It wasn’t so much making hay while the sun shone as the cool blasts and chilly temperatures made it more like a day for ice cube production than fodder manufacture at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
But Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh is looking forward to those long summer evenings at the inner city venue, when he hopes to reap a rich harvest with his speedy filly Wild Rain in the 955-metre sprint races that are a centrepiece of the Friday night meetings at the track.
The pacy daughter of Manhattan Rain came through under Glen Boss to win by an impressive 2½-length margin in the Pantry Packer Handicap over 1000 metres at the circuit, the $4 shot scoring with ease from another $4 chance in Pilly’s Wish, with long shot Its Poet’s Day ($17) third in what was a hectic scamper.
It was Wild Rain’s fourth win in nine starts and Kavanagh believes she is just the sort of sharp, agile type who could take a lot of beating in the short-course dashes held at the Valley during the summer.
“She’s been a work in progress, and she’s a hard-going little thing. This is the first time there’s ever been massive pace like that [in her races]. We are looking forward to getting her here for the 955s in the summer time.”
Boss agreed: “The 955 would be a perfect scenario. She’s fast out of the gates, puts herself in a winning position and she’s very quick off the bend here.”
Three-kilo claiming apprentice Jessica Payne finished third in that race, but just over an hour earlier she found herself in the winners’ circle after notching her first win at Moonee Valley — and her sixth in the metropolitan area — aboard the Patrick Payne-trained Raposo.
Payne, 23, has had an interrupted career due to injury but she showed plenty of patience and a terrific sense of timing to score on the $3.90 shot in the 1200m Device Technologies Handicap for three year olds.
Raposo, a son of Iffraaj, has a tendency to miss the jump and give himself plenty to do in his races. But he put the writing on the wall over the course and distance a fortnight earlier when narrowly beaten by Duke of Brunswick, and he made amends when he swooped fast and late, catapulting past Valderrama ($8.50) to win by three-quarters of a length.
Trainer Payne believes there is plenty of upside, but acknowledged that he is not the easiest of rides.
“He comes out a bit slow, but you can’t rush him because he will pull mid race. You need to let him find his feet and for things to work out after that.”
Patrick Moloney made every post a winning one in the Kane Constructions Handicap for three-year-old fillies to score aboard the Pat Carey-trained Shakespearean Lass ($4.80).
The trainer said his filly had simply been all at sea down the straight course at Flemington last time out when she had been well behind one of yesterday’s rivals, Faction, and the return to a turning circuit suited her – as did the application of a visor for the first time.
“I think they are a beautiful bit of gear, they are a bet each way – they still allow horse a bit of vision. She has got good speed. We knew if we jumped well and could sit outside the leader or lead and get our way, we would have been pretty happy.
“I used a visor on Thong Classic when he won the Moonee Valley Cup Cup here. I was probably the first person to use them in Australia – they had to make a rule to include them as gear. I have always been a great believer in them. They just keep the fight up in the horses.”
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