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Gallic Chieftain After Revenge in the St Leger Stakes

It takes a bold trainer to try to beat Chris Waller in his own backyard but that is precisely what Archie Alexander is hoping to do with Gallic Chieftain in the St Leger Stakes at Randwick.

The imported stayer almost got the job done last start when he narrowly went down to the Waller-trained Come Play With Me in the Group 1 Metropolitan.

The pair face a rematch in Saturday’s St Leger Stakes (2600m) in which Waller will also saddle up Patrick Erin, Carzoff and Youngstar.

“Waller is so hard to beat anywhere, never mind in Sydney,” the Victorian-based Alexander said.

“When you’re beaten a head in a Group One, it’s not the same as a win but you can’t begrudge your horse.

“He has tried really hard and done everything really well, apart from that little head.”

Alexander can make a case for Gallic Chieftain to exact revenge in the St Leger after the horse got a long way back from a wide draw in the Metropolitan and closed strongly late.

It was the seven-year-old’s fourth start in Sydney and his record, which includes a Group Two Chairman’s Handicap victory in the autumn, suggests he relishes racing in the clockwise direction.

“If you take his three runs for me in Sydney, he’s been second in a Group One, he has won a Group Two and run sixth in a Group One,” Alexander said.

“Before that with Darren Weir he had one run where he won the Winter Cup so basically, he’s not far off being nearly unbeaten in Sydney.”

And while it might be a pipedream, if Gallic Chieftain can raid Sydney’s prize money coffers on Saturday, a start in the Melbourne Cup will move a step closer.

The horse currently sits number 44 in the order of entry but with natural attrition and a little luck, Alexander hopes he might sneak into the field.

“Our dream scenario would be if he won here and looked like he was going to get a run in the 2019 Melbourne Cup, he would go there,” he said.

 

Article: Just Horse Racing
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Three Runners in the Geelong Cup

Prominent racing identity Terry Henderson says he expects an extremely high-quality Geelong Cup next week with OTI Racing set to have up to three runners in the race.

Melbourne Cup contenders Steel Prince, Red Galileo, Yucatan, Prince of Arran and True Self are all expected to feature in Wednesday’s Geelong Cup nominations.

Henderson will be sweating on a Caulfield Cup run for third emergency True Self this Saturday, but a start is highly unlikely.

Prince of Arran is fourth emergency, also leaving connections needing to find an alternative to get him into the Melbourne Cup.

OTI Racing’s Grey Lion is certain return for a third crack at a Geelong Cup crown after struggling in the wet in the Group 1 The Metrop (2400m) at Randwick last start.

The eight-year-old veteran finished second behind Qewy in his Australian debut in the Geelong Cup in 2016 and ran fourth in 2017 behind Vengeur Masque in 2017.

Grey Lion didn’t feature during the 2018 spring carnival, but has returned in good form in 2019 under the care of trainer Matthew Smith in Sydney.

The veteran ran well behind Melbourne Cup contender Finche in the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes (2000m) two starts ago at Randwick.

He then struggled in the wet at Group 1 level when finishing almost nine lengths behind Come Play With Me.

“He doesn’t like that really wet ground. It just wasn’t his race at all,” Henderson said.

“But his previous run before that was good, while his first run (in August) was terrible.

“He is coming down here and we like the way he is progressing.

“But it’s going to be a really strong field, because you might even have a horse like Prince of Arran. My gut feeling is it will be (a strong Geelong Cup).”

Connections favour the Caulfield Cup over the Geelong Cup for seven-year-old mare True Self, who is trained by Ireland’s Willie Mullins, as they look to sneak her into the Melbourne Cup field.

Henderson said six-year-old import Haky, trained by John Hammond in France, was also a chance to line up in the Geelong Cup after an average first-up performance in the Herbert Power.

The genuine stayer finished 11.5 lengths off winner The Chosen One at Caulfield with Henderson disappointed in the ride.

“They just went too slowly. This horse is a stayer, he is the type of horse that could run in the Geelong Cup and be 10 lengths in front with 600m to go.”

 

Article: Geelong Advertiser. 

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Our Newest Acquisition: BLUE OCEAN

We are thrilled to have secured the promising 3yo colt from New Zealand, Blue Ocean. On the back of a most impressive and quite unlucky 3rd placing on debut earlier this month, Blue Ocean has now arrived at the stables of Phillip Stokes in Pakenham.

It is expected he will run by the end of October, gaining experience through the remainder of 2019.  He will then be aimed at the 3yo autumn 2020 classics in South Australia and Queensland, with a view to then graduating to Open Age racing in the spring of 2020.

Prior to his first race, Blue Ocean had three educational trials. The first two over unsuitably short distances were encouraging. He finished just behind the placegetters on both occasions. Stepping up to 1200m for this third and final trial, he showed his class and won the trial running away by a length.

Stepping out on debut at Taupo on September 20 over 1300m, Blue Ocean was most impressive. Slow to begin and at the tail of the field in the early stages, he worked to midfield and then displayed a strong turn of foot on straightening. Coming up the inside on the fence, he appeared green and was hampered for momentum at the 250m, before surging at the leader late. He finished 3rd, beaten just a neck.

View Blue Ocean’s race replay below. The jockey wears the yellow and grey silks and makes his way along the inside rail:

 

We are looking forward to seeing this exciting colt make his Australian debut in the coming weeks.

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