pedigree and it looks like he will be able to stretch out in trip without any issues.
“Toby Edmonds and Ryan Maloney have both pegged him as a horse who will be at his best at 1600 metres and further so we look forward to seeing where he ends up,” said Grant Morgan.
Congratulations to our winning owners:
Ontrack Miss Coolum Syndicate, Barbara and John Gilbert, Mark Ostermeyer, Garry Shanahan, Greg Bowers, Dr David Worthley, Leigh Matthews, Mick and Denise Power, Pennypacker Syndicate, Dan McHugh, Mark Snowden, Mick Hackett, L V Racing Syndicate.
December’s Hong Kong International Race Day may have its strongest Australian representation for several years.
Changed quarantine regulations following the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s new training centre in China has meant the Hong Kong fixture was not as popular for Australian horses as they now have to spend 180 days in a third country before returning to Australia.
However, that hasn’t stopped connections of two of Australia’s best sprinters pencilling in December’s $20 million HK Group One Longines Sprint over 1200 metres.
Newcastle trainer Ben Smith today announced that his classy mare In Her Time has been inoculated in readiness for travelling to Hong Kong for the big sprint.
Smith said In Her Time would run in The Everest at Randwick on October 13 and after that would have a light spring campaign in order to run in Hong Kong on December 9.
And Gerald Ryan trainer of another Everest runner Trapeze Artist has indicated that the horse’s owner and Ontrack Racing client Bert Vieira is keen to take on the Hong Kong race.
Vieira said the $13 million The Everest would be the first target before potentially taking on the world with trips to Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
“His main aim in the spring is The Everest and, depending on quarantine issues, maybe he’ll go to Hong Kong in December," Vieira said.
“The aim would then be to take him to Royal Ascot next year, but it’s entirely up to the horse."
Ontrack Racing will be heading to the Hong Kong International carnival again in 2018 with our tour departing on December 4.
Former Melbourne jockey Ryan Maloney has had some anxious moments in the start to his new career in Queensland before celebrating a win on Ancient Aztec at Ipswich.
Maloney gave Ancient Aztec ($1.70) a lovely run and the gelding hung on to score by a half neck to Love Struck ($11) in a maiden Plate 1200m on Wednesday.
After asking to see the race video, Ryan Wiggins, on Love Struck, fired in a protest alleging interference from the 250m.
Stewards dismissed the protest after finding while Ancient Aztec moved out it was not enough to alter the result.
It was Maloney's first day back riding after a four month-suspension for returning a positive swab to a banned drug in Melbourne.
During his enforced lay-off he answered a request from Gold Coast trainer Toby Edmonds to come north after the trainer's stable rider Jeff Lloyd indicated he was to soon retire.
Maloney has ridden more than 800 winners and won three races on boom sprinter Nature Strip earlier this year.
Edmonds said Maloney had the ability to be a major player in Queensland racing.
"Ryan has shown his commitment by moving here. He has been working hard and won a couple of trials for me of late," Edmonds said.
"Ancient Aztec will be improved by that run and Ryan needed to win to get going."
James Orman showed why he can challenge for the Brisbane jockeys' title with a clever win on Lady Bing.
Queensland racing has been dominated by Lloyd who has won the past three premierships.
He will retire before the end of the year and last season's runner up Robbie Fradd is riding in Mauritius.
Orman missed three months of last season after being injured in a fall at Caloundra in January.
He still finished 11th on the metropolitan premiership with 21 winners and rode 60 winners overall for the season.
The 22-year-old is also likely to get more rides from some top stables including Edmonds.
Orman was last at the 700m on Lady Bing in a slowly run race when he whipped around the field to grab the lead.
Lady Bing ($2.70) went on to win by a half length from Beach Baby ($6) in a maiden handicap 1350m.
Story by Mark Oberhardt of AAP.