de Kabat Racing Research

Specialist in statistical research for the Thoroughbred industry



2018 Melbourne Cup Picks

Melbourne Cup 2018

Race 7 – 3:00PM Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200 METRES) Times displayed in local time of Race Meeting

Of $7,050,000.1st $4,000,000, 2nd $1,000,000, 3rd $500,000, 4th $300,000, 5th $200,000, 6th $150,000, 7th $150,000, 8th $150,000, 9th $150,000, 10th $150,000, 11th $150,000, 12th $150,000

Prize money contribution totalling 2% will be directed to jockey and equine welfare prior to distribution GROUP 1

Handicap, Minimum Weight 49kg, Apprentices cannot claim.

Track Name: Main Track Type: Turf Track Condition: Good 4

Field Limit: 24


Top Six: Avilius, Yucatan, Best Solution, Finche, Runaway, Rostropovich


No          Last 10  Horse    Trainer  Jockey  Barrier  WeightPenalty

1              x3195x1111         BEST SOLUTION (IRE)      Saeed Bin Suroor              Pat Cosgrave      6              57.5kg

Caulfield Cup winner with top weight. Last start winners have an excellent record. Strong record overseas, deserves the top weight and is probably lightly weighted for his race record. Possibility.

2              x512433x43         THE CLIFFSOFMOHER (IRE)          Aidan O’Brien    Ryan Moore       9              56.5kg

Third in Caulfield Cup last start. A good run. O’Brien has an unsuccessful record of using pacemakers in this race, so tactics will depend on whether he continues to do this. Hasn’t won for a while, and they’ve put a lugging bit on him for the first time. Gear change is a concern. Not for me.

3              57x150x11x         MAGIC CIRCLE (IRE)         Ian Williams        Corey Brown      17           56kg

Last start winner in Europe in lower company. Very hard to win without racing in Australia first.

4              5x211250x0         CHESTNUT COAT (JPN)  Yoshito Yahagi   Yuga Kawada     4              55.5kg

Jarred up in the Caulfield Cup. Will do better on softer ground if it rains today, but his form isn’t great.

5              1796x4341x         MUNTAHAA (IRE)            John Gosden      Jim Crowley        13           55.5kg

Bred for the wet. Last start winner in Europe in a traditionally good form race. Would rather see him run here first.

6              144x1132x0         SOUND CHECK (GER)      Michael Moroney            Jordan Childs      16           55.5kg

No good in the Caulfield Cup. Ok form in Europe prior.

7              x6731x7694         WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)    Chris Waller        Ben Melham      18           55.5kg

The people’s horse. This wonderful sound old gelding has been knocking around Australia for ages. As a 10yo, it’s hard to see him winning. Place chance.

8              5462×02410         ACE HIGH            David Payne       Tye Angland       22           55kg                       110

Attempting to win the VRC Derby/Melbourne Cup double, only ever achieved by Phar Lap and Efficient (2006). Ran poorly last start.

9              1x69x2112x         MARMELO (GB) Hughie Morrison              Hugh Bowman  10           55kg

Another European trying to win the Cup without having a run here first. Ran 9th last year and will do about the same again.

10           3326×11114         AVILIUS (GB)      James Cummings             Glyn Schofield   11           54.5kg   1.5kg

Same lead up as Green Moon and Efficient (same owner). Excellent fourth behind Winx in the Cox Plate, and in winning form before that. One of the best chances.

11           2x436013x1         YUCATAN (IRE)  Aidan O’Brien    James McDonald              23           54.5kg   2.5kg

This is the horse O’Brien wants to win. That’s why he has two other runners  – to set up the tactics for this one. Yucatan is beautifully bred being by champion sire Galileo from Breeders Cup mile winner Six Perfections. He has mixed European form and won very impressively in his first Australian start. Deserved favourite.

12           56164×5266         AUVRAY (FR)      Richard Freedman           Tommy Berry     1              54kg

Can stay. Won’t mind the wet if it rains. Mixed form. Meh.

13           13x655x1x3         FINCHE (GB)       Chris Waller        Zac Purton          15           54kg

Okay form in France. Third in the Geelong Cup in his first Aussie run should be good form with the strong pace set in that race. A place chance.

14           x5x0x08030         RED CARDINAL (IRE)        Darren Weir       Damien Oliver   5              54kg

Mixes his form. Hard to like.

15           21x05x4059         VENGEUR MASQUE (IRE)              Michael Moroney            Patrick Moloney               2              54kg

Not in good enough form.

16           7829×79401         VENTURA STORM (IRE)  David & B Hayes & T Dabernig    Mark Zahra         7              54kg

Last start winner but form behind that is mixed. Maybe.

17           2188632×31         A PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB)             Charlie Fellowes               Michael Walker 20           53kg

Last start winner. Going okay in lower grades. Place chance.

18           1x5x005770         NAKEETA (GB)   Iain Jardine         Regan Bayliss     3              53kg

Out of form. No.

19           4513×01473         SIR CHARLES ROAD          Lance O’Sullivan & Andrew Scott               Dwayne Dunn    14           53kg

Consistent in lower grades. Should be in the top six.

20           58402×0080         ZACADA (NZ)     Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman             Damian Lane      24           53kg

As much as it would be cool for Zabeel to get another Cup winner, Zacada isn’t going well enough at the moment.

21           231130×341         RUNAWAY          Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott   Stephen Baster 12           52kg       1.5kg

Light weight chance who won the Geelong Cup last start. A grinding tough staying type who should lead and will stick on. Good chance.

22           11113×6327         YOUNGSTAR      Chris Waller        Craig Williams    8              51.5kg

Similar path to Ethereal, but not quite showing as much as you’d like. Maybe with the light weight, depending on tactics.

23           11x24112x           CROSS COUNTER (GB)    Charlie Appleby Kerrin McEvoy   19           51kg

One of the two European three-year-olds (4YO to southern hemisphere time). Hasn’t been seen here yet, which is a negative, but has strong form back in Europe. A light weight chance depending on how well he’s travelled here.

24           3×41922515         ROSTROPOVICH (IRE)     Aidan O’Brien    Wayne Lordan   21           51kg

An interesting one. Fifth in Cox Plate behind Winx is solid form, and was a winner in Europe before that. The last three-year-old to place was Nothin’ Leica Dane (who was a spring 3YO, this guy is nearly 4YO). Place chance depending on stable tactics. I expect Cliffs of Moher will lead with a strong pace so Rostropovich and Yucatan can run on from mid-field.

Sire Title Trends

Written in March 2016 for Bluebloods, this article looks at the trends in the Australian Sires Title.


Find it here.

Todman Statue

At Rosehill Racecourse stands a statue of Todman, the inaugural Golden Slipper winner. Bred at Baramul Stud in 1954 by Stanley Wootton, Todman was the first named foal from the minor winner Oceana (Colombo – Orama, by Diophon), and from the third crop of imported galloper Star Kingdom (Stardust – Impromptu, by Concerto). Oceana had eight foals, and all were by Star Kingdom, including Noholme (born 1956, winner of the Gr.1 Cox Plate, Epsom, Champagne, All-Aged, successful sire), Shifnal (born 1960, minor winner and successful sire), Faringdon (born 1961, minor winner and sire), and Greatness (born 1964, unraced dam of stakes winner Hamden).

Typical of the Star Kingdoms, Todman was a small, nuggety type of horse standing only 15.1hh, but the pocket rocket supposedly had a huge stride length; 26 feet 2 inches (nearly 8m) when he was at full gallop. The colt had attitude to burn, and his trainer Maurice McCarten once compared Todman to his brother Noholme, saying “If you invited both horses to afternoon tea you would find Noholme the perfect gentleman – punctual, gracious and always willing to please. Todman, on the other hand, would arrive late and without apology would eat greedily, drink everything within reach, and would inevitably knock a table over stretching for more. And when he had finally had enough he would then sit back and look to start an argument.”

The full article is in the March 2018 issue of Bluebloods magazine.


Bluebloods Author Page

Bluebloods magazine have created an author page for my articles.

You can view it hereCapture.

Inglis Easter 2018

The annual Breeding & Racing Easter edition is out now. Click hereInglis_Easter_2018.

Inglis Melbourne Yearlings 2018 Feature

The Breeding & Racing feature for the Inglis Melbourne Yearling Sale of 2018 has been released. Check it out here:

Magic Millions 2018 Magazine

The annual Magic Millions 2018 Gold Coast Yearling Sale Magazine is out now, and it includes vendor profiles written by Renee Geelen.


The online link is here:



2017 Melbourne Cup for once a year punters

Another year of layman’s tips for the racing novices to take to the office sweep.

almandin 2016 melbourne cup herald sun photo

Almandin wins the 2016 Melbourne Cup (photo: Herald Sun)

Official stuff:

Race 7 – 3:00PM Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200 METRES) Times displayed in local time of Race Meeting

Of $6,000,000.1st $3,600,000, 2nd $900,000, 3rd $450,000, 4th $250,000, 5th $175,000, 6th $125,000, 7th $125,000, 8th $125,000, 9th $125,000, 10th $125,000

Prize money contribution totalling 2% will be directed to jockey and equine welfare prior to distribution.

Field Limit: 24


My top six:  Rekindling, Boom Time, Almandin, Humidor, Johanees Vermeer, Single Gaze


1: Hartnell (GB) 7YO bay gelding Authorized – Debonnaire, by Anabaa

57.5kg      Barrier: 12

Record: 36:11-11-2. Prizemoney:$4,461,499 Prev form: x2822x1229

LS: 14.10.17 – 9 of 11 MRC Caulfield S. Gr.1 2,000m

Dist: 4:1-0-1

Owners: Godolphin

Colours: Royal Blue, Fly Emirates Logo

Trainer: James Cummings (Flemington)

Jockey: Damian Lane


A bridesmaid, Hartnell has been beaten by Winx, Humidor and NZ HOTY Bonneval in his last five starts. Hard to have with top weight, and last start poor performance. Winner over the distance in 2014 at Listed level


  1. Almandin (GER) 8YO bay gelding Monsun – Anatola, by Tiger Hill

56.5kg   Barrier: 14

Record: 15:6-4-1     Prizemoney: $4,262,558 Prev form: 665111×214

LS: 7.10.17 – 4 of 10 Bart Cummings Gr.3 2,500m

Dist: 1:1-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mrs & Mrs L J Williams, B N Singer, P Mehrten, A & B Green, J & Mrs F Ingham, V Sammartino & M Gudinski

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Frankie Dettori


Last year’s winner in excellent form. Will be one of the favourites.


  1. Humidor (NZ) 5YO bay gelding Teofilo – Zalika, by Zabeel

56kg       Barrier: 13

Record: 21:6-7-2     Prizemoney: $2,459,915 Prev form: 212×681352

LS: 28.10.17. 2 of 8 WS Cox Plate, Gr.1, 2,040m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Forest Lodge Racing, Jomara Bloodstock Ltd, Steeplechasers Flat Synd, M Krauser, Dr P Goel, Mrs P Adams, B Shannon, T Ginnane, D O’Connor, B Sokolski, Walker Racing & Bloodstock, Royjohn Racing & H Bastone

Colours: Light Green, Black Seams, Dark Green Yoke And Sleeves, Quartered Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Blake Shinn


Punters cry “Back Weir, drink beer” about this trainer, and with Humidor’s tough close second to Winx in the Cox Plate, he has to be worth a tipple. In good form, and beat Hartnell back in Sept in Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes. Hasn’t run the distance, but is bred to do it.


  1. Tiberian (FR) 6YO bay horse Tiberius Caesar – Toamasina, by Marju

55.5kg   Barrier: 23

Record: 17:6-4-0     Prizemoney: $517,000 Prev form: 242x11711x

LS: 27.8.17. 1 of 7 GP De Deauville, Gr.2, 2,500m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock P/L (Mgr: D Dance), H Volz, Earl Haras du Logis, S Falk, M & Mrs A Whittaker, J Ogle, Waggun Synd, Dorrington Farm, I Hicks, S Bingley, Big Dog Synd, P Gallivan, Brittain Racing Synd, B Danaher, P Treloar, SCG Racing P/L, G Ferguson, S Musson & P Lynch

Colours: Fluorescent Yellow, Navy ATB Logo And Seams

Trainer: Alain Couetil

Jockey: Olivier Peslier


Tiberian made headlines this week because his sire is a teaser pony. It’s a cute story, and is true but not true. His sire isn’t a pony, he’s a registered Thoroughbred used as a teaser (otherwise Tiberian wouldn’t qualify to run). All his form is in France on wetter tracks, where he has been consistent at slightly lower levels than this. He hasn’t run over two miles, but is bred to do. Query on firm track. Throw him in if it rains.


  1. Marmelo (GB) 5YO bay horse Duke of Marmalade – Capriolla, by In the Wings

55kg       Barrier: 16

Record: 11:3-4-1     Prizemoney: $365,165 Prev form: 232x1521x6

LS: 21.10.17 – 6 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: A Kheir, V Kheir, Fairy Story Partnership, P Mehrten & J O’Neill

Colours: Navy Blue, Pale Yellow Spots, Halved Sleeves, Pale Yellow Cap

Trainer: Hughie Morrison

Jockey: Hugh Bowman


Good form in Europe prior to his sixth in Caulfield Cup first up in Aus. Bred to stay, and winner at Gr.2 level over 3,000m. Keep him safe.


  1. Red Cardinal (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Montjeu – Notable, by Zafonic

55kg       Barrier: 24

Record: 10:5-3-1     Prizemoney: $460,572 Prev form: 1132x11x5x

LS: 20.8.17 5 of 10 Prix Kergorlay, Gr.2 3,000m

Dist: 2:2-0-0

Owners: Australian Bloodstock (Mgr: L Murrell), J Lovett, Power Thoroughbreds, C Cropper, B Brogan, A Brogan, Platinum Racing, G & M Barnett Racing, R Butcher, G Van Ameyden, G&Y Racing, T Mitevski, Pepper/Gaffney Synd, Terrace Synd, J Hunter, C Renshaw, S Roth, M Grundmann, S Doring & Powerhouse Synd

Colours: Royal Blue, White Horseshoe, Black And White Checked Sleeves And Cap

Trainer: Andreas Wohler

Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy


2 starts in group company over distance for 2 wins. Beaten by Marmelo in last start (over 3,000m). Can stay, and on firm-ish surfaces, not the worst.


  1. Johannes Vermeer (IRE) 5YO bay horse Galileo – Inca Princess, by Holy Roman Emperor

54.5kg   Barrier: 3

Record: 14:4-3-3     Prizemoney: $940,080 Prev form: 3x45712x23

LS: 21.10.17. 3 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Navy Blue Cap

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Jockey: Ben Melham


An excellent prospect. In form in UK, then two starts here this campaign for second behind Gailo Chop, and third in Caulfield Cup.


  1. Bondi Beach (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Galileo – One Moment in Time, by Danehill

54kg       Barrier: 1

Record: 13:4-3-2     Prizemoney: $562,019 Prev form: x11x330x90

LS: 16.9.17 11 of 13 JRA Trophy, L. 2,500m

Dist: 2:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A & B Green, B Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, G Ryan, V Sammartino & M Gudinski

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Red Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Michael Walker


Blinkers on first time. Failed twice over 2miles, and currently out of form with only 2 poor starts since he failed in last year’s cup. Nope.


  1. Max Dynamite (FR) 8YO bay gelding Great Journey -Mascara, by Monsun

54kg       Barrier: 2

Record: 23:4-4-3     Prizemoney: $1,306,007 Prev form: 1x2x30x91x

LS: 24.8.17. 1 of 6. Handicap, 3,419m

Dist: 9:1-4-0

Owners: Mrs S Ricci

Colours: Pale Pink, Fluorescent Green Spots

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Zac Purton


Jumper, should be outpaced. Only plus is last start winner over 3,400m, but against must lower company. Watch the stablemates Thomas Hobson instead.


  1. Ventura Storm (IRE) 5YO bay horse Zoffany – Sarawati, by Haafhd

54kg       Barrier: 6

Record: 17:6-2-1     Prizemoney: $774,125 Prev form: 121x5x7620

LS: 21.10.17. 13 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1, 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: D A Hayes, S D & Mrs R J Perrin, B Pang, Dr A Pang, B & Mrs V B Gupta, M Angelini, B & C Thoroughbreds Pty Ltd (B A Dorman), A T Harrison, R & C Legh Racing P/L (R P Legh), Pulitano Thoroughbreds P/L (G Pulitano), G F Austin, R W Hill-Smith, J C Charlton, J F Valmorbida, M A Whiting & B Blundy

Colours: Lime Green, Navy Blue Stripes, Striped Cap

Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig

Jockey: Glen Boss


Locally trained import that has been knocking around, probably not in good enough form, although did run second to Winx early in Oct over 2,000m. Might surprise if he can repeat that effort.


  1. Who Shot thebarman (NZ) 9YO bay gelding Yamanin Vital – Ears Carol, by Carolingian

54kg       Barrier: 20

Record: 47:10-7-3     Prizemoney:$3,069,071 Prev form: 3642×94491

LS: 28.10.17 1 of 7. Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2, 2,500m

Dist: 8:1-2-1

Owners: D M O’Leary, H T O’Leary, M J O’Leary, S C O’Leary, Mrs J C Nugent-O’Leary, Mrs A M O’Leary, Mrs F J O’Leary & Mrs L O’Leary

Colours: Tangerine, White Spots, Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Tommy Berry


Last start winner with fun name. He’s had a few attempts at this race, and yet to salute. Probably won’t again.


  1. Wicklow Brave (GB) 9YO bay gelding Beat Hollow – Moraine, by Rainbow Quest

54kg      Barrier: 8

Record: 38:10-4-5     Prizemoney: $1,260,788 Prev form: 0x81424440

LS: 21.10.17 12 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 19:7-1-2

Owners: Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd

Colours: Purple And Orange Seams, Star Cap

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Stephen Baster


Lots of good, non-winning wet track in UK over staying distances. Got beaten in Caulfield Cup and the jockey from the Caulfield Cup has switched to a better chance. Place chance in grinding run race.


  1. Big Duke (IRE) 6YO bay gelding Raven’s Pass – Hazarayna, by Polish Precedent

53.5kg   Barrier: 5

Record: 19:7-4-3     Prizemoney: $1,165,274 Prev form: 113×550214

LS: 28.10.17 4 of 7 Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2 2,500m

Dist: 1:0-0-1

Owners: Australian Bloodstock Power Synd, Buckling, G I Makauskas, G & M Barnett Racing, S L Mcinnes, P R Johnson, Bartholomeusz Racing, Carty Racing, O M Barry, M Makauskas, Ms C P Cook, C S Gall, Get The Dukes Out Racing, D J Mckee, Leroys No 2, C D Renshaw, J P Hunter, J A Shaw & C M R Racing

Colours: Royal Blue, White Horseshoe, Black And White Checked Sleeves, White Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Brenton Avdulla


He’s coming into form at the right time with nice win two starts ago, and 4th to Who Shot thebarman last start. Place chance.


  1. US Army Ranger (IRE) 5YO bay horse Galileo – Moonstone, by Dalakhani

53.5kg   Barrier: 22

Record: 12:2-3-2     Prizemoney: $856,333 Prev form: 428×320386

LS: 9.9.17. 6 of 6 Enterprise S, Gr.3. 2,400m

Dist: 1:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Royal Blue Cap

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Jockey: Jamie Spencer


Out of form. Probably here as pacemaker for light weight stable mate Rekindling. Expect him to lead then fade.


  1. Boom Time (AUS) 6YO bay horse Flying Spur – Bit of a Ride, by Snippets

53kg       Barrier: 9

Record: 32:7-2-7     Prizemoney: $2,459,025 Prev Form: 6510×39341

LS: 21.10.17 1 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m.

Dist: 1: 0-0-0

Owners: D A Hayes

Colours: White, Green Sash, Black Sleeves And Cap

Trainer: D & B Hayes & T Dabernig

Jockey: Cory Parish


Last start winner in tough Caulfield Cup, which is excellent traditional form for this race. A big chance if he gets the two miles.


  1. Gallante (IRE) 7YO bay gelding Montjeu – Crazy Volume, by Machiavellian

53kg       Barrier: 18

Record: 19:4-1-3     Prizemoney:$2,007,794 Prev form: 031x270x07

LS: 25.10.17 7 of 12 Geelong Cup, Gr.3. 2,400m

Dist: 2:1-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Gold Cap

Trainer: Robert Hickmott

Jockey: Michael Dee


Out of form. Unlikely.


  1. Libran (IRE) 7YO bay or brown gelding Lawman – True Crystal, by Sadler’s Wells

53kg      Barrier: 7

Record: 29:9-3-1     Prizemoney: $1,038,373  Prev form: 746Px61652

LS: 28.10.17 2 of 7 Moonee Valley Cup, Gr.2 2,500m

Dist: 2:0-1-0

Owners: Highclere Thoroughbred Racing Australia Ltd (Mgr: Hon H M Herbert)

Colours: Sky Blue, Navy Blue Armbands And Cap

Trainer: Chris Waller

Jockey: Dwayne Dunn


Excellent effort behind Who shot thebarman last start, but always seems to find one better than him.


  1. Nakeeta (GB) 7YO bay gelding Sixties Icon – Easy Red, by Hunting Lion

53kg       Barrier: 19

Record: 31:5-8-3     Prizemoney: $573,409 Prev form: 202x024x1x

LS: 26.8.17 1 of 19 Ebor H, 2,800m

Dist: 1:0-1-0

Owners: A & Mrs J Card

Colours: Grey And Purple Chevrons, Purple And Grey Hooped Cap

Trainer: Iain Jardine

Jockey: Glyn Schofield


Won the Ebor H last start to earn a place in this. Ok form before that. Hard to have an international horse that hasn’t raced here before. Maybe, maybe not. Who knows.


  1. Single Gaze (AUS) 5YO chestnut mare Not a Single Doubt – Redaluca’s Gaze, by Intergaze

53kg       Barrier: 11

Record: 27:5-6-3     Prizemoney: $2,031,100          Prev form: 2612×05442

LS: 21.10.17 2 of 17 Caulfield Cup, Gr.1 2,400m


Owners: N Olive, M P Hay, D E Tout, W P Oxford, M Notaras, R P Keeley, P Kouvelis, N Keeley, M J Obrien, R A Stuart & Redbank North Pty Ltd

Colours: Royal Blue, Red Spot And Armbands

Trainer: Nick Olive

Jockey: Kathy O’Hara


The only female jockey in the race (a disgrace when 50% of apprentice jockeys are female).

This mare is only small, but is tough. She fell badly in the ATC Oaks as a 3YO, and bounced back to win a Gr1 at her next start. Nothing fears her! A tough effort for 2nd last start, and she’s always consistent. She’ll try her hardest for you. Place chance.


  1. Wall of Fire (IRE) 5YO bay horse Canford Cliffs – Bright Sapphire, by Galileo

53kg       Barrier: 15

Record: 14:4-3-0     Prizemoney: $356,570 Prev form: 11x6248x22

LS: 14.10.17 2 of 10 Herbert Power, Gr.2, 2,400m

Dist: 2:0-0-0

Owners: A Kheir, P Mehrten, V Kheir, J Sourasis, S Lewin, J O’Neill, B Nettlefold, B Carty, A Kirkwood-Scott & A Antonellos

Colours: Navy Blue, Pale Yellow Spots, Halved Sleeves, Quartered Cap

Trainer: Hugo Palmer

Jockey: Craig Williams


Import with one start here for a second placing in Gr2 Herbert Power. Hasn’t won for a while, but is consistent. Other query is two starts at distance for two failures.


  1. Thomas Hobson (GB) 8YO bay gelding Halling – La Spezia, by Danehill Dancer

52kg      Barrier: 21

Record: 24:9-4-2     Prizemoney: $376,218  Prev form: 9P01712x72

LS: 15.9.17 2 of 9 Doncaster Cup, Gr.2. 3,600m

Dist: 5:2-1-0

Owners: Mrs S Ricci

Colours: Pale Pink, Fluorescent Green Spots And Cap

Trainer: William Mullins

Jockey: Joao Moreira


The best chance for the Mullins stable, and they moved Joao Moreira (the magic man) off one of their others and onto Thomas Hobson. He’s a dour stayer from the UK that will be helped by pacemakers from stable. Others in this race have more class. Light weight chance.


  1. Rekindling (GB) 4YO bay horse High Chaparral – Sitara, by Salse

51.5kg   Barrier: 4

Record: 9:3-2-0     Prizemoney: $273,308 Prev form: 210×140124

LS: 16.9.17 4 of 11 St Leger Gr.1. 2,900m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: N C Williams, Mr & Mrs L J Williams, A L & B A Green, B N Singer, P Mehrten, J & Mrs F Ingham, M Gudinski, V Sammartino, G T Ryan, Bulla Thoroughbreds (Mgr: M Ruff) & Heffernan Bloodstock (Mgr: D Heffernan)

Colours: Navy Blue, White Armbands, Pink Cap

Trainer: Joseph O’Brien

Jockey: Corey Brown


Young stayer, competitive against top class horses, threat.


  1. Amelie’s Star (AUS) 6YO bay mare Testa Rossa – Zazita, by Zabeel

51kg       Barrier: 10

Record: 18:6-2-2     Prizemoney: $573,385 Prev form: 214×839410

LS: 21.10.17 11 of 17 Caulfield Cup Gr.1 2,400m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: P Hodgens & Mrs Y Hodgens

Colours: Navy Blue, White Stripes And Sleeves, Navy Blue Seams, Seams Cap

Trainer: Darren Weir

Jockey: Dean Yendell


Mixes her form, untried over distance, but nice light weight that beat many of these in the Bart Cummings 2 starts ago.


  1. Cismontane (NZ) 5YO bay gelding High Chaparral – Viviane, by Volksraad

50kg       Barrier: 17

Record: 19:5-5-4     Prizemoney: $425,925   Prev form: 2325210331

LS: 4.11.17 1 of 10 Lexus Gr.3 2,500m

Dist: 0:0-0-0

Owners: Glenvallen Investments Pty Ltd Syndicate (Mgr: F L Li), D H Kobritz, J B Bongiorno, D W Lilley, C Tognolini, S D Gorman & Ms K Waterhouse

Colours: Pale Green, Yellow Chevrons, Yellow And Purple Hooped Cap

Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Jockey: Beau Mertens


Won the Lexus to make the field. Light weight with winning form – a combination always worth looking at.

The creativity behind stallion adverts


Plato once said “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice.” Over the past decade, or so, I must have written hundreds of stallions advertisements. And I’ve come to the conclusion that there are three categories of stallions; each with their own challenge for creating an advertisement.

Expensive horses
These ads write themselves. The horses are expensive because they have superior race records, pedigrees and/or stud records. These are the ads that are a pleasure to write, the words flow easily, and the point of difference for each stallion is readily discernible. Typically these ads can be written quickly, which is of great benefit when the typical payment is by word count, eg 500 words for $x. The key challenge here is that the stud masters demand a high standard given the profile of their horse. It can be tempting to dash off a quick summary, but that attitude leads to problems (a useful analogy for most of life).

Very cheap horses
Every time I look up one of these horses I think “Why on earth is someone bothering to stand this horse at stud?” I have to remind myself that the owner is paying me to find something nice, and more importantly, they believe in this horse and believe the horse has merit. These horses are a brilliant exercise in seeing beyond the basic facts on the page. It takes creativity to take the facts and make them exciting, and it does help to remember that the marketplace for these horses is (obviously) different to the expensive horses. This alone makes the story different, and if my writing can encourage mare owners to consider a horse – and perhaps even send one mare, then my job has been done.

The middle ground
In many ways, these are my favourite horses to write about. There is a challenge in taking a horse that has a perceived reputation and turning that on its head with some facts that counter it, or in finding the balance between merit and value. Often in this category are the emerging sires who are about to get that good horse to make them fly, and these horses have a buzz about them that helps the words flow. Sometimes, you find an older horse or a bread and butter horse who is forgotten, but more than worth consideration at the price in the market.

To read 2017’s stallion advertisements written for Breeding & Racing, click here. Note: some of these were written in house by their stud farms, but the majority were done by me.


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