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Le Juge Breaks Through for First Group Victory

Continuing his extraordinary form, Le Juge stormed home to take the 2000m Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben, defeating stablemate Haripour who was backed into favouritism, but had to settle for third in a gripping three-way finish.

Trainer Chris Waller is extremely pleased with the result, noting that even after this long, yet rewarding preparation, Le Juge looked fantastic in the mounting yard. A horse who is now the winner of nine races, seven of which were during this campaign alone, Le Juge scaled to new heights in Saturday’s Group 3 contest.

Watch the Group 3 winning replay below:

 

Jockey Robbie Fradd was able to show the horse’s impressive ability to knuckle down and get the job done, finding a way to weave between runners in the straight and hit the lead inside the final 100m, fending off a determined challenge by Igraine.

Winning by half a head, Le Juge is now the 134th stakes winner for his pensioned Juddmonte Farms based sire Dansili. The question now remains as to where he will race next, with Waller looking to make a decision in the coming days.

Not to be outdone by Le Juge’s impressive efforts, stablemate Tom Melbourne maintained his bridesmaid status, running another solid second place to Archedemus at Doomben in the Listed Member’s Handicap over 1600m.

Watch Tom’s second place in the Listed Member’s Handicap below:

 

Under a strong hold from jockey James McDonald, Tom raced keenly throughout the early and middle stages before doing his best work late and unleashing his sharp turn of foot, however was unable to catch start to finish race leader Archedemus.

The 8yo gelding by Dylan Thomas now brings his record to 13-second places from 43 starts, with his second place strike rate rising to an incredible 30%. We hope to see Tom’s Australia Day winning form resurface in the coming weeks for his next start this preparation.

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Can Master Zephyr Provide Haydon with Dream Result?

Master Zephyr lines up in tomorrow Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap at Doomben, providing his trainer Tony Haydon a first Group runner in what will undoubtedly be an exciting day for the emerging stable.

A long-time assistant to Peter Moody at Caulfield, Tony was entrusted with the ultimate experience of travelling Black Caviar to Ascot in 2012. The dream to become a trainer in his own right saw Tony establish a training facility in Townsville in 2015, prior to a relocation to the Sunshine Coast. Now with a stable of around 20 horses, Tony is beginning to see the fruits of his labour and having Master Zephyr line up in this Group 3 Handicap is just desserts for a job well done thus far.

Above: Tony Haydon and the great mare Black Caviar 

Well-performed in Victoria, with city wins and country cup successes to his name, Master Zephyr made his way to the Sunshine Coast stable earlier this year in search of the Queensland Carnival riches. Nominated for the Doomben Cup in the coming weeks, he will contest Saturday’s race third-up and on the back of a most promising second placing two weeks ago in an Open Handicap.

Like a number of the OTI horses who find themselves in Queensland, many of them relish the sunshine and are able to turn around their form and confidence in racing. The now 7yo Master Zephyr is no exception and is showing Haydon that he has plenty of miles in his legs yet!  We are pleased for Tony Haydon to have Master Zephyr as his first Group runner, and would thoroughly enjoy being part of his first Group success.

While we will all be cheering for Master Zephyr, we also saddle up one of his competitors in Le Juge. Le Juge has been in extraordinary form, winning six of his last eight races for Chris Waller.  He has well and truly earned his crack at Group 3 level and appears capable of again being in the finish.

Below: Le Juge 

Chris Waller will also take Tom Melbourne to Doomben, contesting the Listed Member’s Handicap. With his deeds well known, a last start second placing in the Hawkesbury Cup showed that the desire remains for this talented galloper and a win here would not surprise.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Fairlight heads to rural New South Wales for annual Scone Cup Carnival. Not contesting the feature, Fairlight instead takes on a field of 16 in the BM78 Handicap over 2200m on Saturday. The ground looks to be in perfect condition for him, with the track currently rated within the soft range. His trainer Kris Lees reports that the stayer is fit, well and looking for his next challenge this weekend.

Above: Fairlight

To country Victoria at Donald, Tigre Royale steps out in the 1620m Maiden and Mighty Quinn steps up to the 2000m distance for the BM58. Both horses are trained locally in Ballarat, with Matt Cumani looking to see an improved performance from Mighty Quinn, whilst Archie Alexander is hoping to see Tigre Royal finish off well to justify running him over further next start. The Redwood gelding has come along in leaps about bounds this preparation both mentally and physically so we are looking forward to seeing where this horse takes us!

Above: Mighty Quinn

Rounding out the day is Tom Melbourne’s little sister Araaja in the BM84 JRA Handicap set for mares. Finishing in third place last start at Flemington for Chris Waller, Araaja loomed in the straight and looked the winner coming to the clock tower before her fitness gave out. The rise to 1800m and added fitness should suit and with apprentice jockey Ethan Brown on board she claims 1.5kgs.

Best of luck to all of their connections this weekend and happy racing!

 

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Weekly News Update

Please click below to watch our weekly news with Terry Henderson reporting from Pau in France and Shayne Driscoll in the Melbourne office.

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