Racing: Allez Eagle ready to soar

By Mike Dillon

Talented Waikato winner will bypass Queensland for some easier pickings in Sydney.

Allez Eagle is on his way to Sydney after winning at Te Rapa on Saturday. Photo / Thinkstock
Allez Eagle is on his way to Sydney after winning at Te Rapa on Saturday. Photo / Thinkstock

It's a tragedy Allez Eagle was hurt mid-season.

Otherwise, by now he would have his hoofprint firmly on one of the classic trophies.

The injury meant the talented 3-year-old got too far off the stakemoney pace to make it into the Queensland features and will now have to settle instead for a medium-lucrative couple of races in Sydney.

Watch out the opposition in those. Allez Eagle treated his Te Rapa opponents with contempt on Saturday, despite sweating up badly behind the barriers, racing too keenly and being left three wide early.

This is a horse with a real future.

His trainer Tony Pike will be busy in the next few weeks. Pike's 3-year-old filly Rock Diva resumed from a two-month break with an excellent sixth in the $175,000 The Roses at Doomben on Saturday.

The filly was up against it from her outside barrier, which meant Leith Innes had only one option - to go back to the tail, often suicidal on the tight, turning Doomben circuit.

Rock Diva made good ground late to be 4.8 lengths from stylish winner Arabian Gold. "She'll improve fitness-wise from that," predicts Pike.

Popeye Braggins raced as if he was looking, as predicted, for 1600m when finishing just behind the placegetters at Te Rapa.

Surely stewards missed something when they failed to insist Mahanadi satisfactorily school in front of them before being allowed to next start in a steeplechase.

Mahanadi started the $1.90 favourite in his steeplechasing debut in Saturday's $50,000 Warren Storm Waikato Steeples and from the first obstacle jumped as if he had never previously seen a big fence.

Trainer Kevin Myers was not on course and caretaker trainer Joanne Rathbone told stewards, when questioned, that Mahanadi had indeed shown aptitude at home jumping the big fences and had jumped the fences through the middle of the Te Rapa course when he arrived there on Friday.

Rathbone is an entirely credible voice, but stewards are there for one reason and one only - integrity and therefore punter confidence.

Rathbone assured stewards Mahanadi would be better at his next appearance.

Fine, but don't punters deserve the more official assurance from stewards who have witnessed that happen for themselves at an enforced trial.

Jeff McVean knows a bit about a horse, having on multiple occasions represented Australia as an equestrian Olympian.

But the now Cambridge-based horseman admits Palemo got the better of him.

McVean and Douglas Duncan went to nearly six figures to secure Palermo as a yearling, looking for a classic horse.

"I couldn't get him to settle, so I sent him to Kevin Myers," said McVean after Palemo won Saturday's big steeples.

Palemo was well ridden by Matt Gillies, who denied Troy Harris a second win on the card as an emerging jumps jockey.

Troy Harris' enormous talent in the saddle is sadly missed on the flat, but at least there is a winter glimpse of it in the jumping game.

No one is riding better at present than Rory Hutchings.

Four winners out of six rides at Te Rapa on Saturday as he was beaten half a length on Orion in the last start.

It would probably be five out of six if he had the Orion ride over again.

Just Got Home defied his name when he scored a pretty comfortable, even if not runaway, debut hurdle win at Te Rapa.

He has always looked good in the wet and that won't be his last jumping victory.

Runner-up El Soldato, also on debut, stuck on pretty well for second and third-placed Brave Buccaneer jumped fluently in front until he botched one late. He'll win one soon.

I'm Isaac might be rising 12, but that may not stop trainer Karen

Fursdon winning a few steeplechases with him. His debut jumping victory on Saturday was stylish.

- NZ Herald

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