The Sunday Afternoon 'Finish On'

The NSW grading policy is undergoing rework yet, with the back-end programming changes (overseen by Racing and Wagering WA), change is glacial.

Peter Davis

25 October 2020

IN THE MIX

The NSW grading policy is undergoing rework yet, with the back-end programming changes (overseen by Racing and Wagering WA), change is glacial.

Proper (and effective) use of the NSW policy hamstrings many trainers yet the frustration of trainers is seen clearly with a quick glance at the Bulli fields on Tuesday.

Michelle Sultana, for example, nominated only three dogs for the meeting – all over 400m – and the trio will clash in race four.

Drink Beer and the speedy Unison are each grade four dogs in a 4th & 5th grade event, the other being grade five. While trainers certainly should understand the grade of dogs are at any time, it would be nice if the OzChase system would allow insight into the order of choice before noms close.

If able to view ‘nominations’, trainers would get the opportunity to change distances or omit a dog from a race where multiple noms will be problematic.

LOSING INTEREST

First starter Bondi Bobby was unwanted in betting at Capalaba when on debut on Friday yet his waywardness was hard to miss.

A handsome white and fawn dog, Bondi Bobby was always well back in the 366m dash won by $1.55 shot Bit Of Sauce and he incurred the wrath of stewards following his saunter up the hill.

More energetic earlier in his assignment (run only minutes earlier at Wauchope) was Wicked Red.

He drove to a clear lead mid-race but lost interest in proceedings and was placed third behind Dashing Display in a respectable 21.99s for the 384m.

Stewards again acted decisively but that did nothing to temper those who supported the short-priced favourite.

Less critical in a post-race sense were stewards regarding the opening contest at Dubbo on the same evening.

Wood Burn prevailed by a head after Leumeah Milla led clearly to the home turn. Wood Burn eased and made heavy contact with Leumeah Milla in final stages yet she was only slapped with a failing to pursue the lure infringement [GAR 69A(1)] yet the head on vision is compelling and head/muzzle contact was apparent.

Wood Burn won the 318m scamper but was deemed to have failed to pursue the lure! Me thinks the incorrect application of the rules is in place – if this is not a marring incident, I need to get to OPSM tomorrow.

And that’s why people get frustrated with (apparent) inconsistent application of racing rules (week-to-week and track-to-track).

YOUNG GUN

Having drawn box seven in the Group 1 Hume Cup Final at The Meadows on November 2, Zipping Zeek is far from well positioned yet the expat-NSW chaser, the fastest qualifier at 34.10s, is a live winning chance.

One of three recent additions to Ned McDonald’s team, ‘Zeek’ will be the young trainer’s first starter at the elite level.

“Ned had always been dead keen to be a full-time trainer and Fiona and I are delighted that he’s in with a chance to win his first group race,” Martin said.

“Ï’ve known Ned all his life and he’s certainly got the drive to be successful at the (training) caper.

“He got Zeek, Junior and Sultan and I’m hopeful he can handle a few more in the New Year.”

A WIN FOR THE AGES

A Group 1 quality field assembled for Geelong Cup on Friday and Simon Told Helen’s all-the-way win was poignant given that trainer David Burnett had lost litter brother Who Told Stevie only days earlier.

The win pushed Simon Told Helen’s earnings to $697,635 and his next outing is surely going to be the Topgun Sprint on November 7.

He’ll again clash with many of his Geelong Cup rivals but, this time if successful, $150,000 will be the reward.

One Topgun absentee will be Million Dollar Chase winner Handsome Prince. Connections have elected to bypass the select event given his lack of experience at the Broadmeadows venue and he’ll head to a Melbourne Cup campaign.

ON FIRE

Much like the Geelong Cup, Sunday’s $25,000 to-the-winner Goulburn Cup field was top shelf.

Despite lowering the track record in his Tuesday heat win, Got To Casino started at better than each way odds given that Ad Astra had secured box eight and was perfectly positioned.

But it was Ad Astra’s talented kennelmate Wow which reigned supreme. The pair cleared away from their rivals soon after the start as Sovereign King (box four)  stumbled badly, Got To Casino (five) dwelt and outsider Firestone Alley (seven) missed away.

Persistent rain had not disaffected the track condition with Wow scoring in 24.33s, just .04s outside the mark established by Got To Casino.

Though beaten, Ad Astra broke the first and sectional records for the 440m trip and his effort was outstanding.

One race earlier, More Sauce scored in 19.41s over 350m – just .06s outside the record. The son of Keybow bettered the first sectional record (6.31s).

He’s now won four of five starts and short-course racing won’t be his long suit. More Sauce’s high speed and strength is a lethal combination.

UPSIDE: With his youngest pups rising 12 months of age, breeders will not wait long for reports on the relative quality of Zipping Garth’s progeny. He’s attracted some quality matrons and expectation is high.

DOWNSIDE: Just what is going on with timing mechanisms at NSW tracks? Dubbo had attended to issues, Bathurst and Richmond (let’s hope) have resolved week-to-week malfunctions and, on Saturday night, WP joined the fray! Let’s hope this does not become a pandemic.