News Article

The Flash will keep crowd roaring

12 / 02 / 2012 Article by: Editor
Geegees Blackflash with trainer John Luttrell at his Brighton stables yesterday
icon Click to enlarge

WHEN the starter hits the button to release the field of 10 in today’s $225,000 AAMI Hobart Cup there will be a thunderous roar from the crowd that is expected to pack the Tattersall’s Park racing complex (weather permitting).

But that won’t be anywhere near as loud as the roar if local star galloper Geegees Blackflash emerges triumphant in the Group 3 race over 2200 metres.

Geegees Blackflash’s trainer John Luttrell is taking this year’s race in his stride, as is the horse that was strolling around the stable yesterday as if he didn’t have a care in the world – and why should he.

Geegees Blackflash is unbeaten from four starts this preparation, opening with an incredible first-up win in the Newmarket Handicap that is regarded as the state’s most prestigious sprint race.

He followed up with a win at weight-for-age over 1400m and another weight-for=age win over 1600m at his subsequent outing.

Last start he blitzed a strong field in the Summer Cup carrying top weight of 60 kilograms.

It was his latest win that most likely prevented a few interstate hopefuls of making the trip across Bass Strait.

His presence however hasn’t stopped some of the better-performed stayers in Victoria from taking on the local hero.

Rainbow Styling (Zabeel-Done That) is a class act that has won at Group 3 level and is coming off an impressive win at Caulfield in an open handicap over 1800m on Australia Day defeating Port Veil and overseas galloper Drunken Sailor that contested last year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.

The team Hawkes-trained gelding is a serious stayer that has won eight and been placed 11 times from 37 outings.

Rainbow Styling is part-owned by Nick Moraitis and carries the same colours as the great Might And Power that also was owned by Moraitis.

Viking Hero, prepared at Flemington by Michael Moroney, won the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes and last season campaigned in Queensland during the winter so a wet track on Sunday could enhance his chances.

The interesting runner is New Zealand-owned and trained six-year-old Roi D’Jeu that has exceptional form at home.

He won the Thames Cup two starts back and at his most recent outing he was a game second to Six O’Clock News that has subsequently won the Wellington Cup.

Tasmanian jockey Stephen Maskiell has secured the ride on Roi D’Jeu and victory would give Maskiell his fourth success in the race.

Roi D’Jeu’s trainer Shaune Ritchie contacted Maskiell to offer him the ride and the Tasmanian Racing Hall of Fame inductee accepted in a flash.

“I was very happy to accept the offer to ride Roi D’Jeu because the horse has good form,” Maskiell said.

“He was only beaten a head by Six O’Clock News at his last start at Trentham and the winner went on to win the Wellington Cup,” he said.

Fieldmaster, prepared by Patrick Payne, won the Jockey Club Cup in Hobart last Sunday and was very impressive so he must be rated a genuine winning chance in today’s race while third placegetter in the Jockey Club Cup, Placement from Victoria, also rates as chance because she will be improved by that outing.

Of the local hopes Dream Flyer looms as the next best after Geegees Blackflash given his impressive Devonport Cup win and that he worked home nicely for second in the Jockey Club Cup last Sunday.

But whatever the outcome on Sunday Tasmanian racing will be the winner because while this year’s AAMI Hobart Cup might have only 10 runners, it is a better quality than in previous years with this year’s average rating of 89 from the 20 horses nominated.

This compares favorably with next week’s $300,000 Mornington Cup that attracted 21 nominations and has an average rating of 83 and that race also offers the winner ballot-free entry into the 2012 Caulfield Cup.