As a result of a tough spot in barrier one, Harbour Views had his colours lowered for the first time at Flemington yesterday after placing second in the Melbourne Cup Carnival Country Series.
While disappointed that Harbour Views’ winning run had ended, Matthew Williams was able to quickly find several positives in the performance.
The son of La Havre carried the 61.5kg top-weight and was held up at several stages in the straight but still battled away gamely to finish second, just over a length adrift of Star Missile.
“He just got held up a little bit, probably when he needed to be getting out and building a bit of momentum,” Williams said.
“It’s hard with the 61.5kg to jump out of the ground the last furlong but he still found and was good to the line.
“We’ve got a couple of options, whether we go to the 2000m for the Ballarat Cup – which he sort of looks like he might be looking for 2000m so that’s certainly an option – the other option is to spell him and bring him back for the autumn.”
Looking to Stakes Day tomorrow, we have three runners in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2600m. Gallic Chieftain, Grey Lion and True Self all taking their place in the Group 3 contest. Gallic is set to run another blinder with conditions to suit, a wet track will be to his liking and he has stripped fitter since his NSW runs.
True Self has also proven her ability in Australia, having run a very close second to Prince of Arran in the Geelong Cup. Clocking the fastest sectionals in the race, she powered home to just be beaten to the line. All her indicators are good leading into this race and her European form on soft ground is strong. We hope to see her go one better at Flemington!
OTI stalwart Grey Lion steps out tomorrow after a lack-luster performance in the Geelong Cup. Grey Lion has spent time at the beach in recent weeks and is enjoying a freshen up before partnering with his recent Group 3 winning jockey Kathy O’Hara.
Tom Melbourne also heads to Flemington off a beach freshen up for Chris Waller in the Group 3 Chatham Stakes. A horse who loves a crowd, we hope he puts his best hoof forward amidst the carnival atmosphere. Chris is pleased with his fitness and hopes his race day manners assist in running before pulling out for an explosive finish – reminiscent of his Australia Day win this year.
In the feature of the day, the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes, both Gailo Chop and Night’s Watch look set to make their mark. After both having frustrating runs last start, they look primed to run a lovely race. A wide draw for Gailo may not play into his favour, however his fitness will prove no issue. Night’s Watch, on the other hand, has drawn the extreme inside, so we’re hoping the winning carnival expertise of Damien Oliver will secure a top finish.
Rounding out the day is Artarmon joining Saturday’s line-up. He will be having his first start in Australia for Matthew Smith at Rosehill. He is set to take his place in the BM78 over 2400m first-up after some lovely trials and plenty of residual fitness from the UK.
We wish the connections the very best of luck and happy racing for the last day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival!