We saw some tremendous performances across the weekend, by both horses victorious and in defeat.
Check out our horses to blackbook from last weekend’s racing.
Bendigo – Race 1
Great return by Floating Artist first-up after 515 days off the scene. The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained gelding was sensational in his first Australian campaign, working through the grades from a Benchmark 78 to the Melbourne Cup. The seven-year-old won three straight races during the campaign and topped it off by running fourth in Australia’s great race. Fresh off the long break, there was little expected of the stayer on Saturday, jumping $21.
Carrying 60kg following Thomas Stockdale’s 1.5kg claim, Floating Artist eased to the rear of the field from a wide draw. With race leader Imperial Lad kicking off a slow pace to win the race, there is a good case to be made that Floating Artist could have potentially won the race with luck. Floating Artist was travelling strongly behind the speed and didn’t see clear room until late, only a half-length. The Andrew Ramsden potentially looms as Floating Artists target this campaign with a golden ticket into the Melbourne Cup, but there is little doubt he is a horse to follow.
Bendigo – Race 8
Just Folk ran another bold race in the Listed Bendigo Mile on Saturday and he looks primed to peak now third-up. The Joshua Julius-trained gelding was good behind a slowly run race first-up, running fourth behind the in-form Scallopini. It was a completely different race shape for him on Saturday.
Thanks to Punting Form, the leaders went out 8.5-lengths above the All Average Benchmark, setting up a strong pace for the horses off-speed. Here To Shock enjoyed the gun run behind the speed to win the race, while Laure Me In ($81) and Prince Of Helena ($101) ran into the placings from the back of the field. Just Folk was forced to work early into the race and his fitness was subsequently found out late. Now third-up, Just Folk now has the base to peak.
Randwick – Race 4
If there was any question around the best wet horse on the day at Randwick when the rain fell, don’t think Arts would have crossed a single persons mind. There is a case to be made that not many horses ploughed through the slop as well as she did. The Edward Cummings-trained filly settled second last in a very slowly run Adrian Knox Stakes, before Sam Clipperton presented her at the turn. The daughter of Xtravagent was having just her third career start after disappointing defeat in the Group 3 Kembla Grange Classic. She failed to beat a runner home and subsequently started $31 on Saturday.
Travelling strongly into the race, if you had a ticket on Arts you certainly were confident she was a chance at the turn, but when she saw clear ground she really unleashed. Clipperton guided her into clear space at the 300m mark and produced a brilliant turn-of-speed. She ran the 14th fastest last 400m and 10th fastest last 200m of the meeting. The Adrian Knox is proven to be an ideal lead-up to the ATC Oaks and Arts is certainly a leading contender if the track stays heavy next week.
DUKE DE SESSA
Randwick – Race 8
The 2023 Doncaster Mile shaped up to be a brilliant race and there were some great performances by individual runners. Looking through the results, for most of these horses this was their grand finals, however, there is one horse in particular who has Queensland written all over him… Duke De Sessa. The European import is a Group 3 and Listed winner over 2400m and looks an ideal horse for the Hollindale, Doomben Cup and Q22 series. Dylan Gibbons settled the four-year-old midfield where he enjoyed even luck.
Duke De Sessa was constantly hampered by horses inside as he copped some slight interference throughout the race. He didn’t see clear running until the last 250m and picked-up strongly through the line to run eighth.