Dwyer sizes up Lightning strike
BENDIGO trainer Shaun Dwyer is daring to dream his exciting filly Miss Leonidas can deliver him another Group One Lightning Stakes.
The three-year-old filly will be aimed at black-type races in the spring following her explosive six-length romp at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Dwyer said he was eager to have a crack at the Lightning Stakes with Miss Leonidas in the autumn. He won the race in 2004 with Regimental Girl.
Two races later, the heavily backed Magic Consol scored an emphatic seven-length victory, running slick splits for the last 600m, 400m and 200m in 34.82 sec, 23.09 and 10.81.
It was an emotional win for Craig Williams - who "begged" for the ride - in a race named in honour of his cousin, who was killed in a car accident 22 years ago.
Grey Shadow again cost herself victory after bombing the start in the final race. Jockey Jye McNeil calmly made up ground along the rail before hitting the front at the 150m. But that early exertion had an effect late when she was reeled in by Usain Bowler.
Dwayne Dunn celebrated his 45th birthday last week and he's riding as well as ever. The veteran notched a double at the Valley aboard Eusebio and Miss Leonidas.
Dean Yendall escaped with the Ipswich Cup despite his ride on $1.80 favourite Tradesman drawing the wrath of trainer Darren Weir.
Weir couldn't bear to watch the race as Yendall was stuck three wide after jumping from barrier five, but Tradesman's class carried him over the line.
"To my eyes it didn't look a very good ride. If you rate it out of 10 it was one, and you get that for just turning up," Weir told racing.com.
Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, who has taken over the training of Australian galloper Merchant Navy, will be lining up his sprinters at Royal Ascot this week for a potential crack at the $13 million The Everest.
Three-year-old Sioux Nation could emerge as the leading contender if the colt wins the Group One Commonwealth Cup (1200m) on Friday.
O'Brien's other Everest candidates include Washington DC, Battle Of Jericho and Different League in Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes. Defending King's Stand winner Lady Aurelia, trained by Wesley Ward, is also a contender for The Everest.
O'Brien is also keen to take on Winx in the Cox Plate with Rhododendron should the four-year win the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday night.
HORSES TO FOLLOW
The track pattern was against Rillito, who was resuming a 13-month break, but she stormed home to finish a close second behind Showpero, running her last 600m in 35.38 sec and last 200m in 11.30 sec.
Eusebio has more wins in store after a big effort to win first-up.
The five-day Royal Ascot carnival kicks off on Tuesday night with eight Group One races up for grabs. The highlight for Australian racing fans will be watching Redkirk Warrior and Merchant Navy contest the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday night.
Doomben hosts the final Group One of the season, the Tatts Tiara, which will feature a very competitive field of mares and fillies.
Racing is back at Flemington for more heats of the Winter Championship, Creswick, Banjo Patterson, All Victorian Sprint and Leilani series.