Danny O’Brien has not lost faith in Russian Camelot despite shock Caulfield Stakes defeat, believing the boom import can rebound in the centenary Cox Plate with a fiercer tempo.
Upstaged by Arcadia Queen ($5.50), Russian Camelot drifted slightly in Cox Plate markets with TAB from $2.80 to $3 after he was comfortably outsprinted by the WA mare.
O’Brien made no excuses for the northern hemisphere four-year-old, who started at $1.45 and appeared to have the race in his keeping at the top of the straight.
“Obviously we were hoping that he’d be the winner, but he’s been beaten by an exceptional performance by Arcadia Queen,” O’Brien said.
“She was comprehensively better than him today. We certainly wouldn’t be making any excuses.
“Hoping that maybe when we get to Moonee Valley that the race will have a bit more pressure in it. “Our guy might be looking for a bit further now. Full credit to the winner, she’s gone super and we just weren’t good enough.”
Arcadia Queen, who has a history of hoof issues and raced in bar plates on Saturday, firmed from $21 to outright second favourite at $6 for the October 24 Cox Plate.
Grant Williams credited his wife and co-trainer Alana for the work they have put into the explosively talented mare.
“It’s a great team effort. A lot of months in the making and all the team at home, with Alana and the team, they got her home,” Williams said.
“They did a lot of recovery work and got her back.
“I would still like her feet to be better. I wanted to put the plates on for the day and ‘bars’ will go back on Monday to be cautious.”
Victory provided Pike with a treble and his tactical genius was evident in the run as he stalked Damien Oliver on Russian Camelot.
“Today, she just travelled a little bit strong but coming into the bend and I was actually still travelling and sucked in behind Russian Camelot, I kind of got my hopes up a little,” he said.
“I knew my only chance was to try and catch him (Russian Camelot) in the last 200 (metres). There was no point trying to match motors with him.
“So that’s what I did, I sat there and bided my time. Things panned out quite well for me even though we did sprint quite hard around the bend, yet again, I still got a nice run.
“I shook her up a little bit and she got back on the bridle. She cruised to the line.”
Humidor ran third, prompting Craig Williams to predict the veteran will be in peak form for the Cox Plate.
TOORAK: KAH’S TOO QUICK FOR THEM
Scrapping plans to target the Caulfield Cup was the start of Mr Quickie’s resurgence that led to a drought-breaking win in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Mr Quickie tackled last year’s Caulfield Cup after claiming the Group 1 Queensland Derby over 2400m as a three-year-old but trainer Phillip Stokes shelved plans for another crack at the race after the gelding’s unplaced Underwood Stakes run.
Stokes freshened Mr Quickie for the return to 1600m in the Toorak Handicap. Jockey Jamie Kah did the rest, saving ground on the son of Cox Plate winner Shamus Award before producing him for his winning run at the 300m.
Mr Quickie surged past the on-pacer Buffalo River in the last 100m to score by two lengths despite the winner giving the runner-up 6kg in the $500,000 race.
Stokes said Mr Quickie had shown signs a breakthrough win was near with his work on Tuesday but Kah’s softer touch was the final ingredient to his success.
“I just thought we really had to try something from left field because the horse has been ridden by aggressive riders pretty much all his career,” Stokes said.
“We just thought Jamie’s type of hands and the softer approach (would help) and it worked.
“He was just showing signs that he was back on top of his game. When he got off the truck today, he was dragging the strapper around and he worked well on Tuesday.
“I was quietly confident because he has raced against good horses and I thought he was up to these horses and he did the right thing.”
Kah said things could not have panned out better for what turned out to be her third Group 1 win.
“He was fresh today, he was really well and gave me a beautiful ride throughout,” Kah said.
“When everything was on with him, he was just too classy for them.”
Stokes said he would aim Mr Quickie for the Group 1 Cantala Stakes at Flemington on Victoria Derby day. The Cantala Stakes is also a 1600m handicap,
“We’ll keep him fresh now. We’ll go to the Cantala Mile on the last day of the carnival. It’s good to see him back,” Stokes said.
“He’s found form. We’ll keep him happy. It’s a big thrill to win a Group 1 for the team here in Melbourne.”
WA galloper Superstorm went within 2 ½ lengths of giving William Pike his fifth win of the day in the Toorak Handicap with his third placing.
Pike was beaten but still had a tip for punters.
“He’s just about to start hitting his peak form. I would suggest he’s worth following,” Pike said.
TAB BIG BETS
Punters were on top in the opening race of the day — the Magic Millions Debutant Stakes (1000m).
For most of the week, Fake Love ($5.50-$4.20-$5) was the subject of strong support but today it was Extreme Warrior ($10-$7.50-$5) which was backed into equal favouritism.
The pair were responsible for 56 per cent of the total investment.
It was a losing result for TAB with the pair finishing one-two.
BETS: Fake Love $1,000 @ $4.80, $1,000 @ $4.20
BETS: Anamoe $1,000 @ $6.50
Swat’s That defied a late betting drift to land the money in the Thoroughbred Club Stakes (1200m).
The subject of strong support throughout the day and favourite all week, Swat’s That went $2.30 out to $2.80 late in betting thanks to the money for Muntaseera.
The Ciaron Maher & Dave Eustace runner was well tried throughout the day and firmed from a $4.20 quote in the morning to start $3.30.
In terms of popularity, the pair were head and shoulders above anything else in the race and accounted for over 70 per cent of the total investment.
Letzbeglam ($8.50-$9-$7.50) was tried at the eachway odds while Bella Nipotina ($6-$11) was a big drifter throughout the day.
BETS: Swats That $1,500 @ $2.80, $6,750 @ $2.30, $3,500 @ $2.25
BETS: Muntaseera $1,000 @ $4.20, $1,000 @ $4, $4,000 @ $3.90, $1,000 @ $3.80, $2,500 @ $3.40
BETS: Letzbeglam $1,000 @ $8
The ‘good thing’ of the day did the right thing by his backers in The Big Screen Company Weekend Hussler (1400m).
Windstorm was smashed today and went around as one of the most popular horses throughout the country, going from $2 into $1.70 favourite.
Such was the popularity of the Grant & Alana Williams-trained gelding that he held just over 70 per cent of the total investment.
Everything else in the race drifted thanks largely due to the heavy support for the fav who was extremely popular with multi players too.
BETS: Windstorm $4,000 @ $1.95, $1,920 @ $1.95, $4,625 @ $1.70
There was some specking around to suggest that Fiesta would run a solid race in the Keno Northwood Plume Stakes (1200m).
Hovering around the $9.50-$10 mark for most of the day, Fiesta attracted some handy eachway investments throughout the day and was the fifth most popular runner in terms of money held. Felicia ($3.60-$3.40) was easily the best tried and held twice as much as anything else. Exhilarates ($7-$8.50) and Xilong ($6.50) were the others to hold more than the winner as well as Lyre ($4.60).
BETS: Fiesta $1,200 @ $9.50, $1,000 @ $9.50
BETS: Lyre $2,000 e/w @ $4.60/$1.85
BETS: Felicia $1,500 @ $3.80, $1,000 @ $3.70, $3,000 @ $3.60 TWICE, $2,000 @ $3.60, $1,000 @ $3.60 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $3.50 TWICE
BETS: Exhilarates $3,010 @ $8.50, $1,000 @ $7.50
Although the McCafe Schillaci Stakes (1100m) was a small field, punters embraced the event with every single runner holding some decent money.
In the end, the most popular runner in the shape of Dirty Work ($3.80-$3.60-$4.20) provided TAB with a losing result in front of Diamond Effort ($3.40-$4) which had her backers all week.
Splintex ($5.50) and Hey Doc ($7-$5.50) were next best in terms of money while Bold Star ($9) had plenty of admirers too.
BETS: Dirty Work $1,000 @ $4 MULTIPLE TIMES, $2,000 @ $3.80
BETS: Bold Star $5,000 @ $8, $1,000 @ $8 TWICE
BETS: Order Of Command $3,000 @ $9.50
BETS: Diamond Effort $3,000 @ $4, $2,500 @ $4
BETS: Octane $1,000 @ $14
BETS: Hey Doc $1,000 @ $6 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Splintex $1,850 @ $5.50, $1,500 e/w @ $5.50/$2.70
Countless multis and big bets were toast after Russian Camelot was a beaten odds-on favourite in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Danny O’brien’s stable star was sensationally backed despite being a hot $1.40 favourite.
Popular with big punters and multi players alike, Russian Camelot was nearly four times as popular as the second pick in the market which was Arcadia Queen ($4.80-$5.50).
The only other horse in the race to attract decent support was Humidor ($5.50-$8.50) but it too was a drifter.
Bets on Russian Camelot accounted for 63 per cent of the total investment.
BETS: Russian Camelot $19,000 @ $1.40, $9,000 @ $1.40, $8,075 @ $1.40, $7,400 @ $1.40, $6,000 @ $1.40, $5,940 @ $1.40, $3,000 @ $1.40 MULTIPLE TIMES, $2,000 @ $1.40, $1,400 @ $1.40, $3,000 @ $1.35
Odeum’s win was no fluke in the Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m).
TAB went up $18 about the Written Tycoon filly about all week there was strong money to suggest she would be very competitive.
Today, $10 was on offer and she was pretty solid at the price and went around as the third most popular runner in the event behind Hungry Heart and Instant Celebrity.
Personal ($16-$15) had specking at the price and ran right up to the support while Instant Celebrity ($3.80-$4.40) was mainly a drifter on the day but held a number of big bets. She was three times as popular as the winner.
The disappointment from a betting perspective was Hungry Heart which was crunched ever since the barrier draw.
TAB had $4.20 on offer about her and $3.30 was still available today, however, sheer weight of money saw her come into $2.70 fav and go around with 44 per cent of the money in the race.
BETS: Odeum $1,000 @ $10 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Hungry Heart $3,500 @ $3.50, $2,500 @ $3.50, $2,000 @ $3, $10,000 @ $2.90, $2,000 @ $2.90, $2,000 @ $2.80 MULTIPLE TIMES, $2,500 @ $2.70, $2,000 @ $2.70 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Instant Celebrity $3,000 @ $4.40 TWICE, $1,500 @ $4.40, $1,000 @ $4.20, $5,000 @ $3.90, $3,700 @ $3.90
BETS: Personal $1,000 @ $15 TWICE
BETS: Rock My Wand $1,000 e/w @ $34/$7
BETS: Vangelic $2,000 @ $10, $30,000 @ $3.10 place
The drifting favourite was the one to deliver the goods in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Although attracting good money throughout the day, Ole Kirk was a drifter and went $3.60 out to $4.20 as support came for a number of other horses.
In a sensational betting race, Tagaloa ($5.50-$4.40) was the best tried on the day while Kings Legacy ($6.50) was pretty solid in betting as was Mo’unga ($6-$7).
The quartet were head and shoulders above anything else in terms of popularity and commanded the lion’s share of investment between them.
BETS: Mo’unga $4,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $7/$2.30, $3,500 @ $7, $2,000 @ $7, $1,000 @ $7 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,250 e/w @ $6/$2.20
BETS: Ole Kirk $2,000 @ $4.40, $2,000 @ $4, $1,000 @ $4, $4,000 @ $3.90
BETS: Tagaloa $1,000 @ $4.40 MULTIPLE TIMES, $1,000 @ $4.20 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Kings Legacy $1,200 @ $7, $2,450 @ $6.50, $1,900 @ $6.50, $1,000 @ $6.50 MULTIPLE TIMES
BETS: Cambourne $1,000 @ $11 TWICE
The money was off the mark in the Lexus Toorak Handicap (1600m).
Junipal ($4.20-$4.80-$3.90) was a drifter in the morning but then heavily tried in the last hour or so of betting. Cascadian ($11-$9-$6.50) was easily the most notable firer in the race and held plenty of money. In fact, the Godolphin runner was the third most popular behind Junipal and Buffalo River ($4-$4.80). Superstorm ($8) carried plenty of big bets too as did I Am Superman ($8-$10).
Mr Quickie ($16-$21-$19) held some handy eachway bets on the day.
Junipal was responsible for 30 per cent of the total hold.
BETS: Junipal $5,000 @ $4.80 TWICE, $3,000 e/w @ $4.80/$2, $2,000 @ $4.40, $10,000 @ $3.90, $5,000 @ $3.90
BETS: Superstorm $2,000 @ $8
BETS: Chief Ironside $3,000 @ $26
Favourite backers were sent packing after the well tried Orderofthegarter failed to run a place in The Herbert Power (2400m).
Danny O’brien’s rep went around three-and-a-half times as popular as anything and was carrying the hope of a stack of multis.
The $2.60 favourite, Orderofthegarter ran out of steam over the concluding stages with the Chapada, which wasn’t without a hope, finishing best for Daniel Stackhouse.
Chapada was $7 on Wednesday and today went $6.50 into as low as $4.40 before jumping second pick at $4.80.
Of the others, Zebrowski ($8.50) attracted strong money as did In Good Health ($7.50) which had opened $12 on Wednesday. One customer splashed out $10,000 on the Peter Moodie galloper which gave a good sight out in front before weakening.
BETS: Chapada $1,500 @ $5
BETS: In Good Health $10,000 @ $8, $4,000 @ $7.50
BETS: Orderofthegarter $5,000 @ $2.60, $4,500 @ $2.60, $2,000 @ $2.60 MULTIPLE TIMES, $3,500 @ $2.50
BETS: Zebrowski $1,000 @ $8.50, $1,500 x $3,000 e/w @ $8/$2.30