Dream not over just yet for Benbow
Jockey Jason Benbow hasn’t been seen since a fall at Morphettville in November 2022, but the well-liked rider is clinging onto the hope of one day making it back into the saddle.
“It’s still a grind at the moment, I haven’t been booked in, but I need to have surgery to have the hardware taken out, the rod and the pin, then after that I’ll pretty much need another three months of bed rest after that,” Benbow told Racing.com.
“The longer it goes, the harder it is. The doctors have hinted I should perhaps prepare for a career after riding, but I’m still holding onto hope.”
Victoria’s next generation of apprentice jockeys revealed
Racetracks in Victoria will be graced with 11 fresh faces, as Racing Victoria unveil their next class of their Apprentice Jockey Training Program.
The new apprentices (with indentured trainers in brackets) are Brittany Button (Gerald Egan), Nadia Daniels (Pat Carey), Sage Duric (Phillip Stokes), Olivia East (Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr), Stephanie Hateley (Anthony and Sam Freedman), Samantha Kennedy-Roessling (Matt Laurie), Ruby Lamont (Michael Kent), Eliza Lloyd (Luke Oliver), Chris Pang (Leon and Troy Corstens), Hayley Spitse (Ben, JD and Will Hayes) and Zoe Waller (Julien Welsh).
Imperatriz primed to ride the lightning
Star sprinter Imperatriz (I Am Invincible) got the racing world talking with a trial that appeared below her stratospheric ability last week, but she is right on track for the G1 Black Caviar Lightning S. on Saturday, according to trainer Mark Walker.
“There was a lot of talk before the weekend that Mr Brightside's jump-outs weren't that great,” he told Punters.
“Look what he did (on Saturday, winning the G1 CF Orr S.). These good horses have checks and balances every day and there's nothing out of place. Trials are different to race day and we look forward to Saturday.
“They don't give Group 1 wins away so you've got to have them pretty ready.
“We think she’s pretty ready.”
Can South Australian trainers chart a Melbourne Cup course?
Trainers Dan Clarken and Opie MacGillivray have a big opinion of their talented stayer The Map (Alpine Eagle), who is fresh off winning the Listed JRA Plate at Morphettville on Saturday.
The pair have big dreams for the 5-year-old mare, looking ahead to November with the dream of making it happen.
“In our heart and in our dreams, the thought is the Melbourne Cup this year,” MacGillivray told Racing.com.
“But it is so hard to get there, with everything you have to do and the hoops you have to jump through to qualify.
“I suppose nothing's off the table, but we haven’t really thought too far ahead.”
Lismore the kick-off points for Country Championships
One of the highlights of the year for country trainers in New South Wales, the Country Championships, will reach its much anticipated commencement on Saturday.
The Lismore Turf Club plays host to the initial qualifying race, all of which carry prizemoney of $150,000 each.
That pails in comparison to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for trainers and connections, with the Country Championship Final at Royal Randwick carrying a purse of $1 million.
Stewart’s masterpiece a Karrakatta hope
Trainer Russell Stewart enjoyed a dream debut with his filly Golden Kathleen (Leonardo Da Hinchi) at Bunbury on Saturday, but the horseman has bigger ambitions in mind for the first progeny of her stallion to race.
“Off that win she would have to be my number one seed,” Stewart said on Tabradio.
“To my eye she looked good and then the clock backed it up.
“She put them to the sword and didn’t do it the easiest way around.
“She broke 33 seconds and did that from the breeze.”
Sears hope to follow the Yellow Brick road
Trainers Tony and Maddysen Sears are already firmly entrenched amongst the most powerful stables, but they are hoping that stable star Yellow Brick (The Mission) can continue to propel them to dizzying heights.
“He’s been back in work a month and he's not ready to start trialling yet,” Tony Sears told Racing Queensland.
“We’re going to take our time with him and nothing is set in stone just yet but the Stradbroke will be his goal.”
The 4-year-old will be looking to add to his biggest success so far, the G3 Gold Coast Guineas.
Spywire to target Blue Diamond
The talented son of Trapeze Artist, Spywire, has bounced well through his third placing in the R. Listed Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast last month, and a successful Cranbourne jump-out on Monday has solidified plans to send him to the G1 Blue Diamond S.
“He was there to have a nice jump-out due to the fact that he hasn't raced in a little while, so Johnny (Allen) had the sit,” assistant trainer Jack Turnbull (for Ciaron Maher) told Racing.com.
“He began very quickly, (he) travelled strong. He just wanted to come back a touch just to see how he would respond and he was okay. In the straight, he let him improve and he's got gears, he's a very talented horse.
“I think that's his attribute, to let him roll to a degree, he's got plenty of natural speed and a lot of horses can't go that well with him. He had a good blow; we've got 12 days now until the Diamond. He can do something small Monday and then he'll be ready to go.”
Yellow Sam to focus on Tasmania
The Lindsey Smith-trained Yellow Sam (Ready For Victory) will continue to enjoy the hospitality of local horsewoman Imogen Miller, as the 4-year-old mare looks to build on her G3 Mystic Journey S. in the Apple Isle.
“We always thought we would try and get some blacktype into her as she was a black-type horse,” Smith told Tas Racing.
“Imogen Miller has done a wonderful job. (Fred Kersley) is an underrated rider, he proves it time and time again.
“She will stay here with Imogen (to chase further black-type success).”
Master Fay to traverse Tasman
Chad Ormsby has a lot of faith in his talented sprinter Master Fay (Deep Field), so much to the point that the 6-year-old gelding will be targeted at some major targets in Australia for his autumn campaign.
“He is going to fly to Melbourne on the 25th (of February) and then we will assess what race we will have a go at,” Ormsby told loveracing.nz.
“He hasn’t got the highest rating yet, so whether he goes straight into those fields or he has to go over there and win a race at a lower grade (I'm not sure).
“We would like to have a go at the Newmarket, but it's just whether or not he gets in with his rating. Hopefully being a last-start Group 3 winner might sneak him in as I would like to have a crack at some of the bigger ones.
“We are waiting on the handicapper to see whether he sneaks into that Newmarket, but there are plenty of other sprint races before the end of March that he can have a go at. If we are not looking like we are making those Group 1s, we can change tack and try at one of those other sprint races.”