While racing is under a dark cloud at Rosehill on Saturday it is a much different scenario some 800km away at Mornington with conditions looking ideal for racing with a predicted temperature of 24C and the sun to be shining.
The club is preparing for a huge day not only as it's the first big meeting that crowds will be attending at the club since COVID but also because it features the running of the 100th Mornington Cup.
The day's racing looks a beauty with the Mornington Cup a very strong edition with Chapada, Defibrillate, Nonconformist and Mount Popa all running while the sprint feature the Hareeba Stakes also has received a competitive line-up with the flying Ancestry set to take his place.
Willie Pike rides at the meeting and has been booked on favourites Dom To Shoot in Race 6 and Mount Popa in the Cup which is Race 7.
No doubt his mounts will attract plenty of support with the majority of the big gun hoops either in Sydney or out suspended.
Track conditions should be ideal with a firm track and fast times likely to be the theme of the day.
Expecting horses who can position in the First 4 to be advantaged on the day given the prospect of the firm track and hot conditions but Mornington has been racing very well in recent times and if you're good enough you can run on.
Race 7 – Mornington Cup 2400m G3
The race with the Golden Ticket for the winner as they get a spot locked into the Caulfield Cup later this year.
Given that the field has attracted some handy staying types headlined by the untapped Mount Popa (2.80) and Group 1 placed Chapada (8.50) (in below tweet).
Chapada heads back into the winners stall for the first time in over 600 days!
— Racing.com (@Racing) June 6, 2020
Early Speed: Expecting a good tempo here early with Irish Flame (7.00) leading on the back up from Glass Warrior (41.00) and Lord Belvedere (11.00) with Mount Popa being forward.
Chapada and Defribillate should slot in midfield with Nonconformist (9.00) while Aussie Nugget (11.00) is probably back near last.
Mount Popa clearly has a winning chance but feel at the price he is of sub 3.50 he is short enough.
While he was visually awesome in his win last time he did have things in favour as he was aided by an even tempo to the 600m making it a sprint home which suited him and a perfect ride from Tommy Berry.
He now is up 400m in distance on that effort and despite the horse having won at this distance in Europe he is unproven at the trip here and is coming to 2400m quickly for a Hawkes-trained stayer as he is only 3rd up.
Thought the form through the Australian Cup was a stronger reference and that they have been given a better platform for this race.
4️⃣ wins on the trot for Defibrillate. pic.twitter.com/odxtzFtbhW
— Racing.com (@Racing) February 20, 2021
Defibrillate (in above tweet) was the horse that took my eye there but not visually it was when looking at the sectionals as it indicated he ran his race through the middle stages and was weak late after being deep the trip in an oddly run race therefore indicating that he was a forgivable performance.
Chapada ran 3rd in that race and has obvious class on his side here so he must be respected, while Nonconformist was tracking well prior to that event and can be forgiven for his run as he was 4 wide the entire journey.
Aussie Nugget is crying out for 2400m and was good late in the Canberra Cup.
The start prior he was unlucky against Defibrillate.
The best roughie could be Skelm (34.00) who is coming into the race off a dominant win in the Stony Creek Cup and did run an unlucky 3rd in this event last year.
Race 6 – Mornington Guineas 1600m Open 3YOs
Good field assembled with the Group 1 placed Dom To Shoot (3.50) favourite from Cumberbatch (6.50).
A couple of horses here could be on South Australian Derby preps, so this race will be one worth doing the review on.
Early Speed: Lofty Star (16.00) should lead here with Black Penn (9.50) coming across from out wide to be right up there early.
Let's Karaka Deel (6.00) and Cumberbatch get the lovely trail with Dom To Shoot likely to go back in a bid to find his best form.
So Let's Toast (15.00) (in below tweet) and Confrontational (9.50) are also likely to be back in the field.
He's got talent this guy – So Let's Toast. pic.twitter.com/W8VMtMFUe5
— Racing.com (@Racing) October 31, 2020
Dom To Shoot looks short enough given he is coming off a very plain run which could have signalled his come to the end of his preparation.
His best is easily good enough to win this though and if you forgive last start then he's pretty easy to be with given prior to that he finished marginally behind the likes of Mo'unga and Cherry Tortoni in the CS Hayes Stakes.
I'm prepared to risk him here though as think he could be the tired horse and will likely spot some handy on pacers a start.
Cumberbatch is the map horse and won well at Flemington last time when beating the classy Annavisto.
Step in distance to 1600m looks ideal now 3rd up and his form this prep has been better than what we've seen of him before.
— Racing.com (@Racing) November 23, 2020
Query here is that he meets some very progressive types in So Let's Toast, Black Penn and Abreed (11.00) (in above tweet) who have rated similar to him and are longer prices.
So Let's Toast was the most interesting of those three runners here as he was a slashing 3rd in the Gothic Stakes last prep behind Endanger and gets on his home track here in what looks a race he has been set for.
Lofty Star (16.00) maybe the forgotten horse but he shouldn't be as he will lead and was a good winner last time at Sandown in strong time.
— Racing.com (@Racing) March 13, 2021
Race 8 – Hareeba Stakes 1200m Listed
Favourite is Ancestry (2.60) (in above tweet) who is on the quick back up after toying with his rivals last week at The Valley.
He won 5 of his last 6 starts and will come in here a short priced favourite.
Early Speed: Ancestry should lead clearly and control this race at his own leisure.
Sirius Suspect (7.00) may sit outside lead with Laverrod (9.50) close up.
Felicia (8.00) if she runs will be not too far away with How Womantic (9.50).
Expecting I'm Telling Ya (20.00) to be back last.
No doubt the horse to beat here is the flying Ancestry who scorched the turf last week at The Valley.
The key to him is that he likes to control his races and build the speed or slow the speed when he wants.
We saw when how he gets his own way how damaging he can be and given the map we're expecting the same here.
58.5kgs won't pull him up and even if he rates down 3 lengths from last week he is still very easily the horse to beat.
Laverrod at his best would provide a challenge but was disappointing last time when beaten at Echuca by Design Rogue.
Sirius Suspect has been a revelation during this preparation and was hard in contention in the Newmarket last time.
Verdict: Ancestry looks incredibly well placed here and should continue on his winning run.
Sirius Suspect is the biggest danger.
Suggested Bet – Ancestry (2.60) (Win)
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Got an unbelievable record in rain effected conditions.
Was huge first up against a better field and looks incredibly well placed to get back into the winner’s circle.
Really appreciate the support I’m getting in VIC, riding a double today @GeelongRaceClub with the second winner for @Cloud9Tbreds & @sladebloodstock aboard the 3yo Shocking colt Here To Shock – too fast for his rivals over 1209m! @Racing @CambridgeStud @KarakaChat @RichHillStud pic.twitter.com/rzzrfrxYPQ
— GLEN BOSS (@boss_glen) January 27, 2021
Unlucky when never clear in the Randwick Guineas and looked to have plenty to offer.
Tom Marquand on and 2000m look ticks.
60-1 seems the wrong price for this progressive type.
Good luck punters!