Dawn Passage will clash with Masked Crusader in the Inglis 3YO Guineas at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: AAP
Dawn Passage will clash with Masked Crusader in the Inglis 3YO Guineas at Rosehill on Saturday. Picture: AAP

Hightail flies into frame for Straddie

RYAN Maloney feels Hightail is worthy of a crack at next month's Group 1 Stradbroke after combining with the Team Snowden-trained gelding to win the Gold Coast Guineas.

Hightail had run third in last year's Magic Millions 2YO Classic and then fourth in this year's MM Guineas at the Coast track, but arrived a superior galloper on Saturday.

Hightail is one of many three-year-olds that will be lightly-weighted in the Stradbroke and likely need to win the Fred Best Classic in a fortnight to be certain of a start in the race.

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Hightail (right) stormed home to win the Gold Coast Guineas. Picture: AAP
Hightail (right) stormed home to win the Gold Coast Guineas. Picture: AAP

Co-trainer Peter Snowden confirmed that is where he is likely to head.

"He did a good job today," Snowden said. "We will probably go to the Fred Best Classic and see how he goes. If he can win that race, he will get into the Stradbroke.

"He really attacked the line today, which was pleasing."

Maloney, who rode several winners for Snowden in Victoria when the trainer was with Darley, said Hightail will relish more ground on the bigger track at Eagle Farm.

"He's always been around the mark of good horses, like Alligator Blood (in the MM Guineas) and I couldn't see why they wouldn't go to the Stradbroke," Maloney said. "He won good in Sydney last time and 1400m is perfect for him, plus he will get in with a light weight.

"The Odyssey doesn't lay down and my bloke showed a tenacious effort to get there."

The Odyssey went past the $1 million mark with his second placing.

"I think that's probably one of his best runs. He was pretty brave," trainer Kelly Schweida said. "I thought it was a high-class race. I would have liked to get a Group 3 next to his name, at least he got the million I suppose. I'm still pretty proud of him."

Ryan Maloney said Hightail would be a great lightweight chance in the Stradbroke. Picture: AAP
Ryan Maloney said Hightail would be a great lightweight chance in the Stradbroke. Picture: AAP

Schweida is now weighing up whether to stretch to the 1350m of the Fred Best Classic or wait another week and run in the Mick Dittman Plate over 1000m.

Exhilarates continued her consistent form on the Coast track, running on strongly to claim third. Command'n'conquer, who was a notable betting drifter, was posted wide for the trip and then struck trouble on the corner to put him out of contention.

Maloney believes he also found another smart horse on Friday night, in the shape of the David Vandyke-trained debut winner Wolf Man, who races for the same connections as Alligator Blood.

"He trialled really good and after his gallop on Tuesday you would have been thinking he would just go there and win, which he did," he said. "He's still pretty green, but his quality shone through. He's a very exciting horse going forward. They are going to take a similar path to what they did with Alligator and just take their time with him."

Lucy eases Squair's pain

Love You Lucy might have ended the trackwork career of trainer Barry Squair last week, but she made up for it with a tenacious win in the Listed Silk Stocking.

Squair, 79, had still been riding work, but he arrived battered and bruised on Saturday after Love You Lucy threw him at the track on Tuesday, injuring his shoulder and hand.

"I had only been riding a couple (work), but that's it now, my wife has put her foot down," Squair said.

The trainer, who was the leading jockey in Toowoomba for many years before turning his hand to training 25 years ago, was confident Love You Lucy would acquit herself well on Saturday.

"I gave her a good chance," he said. "I said to the boys upstairs, she had a good chance. She's racing beautiful."

Mark Du Plessis described his ride as "terrible" but said he was thrilled to win a prestigious race for Squair.

"He's one of those trainers that never gives any instructions and is so easy to ride for," he said. "It's even sweeter still, given she dropped him through the week. Apparently she just shied at three-quarter pace, so it's a good tonic for him."

Love You Lucy built her reputation as a fast-finishing backmarker over the summer, but began very quickly on Saturday to find herself in the first few on settling.

"I just had an awful gate. She won, if she didn't it would have been dreadful," Du Plessis said. "She flew out of the gate and I thought I could get across.

"When I saw I was going to have to work too hard, I took hold and got her into a nice rhythm. I couldn't get in, couldn't get in and never got in.

Love You Lucy (left) rattled home to win the Silk Stocking in a tight finish. Picture: AAP
Love You Lucy (left) rattled home to win the Silk Stocking in a tight finish. Picture: AAP

"It was quite a good effort on her behalf. I thought I would be worse than midfield, but she flew the gates. I would like to ride her with cover. I'm sure she would have a better finish.

"I'm just really happy that she's won."

Fiesta produced an eye-catching first-up effort from a spell in charging home for second, just in front of fellow Sydneysider Jen Rules.

Niedorp was heavily backed to start the $2.60 favourite. She didn't begin brilliantly, but mustered her usual speed to lead and just felt the pinch in the last 100m to finish fourth.

Bargain buy on a roll

Former The Courier-Mail sports editor Brian Burke is reaping the success of a $600 buy with promising sprinter Soxagon, who enhanced his blossoming record by winning at the Gold Coast.

Soxagon has won five of his 13 starts, the latest Saturday's Class 6 Plate (1200m).

When Burke retired in 2013, he and his wife Anne decided to dabble in breeding and picked up the Van Nistelrooy mare Strike On Goal from the Patinack Farm Dispersal for $600. Her first two foals were sold and won maiden races, but Soxagon was retained to race.

"I liked (Soxagon's sire) Rocker's pedigree, being by Fastnet Rock from an Encosta De Lago mare," Burke said.

Soxagon notched another win at the Gold Coast. Picture: Trackside Photography
Soxagon notched another win at the Gold Coast. Picture: Trackside Photography

"When he foaled down, he had four white socks and he was just the most beautiful, quietest thing. The vet said 'this is the one' and we decided to keep him."

The gelding's name comes about because when it came time to brand him, the two front socks had gone, prompting the vet to say "the socks are gone".

Burke struck a deal to race Soxagon in partnership with Ben Currie, who's share is now held by his mother Donna. He has won his past four races in the care of Mark Currie. They are now hoping Soxagon might be able to sneak into a Stradbroke field.

"That's dreaming on our part," Burke said. "He's shown he's up with them behind Vega One, but fingers crossed he might sneak into the field."

Soxagon is a $51 chance in Ladbrokes' Stradbroke market, but will need a high attrition rate to make the 18-field cutoff.

Owner notches record six-peat on home turf

If ever there was proof about the great uncertainty of racing, it came at Cairns last Thursday as prominent owner Tom Hedley celebrated a best-ever six wins on the card.

Hedley, who has been associated with the club for 40 years and is in his third tenure as chairman, races about 35 horses at a time, but the six-peat was the most his colours had saluted at the one meeting.

 

Owner Tom Hedley was in the winners’ circle six times at Cairns on Thursday. Picture: Darren Winningham
Owner Tom Hedley was in the winners’ circle six times at Cairns on Thursday. Picture: Darren Winningham

"I had five only a couple of weeks ago and that was pretty good too, but you have to pinch yourself, really. No matter where you are, to win six on the card at a TAB meeting is something a bit special," Hedley said.

Hedley's haul started with Rigel, Past Ready, Triumph Star and Centro Superior winning the first four, before Bet On Love and Full Recognition won the last two.

His colours have been prominent in the southeast through the deeds of Tyzone, and the owner is hoping the sprinter might go one better than last year when he takes on the Stradbroke on June 6.

"He's on song. Everything is going as planned. I'm looking forward to it," he said. "He's the best horse I've owned. Tyzone has taken us to a level we've never been in racing."