Anticipation is building in the countdown to the first juvenile events of the season in Brisbane and Sydney this Saturday.
Its palpable at studs with stallions being represented for the first time at the races and Vinery is no different with Press Statement and Headwater.
Press Statement kicks off with Press Start in the TAB 2YO Fillies Plate (1000m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday morning (11:53 AM). She won a Gold Coast trial last month and trainer Greg Hickman is as confident as you can be in a field of debutantes.
“She’s obviously still learning and the owners are excited after that trial which she won by more than two lengths,” Hickman said this week. “She pulled up well and there’s plenty of scope for more improvement.”
Press Start is the third foal of Testa Rossa mare Rossarita who has already delivered Canterbury winner Altair (Zoustar) and unraced trial winner Messing (Dissident).
The Headwaters are bred to go early and a measure of that precocity is a trio of first-starters at Randwick.
In the Gimcrack Stakes Gr.3, Mark Newnham has the favourite Every Rose (Choisir) and speedy stablemate Ashra Jahre (Headwater) who wasn’t pressed by Josh Parr when she was placed in a Randwick trial last month.
Headwater has 2yo colts Lamelo and Mr Colorful up against Global Quest (More Than Ready) in the Breeders’ Plate Gr.3. They were also placed in their Randwick hit-outs while Global Quest was a very-impressive winner on the same morning for Chris Waller.
Visiting Queensland trainer Barry Baldwin is having a shot at the stumps with The Candy Man (Casino Prince) in the Epsom Hcp Gr.1 and Brisbane mare Baccarat Baby will also head south if she fires first-up in the Gallopers Sports Club Hcp (1200m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Baccarat Baby (Casino Prince) resumes after winning the Sunshine Coast Guineas Gr.3 in June. Trainer David Vandyke, who won the Caulfield Guineas Prelude Gr.3 with Alligator Blood (All Too Hard) last weekend, was pleased with her recent trial but admits she will be at a disadvantage over 1200m.
“It’s a big test but she looks to have come up this prep. She will join Alligator Blood if she runs well.”
Vandyke has earmarked the Tristarc Stakes Gr.2 at Caulfield and the Empire Rose Stakes Gr.1 at Flemington as her spring goals in Melbourne.
Vinery has an interest in four stakes races during Melbourne’s Group 1 meeting at Flemington starting with The Executioner (More Than Ready) in the Poseidon Stakes LR.
Dawn Dawn (All Too Hard) and Vinery’s classic-winning graduate Aristia (Lonhro) will clash in the Blazer Stakes Gr.2 and Dothraki (Mossman) will be peaking for the Gilgai Stakes Gr.2. He was only beaten a length and change in the straight-six feature last year.
Bonvicini (Myboycharlie) faces a steep rise in grade in the Edward Manifold Stakes Gr.2. She is coming off a very impressive victory in the Morphettville Guineas LR that ignited her preparation for the VRC Oaks Gr.1 next month.
In North America, the Chad Brown-trained More Than Ready stablemates Rushing Fall and Uni (GB) will be vying for more than the $400,000 purse in the First Lady Stakes Gr.1 at Keeneland on Saturday.
All 14 entrants are stakes winners and first past the post gains automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf Gr.1 at Santa Anita on November 2.
Rushing Fall is unbeaten on turf at Keeneland winning the 2017 Jessamine Stakes Gr.3, 2018 Appalachian Stakes Gr.2 & Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Gr.1 and this year’s Jenny Wiley Stakes Gr.1.
She was being set for the Ballston Spa Stakes Gr.2 at Saratoga in August but was sidelined with dehydration. “I’m still not exactly sure of what triggered it, but it took her a couple of days to bounce out of it,” Brown said. “Something internally wasn’t right but, thankfully, she’s training just as well as you could want now.”
Uni could prove her chief threat. A winner of the 2018 Matriarch Stakes Gr.1 at Del Mar, she was last seen rallying to finish third in the Fourstardave Hcp Gr.1 at Saratoga in August.
“She was unplaced at her only other run here a couple of years ago,” Brown recalled. “So maybe I’m concerned with her liking the turf course but she was a much younger horse then and I’m hoping she handles it better this time around.”
More Than Ready’s 2yo colt King Theo is aiming for a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Gr.1 berth in the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes Gr.1 at Keeneland. He is coming out of an 8-length maiden romp over 1400m at Gulfstream Park and will be suited by the step up to 1700m.
His dam Unicorn Girl (A P Five Hundred) won 19 races and her half-brother Bernie The Maestro (Bernstein) won 18 races!