Tofane denied Pierata a fairytale farewell with a final stride victory in the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m), providing trainer Mike Moroney his second All Aged Stakes winner after Tivaci won the 2017 renewal.
King's Legacy became the first horse since Guelph in 2013 to claim the Sires Produce/Champagne Stakes double and has connections excited for the spring while the same can be said for Frank Packer Plate winner Kinane.
The Reliable Man gelding thrived on Saturday in his first outing beyond a mile joining the Frank Packer Plate honour roll which boasts playing host to a handful of subsequent Group 1 winners this past decade.
Race 1: Fender - Class 3 Highway Handicap (1200m)
Fender maintained his perfect record on Saturday, making it three wins from as many starts. Toro Toro and Hellenism are above average country horses too so this Highway Handicap potentially has some substance to it.
The Brett Cavanough-trained gelding can win one more Highway Handicap and there are options for him at that level in the next month. Hong Kong is calling too however.
Hellenism was great in third. The 1400m Highway Handicap in two weeks shapes as a suitable event for her. She usually gets well back in her races but on Saturday she settled midfield. Good to see her add that bit of versatility to her game.
Race 2: Snitz - Benchmark 88 3YO+ Handicap (1200m)
Snitz got the run of the race outside the lead and held off some nice horses late. He’s building a strong career record.
The Snitzel gelding ran in the 2018 Kocsiuscko but he’s improved lengths since then. As soon as he got snubbed for a 2019 Kosciusko slot, the five-year-old really stepped it up and found a new level.
He’s beaten Group performed horses on Saturday such as Outrageous and Groundswell. This sort of Benchmark 88 form taken back to a Kocsiusko stacks up really well. Handle The Truth came out of a Benchmark 88 race to win the Kosciusko last year.
There is plenty of water to go under the bridge before then though. He was only first up on Saturday. From here, something like the Takeover Target Stakes in three weeks shapes as a suitable next start option.
Outrageous in third was getting to the line strong first up. The All Too Hard gelding clocked a fast last 600m for the day with a 34.09. With a Benchmark of 83, there looks to be room for at least one win this prep.
Race 3: Rubisaki - Group 3 J H B Carr Stakes (1400m)
Rubisaki probably had to work harder than anticipated but she got it done and on Saturday ran equal to her peak Timeform rating of 112.
It’s a high winning figure for a JHB Carr Stakes. Looking through the history of the event, she rates as the strongest winner of the JHB Carr Stakes we’ve seen in the past decade.
The Patrick Payne-trained filly sounds as if she is off to the paddock now and has enjoyed a superb prep having gone through six starts unbeaten. The daughter of Rubick is flying however and the prospect of Group 1 black type through the Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville in a fortnight has to be somewhat tempting.
Another big talking point was Subpoenaed running second. She was dropping back sharply in trip and was charging home for second - clocking the fastest last 600m of the day. The result gave her a valuable piece of black type.
Subpoenaed’s Vinery Stud Stakes disappointment combined with this run suggests she is absolutely a sprinter miler. It’s good they’ve figured it out this prep so they can map out her spring prep.
Race 4: Kinane - Group 3 Frank Packer Plate (2000m)
This was a convincing win, so convincing James McDonald suggested Kinane was one of his more exciting rides of this carnival. It’s not a bad endorsement by a jockey who has ridden the likes of Verry Elleegant and Danon Premium this autumn.
The run returned a Timeform rating of 112. We’ve got it sitting right on the five year winning average of the race.
So much here bodes well for Kinane who is likely off to the South Australian Derby (2500m) next.
Third placegetter Entente could be one to watch in the spring. He’s enjoyed a breakout prep since being gelded in the summer and profiles as a nice miler type. A former Waterhouse runner Fat Al won this race in 2012 and then went on to win the Epsom six months later.
Race 5: King’s Legacy - Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m)
King's Legacy on Saturday became the first horse to claim the Sires’ Produce/Champagne Stakes double since Guelph in 2013. We’ve assessed the performance with a Timeform rating of 115. It’s a shade below the five year winning average of the race largely due to Castelvecchio winning it last year with an effort assessed at 121.
The Redoute’s Choice colt spells for the spring now where you’d think races such as the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas would be his go. Helmet in 2011 was the last horse to claim the Champagne Stakes - Caulfield Guineas double.
Race 6: Life Less Ordinary - Group 3 JRA Plate (2000m)
Life Less Ordinary got a nice cosy run midfield on the fence which meant he had plenty to give in the straight. The veteran was well placed on Saturday, winning despite running a couple of lengths off his peak. The Chris Waller-trained eight-year-old is the oldest winner of the JRA plate in the past 25 years.
A Queensland winter carnival would have suited a lot of horses here. There are races coming up such as the Wagga Gold Cup and the Gosford Gold Cup which is held at Randwick now that are possible options for these horses.
Race 7: Tofane - Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m)
Great ride by Opie Bosson, he got on the back of Pierata who was clearly the horse you wanted to be stalking. A stride for stride battle ensued over the concluding stages and it was Tofane who won in a head bobber.
Tofane has levelled up noticeably in three runs since coming to Sydney. Saturday was a clear peak for her.
Tofane lunged at Pierata on the line and got up to win the All Aged Stakes in a nail biting finish.— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) April 18, 2020
That's Mike Moroney's second win in the race @BallymoreStabls @atc_races @opie_bosson pic.twitter.com/dj7YLNrs66
It sounds like she is off to the spelling paddock now. The Robert Sangster at Morphettville in two weeks has to be of some temptation though.
Runner up Pierata came within a nose of becoming the first horse to claim consecutive All Aged Stakes wins since Rough Habit in 1992/93. The son of Pierro got a 10/10 ride from Tommy Berry however Tofane arguably got an 11.
Race 8: Greyworm - Group 3 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m)
Saturday’s Hall Mark Stakes was Greyworm’s fifth win from seven starts this season. It’s fair to say this one holds some sway as well, he’s beaten a host of Group 1 performed gallopers here in Trekking, Kementari, Le Romain and In Her Time.
The key with Greyworm is to keep him fresh. The stable has him flying. It might be worth pushing on to a Goodwood in four weeks’ time - a race most of this field should consider heading towards.
Poor Kementari. Back as a gelding after a failed stud career, he got held up badly in the straight but was hitting the line well when he got clear. Le Romain was solid first up off a long break too.
Race 9: Ranier - Benchmark 100 3YO+ Handicap (1400m)
They were coming from everywhere late and it was the least fancied runner in the blanket finish who got his head down late. It was an impressive win by Ranier who had to weave through runners the entire length of the straight. He’s run a new career peak straight off the bat first up, returning a Timeform rating of 109.
The question now is where to from here? The Luskin Star Stakes (1300m) at Randwick in a month looks like the logical next step for him.
Brisbane would be another potential path however we still don’t know if interstate horses are allowed into Queensland for the winter carnival.
There are a lot of potential victims in this race. Phaistos, Ranier, Lanciato and Military Zone have all produced strong first up displays. They likely all had campaign paths mapped out involving a trip to Queensland however with a downsized carnival and no announcement made yet on whether they can cross into Queensland territory, these campaigns are all in limbo at present.