SEEL OF APPROVAL
WITH outstanding mares Daysee Doom and Dixie Blossoms being readied for their 10th clash in the Golden Pendant, their trainer Ron Quinton is hoping to build some stable momentum with emerging three-year-old Seel The Deel at Kembla Grange on Tuesday.
Seel The Deel, a placegetter at his only two starts, is poised to break through in a Maiden Handicap (1500m).
A provincial maiden is a far cry from the level that Daysee Doom and Dixie Blossoms will be racing at Rosehill on Saturday but as Quinton said: “There are a lot of maidens and they have to start somewhere.”
RAY THOMAS’S KEMBLA GRANGE BEST BETS
BEST BET: SEMPER FIDELIS (Race 5, No.8)
Semper Fidelis was placed in five of her first seven starts then resumed with a soft win over 1300m at Hawkesbury. She is drawn to get the right run again and getting out to 1500m is ideal.
VALUE BET: PICK OF THE DAY (RACE 3, NO.7)
The impressive winner of a Goulburn maiden last start is up against some tough rivals here but represents value in an open race. She has good tactical speed and can negate her awkward barrier early. If Pick Of The Day can control the tempo and get away with a couple of cheap sectionals, she will be hard to run down.
Race 4: 1, 2, 3, 12
Race 5: 1, 8
Race 6: 9
Race 7: 1, 4, 5, 10.
JOCKEY TO FOLLOW
Corey Brown has six good rides at the provincial meeting – Charm Offensive (R1), Fifteen Rounds (R2), Kaapfever (R3), Salon Miss (R4), Provocative Man (R6) and Alnaas (R7).
TRAINER TO FOLLOW
Gwenda Markwell always has a strong presence at her home track meetings and today is no different. She could bookend the meeting with Charm Offensive in the opener and Falster in the final race.
Seel The Deel, a three-year-old by triple crown winner (It’s A) Dundeel, made his debut at Kembla Grange late last year and ran second behind Sydney Blue in a juvenile race over 1400m.
He then came back to 1300m and took on older horses at Newcastle when closing late for third to Primitivo.
Seel The Deel is again racing older horses but the step up to 1500m will suit and Quinton pointed out the gelding had finally drawn a barrier (two).
“In both his races, he has drawn the outside and we’ve had to go back early before making nice ground late,’’ Quinton said.
“We won’t be changing his pattern of racing too much but hopefully from the good draw he can settle a little closer.
“His two runs have been sound, he’s bred to appreciate getting out over further and he has trained on nicely.
“We’re hoping for a change of luck. We have had a lot of placings lately.’’
If Seel The Deel can break through, it will provide Quinton with a timely confidence boost ahead of his stable stars Daysee Doom and Dixie Blossoms renewing their keen rivalry in the Group 2 $400,000 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
The two mares are now six-year-olds but they have been flying the Quinton stable flag in feature races for two seasons now.
Daysee Doom has won nine of her 23 starts, including the Group 1 Coolmore Classic last autumn, to amass $1.19 million prizemoney.
Dixie Blossoms has won six from 25 attempts. She has twice been placed at Group 1 level and has earned more than $950,000.
Quinton’s talented duo have met nine times previously.
Dixie Blossoms holds a 5-4 lead in those head-to-head clashes.
But Daysee Doom edged out Dixie Blossoms in an epic Golden Pendant last year, giving Quinton his second win in the race. He also won the race with Peeping in 2015.
Daysee Doom ran only sixth to Invincibella when resuming in the Sheraco Stakes earlier this month but Quinton said the mare had no luck from a wide barrier on the heavy track.
“She has come through that run OK, which is the main thing,’’ the Hall of Famer said.
Dixie Blossoms, runner-up in the Golden Pendant the past two years, was exceptional first-up when a very close third to Comin’ Through in the Tramway Stakes.
“I thought Dixie ran very well in her first-up race, she’s going great,’’ he said.
“I’m happy with both mares going into the Golden Pendant.’’
MARE CAN MAKE WEBSTER’S DAY
PAT Webster’s spring carnival ambitions for triple Group 1 winner Happy Clapper are in ruins but it is the very nature of the sport that the trainer is straight back to business with Pick Of The Day at Kembla Grange.
Happy Clapper, the reigning Epsom Handicap-Doncaster Mile hero, bled from both nostrils when unplaced in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Royal Randwick last Saturday, incurring an automatic three-month racing ban.
Webster said Happy Clapper was on a course of antibiotics before going out to the spelling paddock later this week.
“He’s coming home to the farm to spell, we will look after him and then get him ready for the autumn,’’ Webster said.
“I can get him back to where he was. I got him over a tendon injury and I can get him over this.
“I’m sure there is another big race in him next autumn.’’
Meanwhile, Webster has improving mare Pick Of The Day poised for back-to-back wins in the Class 1 Handicap (1500m).
Pick Of The Day, a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, was impressive at Goulburn last start, leading throughout to win her maiden by nearly three lengths.
“Her first-up run was good (third at Newcastle), then she won well last start,’’ Webster said.
“This race (today) looks a bit harder than Goulburn but she is improving with racing.’’
Pick Of The Day has some worthwhile opposition, including the consistent Kathmandu, Kaapfever, Cool And Neat, Nai’a, Twilighter and Velocano, but Webster believes his mare will be competitive again.
“She has drawn out a bit (barrier eight) but hopefully she can get across and either sit outside the leader or take up the lead herself,’’ he said.
“My son, Wayne, was happy with her work on Saturday morning so the way she has trained on, there is no reason she won’t run well again.’’
INSIDE MAIL WITH SHAYNE O’CASS
Charm Offensive is one of two Gwenda Markwell-trained runners, this one has drawn the outside alley and shares topweight with his stablemate. His two runs this time in have both contained merit – and he was very heavily backed in town last start. He’s third-up and looks ready and able to peak in this grade. Buoyancy is a son of Pure Energy, who was runner-up to Miss Finland in the Golden Slipper. The Godolphin colt’s best trial was his last one. Go well. Blevio has always shown a bit of talent and can figure off a nice trial.
BET: Charm Offensive win
Starry is a Peter and Paul Snowden-trained filly who had trialled extremely well ahead of her narrow but determined win at Newcastle in a 900m race. Likely to be better for the outing and she looks city class so is nicely placed in this kind of race. Fifteen Rounds is a cleverly-named colt being a half brother to Sugar Bay Leonard. Like him, this horse is part owned by form guru Ron Dufficy and trained by Joe Pride. Won on debut here back in May. Major player. Sebring Express has placed in both Kembla runs and goes fresh.
BET: Starry win, exacta 8 to beat 4, quinella 4,8
Nai’a has drawn the outside barrier but Kembla is a spacious track with a long straight. This daughter of Lonhro has a solid record of one win and four placings from her six starts. She was getting closer with every stride when a neck third at Wyong over 1300m first-up. The step to 1500m is ideal. Kathmandu is a sparingly raced five-year-old who has a win and six placings from seven starts. Placed at both runs at this track and is crying out for the 1500m now third-up. Pick Of The Day was emphatic winning at Goulburn last start.
BET: Nai’a win, quinella 2,4
Shuffle Up is a brother to Group 2-placed Rekindled Power, himself a three-quarter-brother to Cox Plate placegetter Rekindled Interest. This Richard Freedman-trained gelding has his third career run today, his first two over 1200m and 1350m have been most encouraging. The trip is perfect and he may be able to take advantage of his soft draw. Generates each-way appeal at the odds. Netherlands has had a freshen-up since his first-up failure at Newcastle. Much better than that, he shapes as the big improver here. Seel The Deel has been terrific in his two starts.
BET: Shuffle Up each-way, box quinella/box trifecta 1,2,3,14
Semper Fidelis was $2 into $1.80 first-up and won accordingly. This daughter of High Chaparral out of a Danehill mare has always promised a fair bit but had been quite costly to follow for win backers. The way she won in an easier race at Hawkesbury indicates that she may have turned the corner now. Jason Coyle’s horses run well anywhere but especially here at Kembla and you would think his pair Speed Hero and Gravitate can make their presence felt late. Tycoon Mar is capable, Nacho Libre is the value.
BET: Box trifecta 1,4,6,8,11
Veranes has the superior form to her rivals. The Chris Waller-trained filly was competitive in two stakes races in Brisbane during the winter carnival. Her first-up run behind Prophet’s Thumb and subsequent winner Lucky Helmet at Wyong was a ripper. She will appreciate getting out to 1300m. Stablemate Stardome is a big talent but no good thing to start. Shinju has been a beaten favourite at both runs this time in but can atone. Battle Plane is a knockout runner at odds.
BET: Veranes win, Battle Plane place
Godolphin can keep the tally of winners ticking over here via Ligulate who has been quite good in everything he has done thus far. The son of Domesday finished strongly and with plenty of desire to win here two starts back. Made up plenty of ground late when three lengths off the winner at Randwick after that over this same trip. The Anthony and Edward Cummings pair Rockafella and Sky Boy are in the mix.
BET: Ligulate win