Beau Mertens rides Stylish Miss (inside) to victory at The Valley (Image: Racing Photos)

Beau Mertens rides Stylish Miss (inside) to victory at The Valley (Image: Racing Photos)

Trakus Wrap – Raceday at The Valley

Race 1 - Friends of Epworth Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

Jockey Daniel Stackhouse’s aggressive riding out of the gates proved the difference for the winner Pure Emotion, who was able to cross the field from barrier 10 and find the position outside the leader and runner-up Magic Mila. The filly hit a race-high peak speed of 68.5km/h at the 1000m mark and reeled off fast splits of 11.11 and 11.75 between the 1000m and the 600m to set up the win. The sectional star was Dan O’Sullivan’s filly Truly Discreet who settled at the rear of the field before reeling off the fastest sectionals from the 800m to the winning post, including a slick 11.91 split for the final 200m.

Race 2 - Bidfood Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

Miss Vesper and Our Gladiator went quick early in the day’s first 1000m scamper, which was run in 58.55 – only marginally slower than the day’s other 1000m race. The entire field reeled off sub-11 second splits between the 800m and the 600m, making Unique Lovely’s turn of speed at the end of a 1000m race quite incredible - her final 200m sectional of 11.44 was nearly half a second faster than her nearest rival. Momentum appeared to be the key here as jockey Brandon Stockdale was able to extricate the filly from a cosy position inside the chasing pack, whilst allowing her to charge through her gears and consistently reel off superior sectionals to her rivals.

WATCH: Brandon and Frankie Stockdale combine with Unique Lovely

Race 3 - Zouki Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

Another 1000m race where the speed was on early and the entire field was at their top from the jump. From the good barrier (2), jockey Chris Symons was able to save all the ground on winner Essence of Terror, taking a rails run and covering less distance than all but one of her rivals. While she smashed the clock with a race-high top speed of 72km/h and a 10.33 split for the 800m to the 600m, Daisy Doute’s wide run proved telling as she faded to finish last. Zara Bay showed that she’s in for a good campaign, reeling off the best last 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m sectionals of the race from the rear of the field to collect all but the winner in the run to the line.

Race 4 - Kane Constructions Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

While he was much-maligned by punters for his ride on Leodoro in the day’s final event, Beau Mertens’ steer on Race 4 winner Stylish Miss was nothing short of inspired. While the filly tends to settle off the speed in most of her races, a lack of early pace convinced Mertens to press on from the wide barrier and assume the lead rather than snag her back to find cover. While the Darren Weir-trained filly reeled off the fastest splits between the 1400m and the 1000m, Mertens was able to steal a couple of cheap sectionals before the 400m, allowing the filly to defy her challengers in the final furlong. Beluga Blue will likely find her way into plenty of black books after a slashing run from the rear of the field. The South Australian raider reeled off the fastest sectionals from the last 800m and was the only horse to break 12 seconds for the final furlong. 

Race 5 - GJK Facility Services Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

Like Tshahisti did last week at Flemington, Lord Da Vinci showed punters that these tough Tasmanian gallopers can absorb plenty of pressure on the speed. The Scott Brunton-trained galloper sat outside the leader, Perth visitor Military Reign, and reeled off sub-12 second 200m splits from the 1000m. While Military Reign’s run peaked at the 300m, Lord Da Vinci was able to find plenty and even out-gunned closers Camdus (11.76) and Ruettiger (11.78) with an 11.74 sectionals for the final 200m. 

WATCH: Lord da Vinci's powerful finish

Race 6 - Epworth Medical Imaging Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

Another race that was dominated from on the speed, with the first two horses out ending up the first two past the post. Liberty Song showed her customary dash to lead and set a decent tempo, ensuring the race was run in a marginally quicker time (1.11.14) than the previous 1200m contest. Like Lord Da Vinci, it was Revolving Door’s ability to absorb the pressure outside the leader and reel off consistently strong sectionals – including a lightning 10.76 split between the 1000m and the 800m where he reached a race-high top speed of 69.9km/h – that saw him take the spoils for Clinton McDonald. Toosbuy was the eye-catcher late in the race, reeling off the fastest last 600m (35.32) of the race. 

Race 7 - Silver Thomas Hanley Plate

Race Summary | Sectionals

Black Tomahawk and Megablast traded blows with the fastest splits of the race from the 1400m and while it looked like Megablast had the race shot to bits when he produced a 12.22 split between the 400m and the 200m, Black Tomahawk reeled him in with a final 200m gallop that was more than half a second quicker than the Kiwi (11.86 v 12.45). It’s worth noting the ride of Jye McNeil who, after settling off the fence at the rear of the field, allowed Black Tomahawk to work into the race behind the leading bunch, rather than plot a course out wide around the bend. Although the gelding covered more distance (2065m) than the placegetters, he covered significantly less ground than several other backmarkers, including the well-supported Rose Of Virginia (2072m) that seemed to wobble around the tight Valley circuit. 

Race 8 - William Hill Travis Harrison Cup


A tightly compacted field gave the appearance that the leaders went relatively slow in the day’s penultimate race and this was backed up by the overall time which, at 1.37.61, was slower than the day’s other mile event won by Stylish Miss. In saying that, the leaders Mr Individual and First Course went like scalded cats between the 1400m and the 1200m with an 11.02 split to cross the field and, while their respective riders tried to give them a mid-race breather, this clearly told at the end of the race. Credit to the winner Petrology who, after settling at the rear of the field, was forced to cover more ground and reel off superior sectionals than all of his rivals to claim the win. The gelding boasted the best final 600m sectionals of the race, including a brilliant 11.46 sprint for the final 200m which saw him reel in Magic Consol.  

Race 9 - Embassy Print Solutions Handicap

Race Summary | Sectionals

On a day when he claimed a maiden metropolitan double, Brandon Stockdale’s wining ride on Catch That Cat was one for the young apprentice to be proud of. The Echuca-trained mare covered significantly less ground (1210m) than all her rivals – including 13m and 9m less than the placegetters - thanks to a rail-hugging ride by Stockdale whose decision to play for luck on the rail paid dividends. Niminypiminy was huge in defeat, covering 13m more than the winner and letting down with the best last 800m (46.20), 600m (34.89), 400m (23.29) and 200m (11.29) sectionals of the race. The 1.11.57 overall time for the race was slower than the day’s two other 1200m events. 

WATCH: Catch That Cat's thrilling win