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Big Duke proves Melbourne Cup credentials with soft win in the St Leger
Oct 18, 2017
Darren Weir-trained Big Duke went from a Melbourne Cup hopeful to serious contender as he took out the reinstated St Leger and is now following Prince Of Penzance's path to the first Tuesday in November.
Brenton Avdulla had Big Duke travelling in the box seat and looked the winner a long way out as he held off Auvray by three-quarters of a length while they drew away from their rivals at Randwick on Saturday to the relief of Australian Bloodstock's Jamie Lovett.
"In the fair dinkum department he had to win that race to be a contender in the next month," Lovett said. "He did and Brenton was able to look after him a little bit because there are bigger races to come.
"'Weiry' has been training him for two miles, so you saw how strong he was at the end of 2600m and he will get better.
"We thought he was a top-10 chance in the Melbourne Cup before that - he is a top-five chance now."
Big Duke has been made a $26 Melbourne Cup chance, in from $34, and will head to the Moonee Valley Cup for his final lead-up. His performance added Big Duke to an impressive arsenal for the Weir stable.
"That is what we wanted to see from that race," Weir's foreman Jarrod McLean said. "Prince Of Penzance ran in the Herbert Power on this day, then a Moonee Valley Cup before winning the Melbourne Cup and this bloke will follow the same path.
"We always thought he's a realistic chance. Amelie's Star was really good last week and I haven't laid eyes on the Japanese horse [Admire Deus] yet but he's in Warrnambool now so I'm looking forward to getting back and seeing him tomorrow.
"But this horse is a good stayer and he's had a great preparation for it, so really looking forward to what the next month holds for him."
The reports were good from Avdulla, who had the race under control a long way from home and just eased Big Duke through his gears.
"He has got group 1 ability. Today I travelled really sweetly. The tempo was good," Avdulla said. "He was the winner a long way out.
"I went up the rise with plenty [in reserve]. When we got to the front, he had a bit of a look around but I reckon if Auvray got to me he would have kept running for me. It was soft in the end."
Auvray was once again brave with Kerrin McEVoy getting held up at a crucial stage, and trainer Richard Freedman may consider continuing to the Melbourne Cup with the rejuvenated stayer.
"He was better than when he won the Colin Stephen and we left him in the Melbourne Cup for a reason," Freedman said. "We will go and find a race in Melbourne and if we get some rain, even better."
"We had a bit of a chequered passage from halfway home. We were unlucky because Big Duke had a break on me. My horse ran fantastic though and I'm sure there's options for him down in Melbourne now."
Sectionals indicate Tosen’s ticket to Stardom is booked
Oct 18, 2017
DARREN Weir has always harboured a massive opinion of Tosen Stardom and he finally delivered in the Toorak Handicap and sectionals suggest another Group 1 win awaits him this spring.
His jockey Damian Lane said Tosen Stardom was travelling so well before the turn he was giggling to himself.
When he let him go he produced a closing sectional for the last 400m of 23.52sec with a big weight of 57kg after sitting wide throughout.
He covered 1631m which was 13m further than the runner-up Sovereign Nation.
Third placegetter Petrology bettered his last 400m coming home in 23.49sec but Tosen Stardom ran eight metres further than him.
A matter of how far for Tosen Stardom as stallion breaks through
Oct 18, 2017
That Tosen Stardom had the ability to win a group 1 was never questioned.
But whether he could achieve that feat remained unanswered until his breakthrough group 1 win in the Toorak Handicap on Saturday at Caulfield.
Having arrived at the Darren Weir stable from Japan with the goal of winning a race that matched his talent and pedigree, he had come close before without saluting.
That's why the trainer took a sigh of relief when Tosen Stardom, ridden by Damian Lane, crossed the line first in the 1600-metre handicap to record Weir's second group 1 for the day, another first for the Victorian trainer.
"It's just a relief that it is done because he is such a talented horse that has been plagued by problems that has got this amazing pedigree to back it up," Weir said.
"It is important that he is a group 1 winner now."
Weir arrived at the track confident that after three runs in relatively quick succession he had managed to get Tosen Stardom fit enough to win a big race.
"The key to today was to being able to get a few runs into him," Weir said.
Lane sensed that fitness as the field straightened with Tosen Stardom travelling so well he couldn't wait to unleash him in the run to line.
"It was a matter of how far when I straightened," Lane said.
"I was getting itchy fingers, getting sick of holding him."
Lane thought the Emirates Stakes at Flemington could be a good race for Tosen Stardom now he has broken the duck and Weir confirmed he would not be tempted to run him in the Cox Plate.
With the group 1 in the bag and the horse fit enough for Weir to move forward with confidence, Tosen Stardom is likely to feature at the front of the big miles in Spring.
"He's got the ability to do it. It's just whether his body lets him do it. He's in great shape now," Weir said.
And he can now run free of the pressure that was slowly building.
"He's a really good horse. He'll make a great stallion," Weir said.
Deus hitout delights Williams
Oct 04, 2017
Craig Williams has given a glowing endorsement of Cups contender Admire Deus after piloting the Japanese raider in a strong gallop at Werribee on Tuesday morning.
The Darren Weir-trained stayer was given his most serious piece of work since arriving in Melbourne seven days ago, warming up with stablemate Sixties Groove before working solo from the 1600m chute.
Williams, who partnered the entire for the first time during a recent trip to Japan, let Admire Deus build into his work gradually before clicking him up a gear at the 800m and was delighted with the response from the seven-year-old.
"I've been really happy with his preparation and Darren Weir has been down to look at him and he's really happy with the way he looks since he's come out," Williams said.
"He was in good order this morning, nice and fluent in his action and every time I asked him he responded nicely.
"He is actually rated higher than those two horses (Admire Rakti and Hokko Brave) and his form suggests he can win the Caulfield Cup and he can win the Melbourne Cup.
"Most importantly, so far in his work he's felt like he has brought that out to Melbourne which is fantastic."
Williams' 23-day careless riding suspension ends on Saturday night and the star jockey said he was looking forward to returning to the saddle for the pointy end of the Spring Carnival.
But it's looking likely the Caulfield Cup (2400m) will be the first Group 1 race he tackles after forfeiting key rides on Caulfield Guineas Day to partner Vega Magic in the $10 million Everest at Randwick.
"I've only had two rides on him (Vega Magic) for two Group 1 wins and when I got the phone call (to confirm I was riding him) I was delighted," he said.
"His last performance was excellent, he fits the bill for the race and I know the stable is very confident with the way he has trained on.
"If I was stuck back home at Caulfield for the day I would be delighted as well and it's just a shame that these two feature racedays have to clash.
"It was a difficult decision (to ride in Sydney), not only because there are four Group 1 races on the day, but because it's a platform for other feature races to come."
ATC ANNOUNCES MULTI-PLATINUM HIT MAKER JASON DERULO TO PERFORM AT THE EVEREST – THE WORLD’S RICHEST RACE ON TURF
Oct 04, 2017
September 21, 2017 5:43 pm
The Australian Turf Club today announced multi-platinum recording artist Jason Derulo will perform a free concert for racegoers at the inaugural The Everest, an exciting new horse race with prizemoney of $10 million.
The Everest will be run at Royal Randwick Racecourse over 1200 metres on 14 October 2017. The $10 million prize pool not only makes this event the richest 1200 metre race in the world, but also the richest race on turf in the world.
Derulo will perform a free and exclusive, 60-minute concert for all ticket holders after the last race, in The Theatre of the Horse – part of Royal Randwick’s $170 million refurbishment.
Known for his flawless vocals and precision choreography, Derulo’s latest single ‘If I’m Lucky’ is rocketing up the charts and currently sits at #9 on Shazam Future Hits. His other recent hits include ‘Swalla’, ‘Talk Dirty’, ‘If It Aint Love’, ‘Hello Friday’, ‘Want To Want Me’ and ‘Trumpets’.
Derulo said of the upcoming appearance: “I can’t wait to get down to Australia for The Everest, it’s going to be huge!”
Australian Turf Club Head of Commercial, Jeffrey Lemon said: “The Everest is set to become Sydney’s premier spring racing event and what better way to launch the world’s richest race on turf than with a free performance by one of the world’s hottest performers.”
The Everest is a joint venture between Racing NSW and the Australian Turf Club, who together share a vision to see Sydney racing explode onto the world stage. Royal Randwick itself is an international landmark, annually attracting visitors from all over the world to enjoy its premium facilities and magnificent outlook in the heart of Sydney.
It’s not only international artists appearing at the Everest, The Australian Turf Club has secured agreement with Australian Bloodstock to have former Japanese galloper Brave Smash represent the Club in the $10 million The Everest at Royal Randwick on October 14.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Racing James Heddo said the ATC was delighted to partner with Brave Smash who is currently rated in the top five of betting for The Everest.
“The ATC is committed to building the international profile of our Carnivals and our racing, and to attract more overseas competitors to our racecourses. Brave Smash offers a point of difference to The Everest with his international background and pedigree.
Australian Bloodstock Director, Jamie Lovett said:
“In Brave Smash, we believe we have the X-Factor in what is already shaping as the biggest sprint race in the world, and one that we feel privileged to be part of.
BIG DUKE " Stayer of the Year 2017"
Sep 12, 2017
Big Duke’s NSW Stayer of the Year award at 2017 Racing’s Night of Champions.
Join the Winners Race with Australian Bloodstock
Aug 28, 2017
Big Duke - Celebrating Owners
Aug 30, 2017
Chairmans G2, 2600M
NOW ON HIS OWN RACING “AVENUE”
May 02, 2017
CLAUDE Renshaw is from a family steeped in racing tradition.
His father (also Claude) raced the brilliant and versatile Group 1 performer Shaftesbury Avenue (trained by the late Bart Cummings), who won no less than six Group 1 races in the early 1990s.
Now, he is enjoying his own racing ride – thanks to his involvement with leading syndicators Australian Bloodstock.
With an interest in “about 25 horses”, Renshaw part-owns promising stayer Big Duke, placed in the 3200m Group 1 Sydney Cup at Randwick on April 22 and a definite contender for Melbourne Cup honours at Flemington in November.
He also recently celebrated an international success with former English filly Delectation, who won a Group 3 race at Cologne last month on debut for Germany’s Andreas Wohler, the training wizard who won the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Protectionist.
Delectation, now unbeaten from three starts, is heading for the French Guineas at Deauville on May 14 – and if she performs well, a return trip to England is in the offing for the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 17.
Renshaw, who grew up at Binnaway in central western New South Wales before later moving to Sydney, is currently in charge of developing a Wagyu cattle operation in Queensland.
And whilst he isn’t getting to see as many of his horses race as he would like, he is certainly keeping up to date with their progress.
“Big Duke has given us some terrific thrills with his performances since coming to Australia, and he ran really well in the Sydney Cup,” Renshaw said.
FROM A GILGRANDA MAIDEN TO WINNING THE MELBOURNE CUP
Aug 27, 2017
FROM A GILGRANDA MAIDEN TO WINNING THE MELBOURNE CUP
IT’S a mighty long way from winning a maiden race at Gilgandra to standing in the winner’s stall at Flemington and celebrating a Melbourne Cup success.
But John Hunter has scaled those lofty heights – and says it would not have been possible had he not become involved with leading syndicators Australian Bloodstock.
As one of the owners of 2014 Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist, the Mendooran (NSW) farmer understandably rated the German stayer’s runaway victory, with English jockey Ryan Moore aboard, as his greatest thrill in racing.
“It’s been a wonderful association and, of course, still is with Australian Bloodstock,” Hunter said.