Racing: Mongolian Wolf licks plate field

By Mike Dillon

Darren Weir (centre, blue) aboard Mongolian Wolf takes out the Frank Packer Plate at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / AAP
Darren Weir (centre, blue) aboard Mongolian Wolf takes out the Frank Packer Plate at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / AAP

Mongolian Wolf proved a critical point when he won Saturday's A$150,000 group three Frank Packer Plate over 2000m at Randwick.

He underlined, yet again, that suddenly New Zealand horses are as good as their Australian counterparts.

No, we don't have a Winx, nor a Chautauqua, but then we never have had a Chautauqua because from breeding speed for multiple generations, Australians now have the world's best sprinters. But we have better stayers than Australia.

Consider this: New Zealand trained or bred 3-year-olds have won the past five Australian Derbies, the pat four Australian Oaks, five of the past seven Queensland Oaks, and five of the past eight Victoria Derbies.

That is a sensational statistic and the clear-cut performances of Gingernuts, Jon Snow and Bonneval in Sydney in recent weeks underlines that the winning percentage is not about to change any year soon.

Mongolian Wolf was purchased by Australian Bloodstock from New Zealand only two weeks ago.

He was basically unheralded when he had his first Australian start on Saturday, but punters latched on to his third to Gingernuts in the Avondale Guineas.

His new trainer, Australia's record-breaking Darren Weir, would take no credit from this win.

"I can't take all the credit, I've only had him for two weeks. Murray Baker had him before me so big thanks to Murray for the order that the horse came over to me in.

"Luke [Murrell] and Jamie [Lovett] pick the right horses - they get it right more than they get it wrong and they're getting the rewards.

"They earmarked this horse three or four weeks ago. They said we're going to try to buy him and he'll be a great Queensland Derby horse.

The way he won today you'd have to say he's on track for that."

Winning jockey Brenton Avdulla had this to say. "You are full of confidence when riding a Darren Weir-trained horse."

If you need further evidence our horses can measure up, look at Untamed Diamond's dramatic last-stride win at Randwick on Saturday. Now part of Richard Collett's Warwick Farm satellite stable, Untamed Diamond looked extremely promising in 10 New Zealand starts with Collett, but was not threatening to be a worldbeater. In eight starts in Sydney in the last six months before Saturday, the 4-year-old mare more than doubled the $60,000 she won with three New Zealand victories and pocketed close to $90,000 on Saturday.

This is not suggesting most promising horses should be sent to be trained in Australia, but you can see the day coming when a trainer will have a promising young horse, sort out a A$31,000 midweek maiden across the ditch - of which there are many - and possibly stay for one more race and return home. There are A$40,000 one-win races at Wyong on Wednesday and A$50,000 maiden races for 3-year-old fillies and one for colts and geldings at Canterbury today. We've seen a significant number of horses here this season that could win those races.

Fair dinkum cobber, aren't we all sick of the cobalt issue.

Racing Victoria has dropped a bombshell by announcing it will appeal the "not guilty" cobalt charges against high-profile Melbourne trainers Danny O'Brien and Mark Cavanagh. Ridiculous. Why not also accuse them of the hole in the ozone layer and the Afghanistan war and be done with it.

Both trainers admit they have sent themselves broke defending the original charges. Shouldn't it stop there?

Or is this a ploy to minimise the litigation O'Brien and Cavanagh intend bringing against RV.

No jockey should ever be above suspicion, but it was a bit tough quizzing man-of-the-moment Hugh Bowman at Randwick on Saturday.

Shortly after Bowman finished second on the favourite Invader in the A$500,000 Champagne Stakes, chief stipe Marc Van Gestel questioned Bowman about his tactics.

"After jumping from barrier one, how did you find yourself three off at the turn?" Bowman said the race did not pan out as he planned and made it clear to stewards he did not want to be on the back of Blake Shinn's mount Ace High, a horse he considered to have limited prospects.

"I thought if I get one off it would be an advantageous position."

He told stewards he thought he'd landed that spot outside Craig Williams' mount One More Honey but when Glyn Schofield decided he wanted to be on the rail aboard Whispered Secret, Williams allowed his mount to drift out leaving Bowman on a limb. "Obviously if I knew the race would be run the way it was I would have ridden it differently."

Stewards took no action, but in the next race, the A$650,000 All Aged Stakes, they suspended Bowman for six city meetings for careless riding on well-fancied La Romain.

- NZ Herald

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