Racing: Class on both sides of Ditch

By Mike Dillon

Heroic Valour (left) was too good in the Diamond last month but has an additional 200m in the Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes tomorrow. Photo / Trish Dunell
Heroic Valour (left) was too good in the Diamond last month but has an additional 200m in the Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes tomorrow. Photo / Trish Dunell

Class everywhere tomorrow - on both sides of the Tasman.

In the A$3 million Doncaster can Winx win her ninth straight race and finally get trainer Chris Waller to call her a champion.

Or can talented New Zealanders Turn Me Loose and Volkstok'n'barrell get an edge on her.

And at home at Awapuni class juveniles Heroic Valour, Wyndspelle and Sassy 'N' Smart - all of whom could themselves be in Australia next season - do battle in the group one Courtesy Ford Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes.

If Winx can win the Doncaster - and bad luck seems her main danger - she will become the shortest priced ($1.80) Doncaster winner since Valicare paid the same $1.80 in 1926.

The shortest price in the 90 years between was when Sunline paid $2.10 in the Doncaster of 1999.

Winx appears to have an almost invitation weight of 56.5kg, minuscule for the winner of $5.1 million, and Turn Me Loose has to give her half a kilo.

Volkstok'n'barrell is in receipt of 4kg and will be ridden at the 52.5kg by Singapore-based Corey Brown.

The flight taking Volkstok'n'barrell to Sydney was delayed 24 hours mid-week, but co-trainer Chris Gibbs said that won't be an issue.

"He's such a laid-back dude he could get off the aircraft and go straight to Randwick and race. Nothing stresses him."

The final 200m of the Manawatu Sires will be interesting. Heroic Valour clung on to narrowly beat the fast finishing Wyndspelle in the 1200m Diamond Stakes at Auckland, but to be fair to him he'd worked hard early over a tough section of the Ellerslie track and was dashed at late.

The additional 200m this time would appear to favour Wyndspelle, but the unbeaten Heroic Valour is a true racehorse with enormous strength for a youngster and absolute determination.

"His work lately has been first class," said co-trainer Jamie Richards.

And don't forget Heroic Valour's stablemate Sassy 'N' Smart. She was slow away in the Sires at Ellerslie and after settling impossibly well back she rattled home to be sixth, just 2.5 lengths from the colt. Her final sectionals were excellent.

She is far from perfect in the barriers and can sometimes be slow away, but is just as capable of jumping out with the leaders. If she does that she will be right in the finish.

Wyndspelle has had just the three races so must be improving as he goes. He is a very determined finisher and like the two stablemates has drawn a decent barrier.

Gold Rush, a filly by So You Think, surprised a few in keeping going in the closing stages to win the Matamata Breeders Stakes after looking beaten 300m out. She has drawn out a fraction and her chances will probably depend on where she ends up at the end of 300m.

Luna Rossa is a chance for at least some of the money after her gallant Trentham victory last start.

What's The Story and Tavago head the New Zealand chances in the A$2 million Australian Derby tomorrow.

What's The Story was huge in the Derby at Ellerslie getting into a challenging position only in the final 220m and simply lunging at the winner Rangipo. He is still learning and if the track is dry at Randwick tomorrow - he is not as good in the wet - he is right in contention although most have the name of the favourite Tarzino on the trophy already.

Given his interrupted preparation Tavago did well to be finishing off our Derby strongly in sixth place. Tommy Berry has the ride tomorrow and Blake Shinn rides What's The Story.

- NZ Herald

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