HOW SWEET SHE IS
Dolly favoured to shine in Jewel Prelude on Sunny Coast
THE team behind unbeaten Rockhampton filly Sweet Dolly insists there will be no repeat of the wayward antics of her last win when she takes another step towards proving she is one of Queensland’s best two-year-olds today.
Sweet Dolly was an eyecatcher in more ways than one when the Kevin Hansentrained filly got home over the top of classy Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustacetrained juvenile Fake Love to score a Stakes win in the Calaway Gal Stakes at Eagle Farm in December.
As she was launching her
run, Sweet Dolly veered out abruptly and caused interference, with Hansen feeling her wobbly racing manners may have been caused by her baulking at the trackside big screen TV.
The 69-year-old says it was the only time the filly has ever done anything wrong and there are no concerns ahead of her return to the races in the Jewel Prelude for 2YO Fillies (1000m) at the Sunshine Coast today.
Hansen, who was once the premier trainer in Gladstone and also trained at Ipswich for almost two decades, says Sweet Dolly is the best horse he has ever put the polish on.
His high opinion was matched by prospective buyers who offered $400,000 for the filly who was bought for just $1500 as a weanling.
“That sort of money might have been tempting for the owners but the reality is she was never going to be on the market,” Hansen said.
“She was green in her last run and did a fair bit wrong, she shied at the big screen next to the track.
“But apart from that she has never done anything wrong and we trialled her recently and she was perfect.
“I’ve also put winkers on her to make doubly-sure that she runs straight.”
Sweet Dolly is the wellbacked $2 favourite to make a winning return today before her main mission of the $500,000 2YO Jewel on the Gold Coast a fortnight later.
Before claiming a Stakes win at her second start, Sweet Dolly bolted in by almost six lengths on debut in Townsville.
Jockey Justin Stanley holds such a lofty opinion of her that he believed she could be a Golden Slipper contender.
Hansen however, thought that was too high a bridge to climb.
But he is confident in her prospects today, although he
admits the widest barrier (10) is not ideal.
“I thought a Golden Slipper kind of preparation would be throwing her into the deep end too much,” Stanley said.
“I’ve only mapped out the Jewel for her at the moment and then she might have a little ease up and get ready for winter carnival.
“I expect her to go really well on Saturday, I am a bit worried about the barrier but that’s the only thing that is worrying me.
“In saying that the horse that is the hardest to beat (second favourite) Glorious Ruby is drawn out there with us.”
CHAMPION jockey Hugh Bowman can make a compelling case for his Group 1 rides, Kolding and Montefilia at Randwick today.
Bowman is banking on Kolding’s impressive record over the Randwick mile course – and the improving track conditions - going into the $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
The Hall of Fame jockey also revealed top filly Montefilia, his ride in the $500,000
Surround Stakes (1400m), is one of the horses that excites him most going into the Sydney autumn carnival.
If Bowman can win on one or both his big-race rides, it will move him closer to his career goal of riding 100 Group 1 winners.
Bowman goes to Randwick with 97 Group 1 wins (92 on Australian racetracks) and hopes to soon join the elite group of jockeys that have ridden a century or more major races winners that includes Damien Oliver, George Moore and Jim Cassidy.
Kolding has been specifically aimed at the Chipping Norton Stakes by trainer Chris
Waller, who has given the gelding two runs from a spell for successive seconds in the Expressway Stakes and Apollo Stakes.
When Kolding scored his Group 1 wins in the 2019 Epsom Handicap and 2020 George Main Stakes, both over the Randwick 1600m trip, he was third-up into his race campaign, as he will be for the Chipping Norton Stakes.
“Kolding’s two runs back have been super,’’ Bowman said. “He worked well during the week and is in great order.’’
But Bowman doesn’t waste words. He conceded Kolding’s chances hinge on the Randwick track rating which was a soft 6 late yesterday, but there was a forecast for some showers overnight.
“Kolding is not at his best in rain-affected conditions,’’ Bowman said.
“I don’t think he will win on a wet track as those two mares will thrive in those conditions, Colette and Verry Elleegant. For him to win, they have to be off their top and he has to be at his top.
If the track rating remains a soft 6 or even improves today, Kolding’s chances soar.
In TAB Fixed Odds betting, Kolding was $4.80 behind Verry Elleegant at $2.60 favouritism with Colette at $3.
Montefilia, winner of the Flight Stakes and Spring Champion Stakes at Group 1 level last spring, resumes in the Surround Stakes at$11.
“Six weeks ago Montefilia was the horse I was most excited about going into the autumn carnival.,” Bowman said. “She is a top-class filly.’’
AUSTRALIA’S slim hopes of a Steven Bradbury-style qualification for the World Test Championship final now rest on England transforming from hapless bunnies to roaring lions in the fourth Test match against India.
Could the Old Enemy really produce the most stirring response from an embarrassing total since, well, India did exactly that on Boxing Day two months ago?
It seems implausible. But perhaps the Barmy Army should mail Tim Paine and Justin Langer honorary one-game memberships just in case.
The scenario for the Test Grand Final, for which New Zealand has already qualified, is simple.
If India wins or draws the fourth
Test – which begins on Thursday back at Ahmedabad’s monstrous 132,000-seat stadium – it will play the Black Caps.
But if England wins then Australia goes through. How it came to this is anything but simple.
In what was the shortest Test match since World War II – 1935, to be exact – quality strike bowlers James Anderson, Jofra Archer, Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma were reduced to spectators and spin bowlers were superhuman wizards.
Although that might be a touch unfair on Ishant, given the tailender who can barely hold a bat somehow smashed the first six of what was an unforgettable match.
The day-night Test was over inside two days as England captain Joe Root’s stunning 5-8 was overshadowed in a blink because one session later he was opening the bowling in the fourth innings.
Root’s team was skittled for 112 and 81, and in between India was rolled for 145 before claiming a 10-wicket win.
England greats cried foul after the match. The doctored pitch was a disgrace, they huffed, and the BCCI should be punished.
The rest of the world cried in laughter. There’s little doubt this Test was a lottery, and picking the spin was harder than picking the Powerball numbers.
Indian tweaker Axar Patel, playing his second Test, hit the jackpot with 11 wickets.
There were comedy lines everywhere.
Anderson, who put his feet up in the last Test so he could wreak havoc with the pink ball under lights, did not register a run or a wicket.
Jonny Bairstow flew back to England in January so he could take a two-week breather outside the biosecurity bubble.
He returned to bat on this raging turner and made a pair. It was a 14,000km round trip for zero runs.
Jonny “Pairstow’’ did the rounds when he left England 2-0, only three balls after Root (pictured) held the pink ball aloft to celebrate his maiden five-fer.
Axar thought he had a hat-trick when Bairstow was given out lbw first ball.
But DRS gave Bairstow a life, and then Axar bowled him next ball.
In the third innings Axar and Ravichandran Ashwin opened the bowling with 15-over spells, and then another spinner – Washington Sundar – was finally brought on for the 31st over.
Sundar needed just four balls to end England’s miserable second innings.
Out of the 30 wickets, 28 were claimed by spin bowlers. But 21 of those were from straight balls which didn’t spin. Batsmen were so spooked by the ball turning around corners that when it didn’t they turned to toast.
Root called on cricket chiefs to review the standard of Test pitches. “I feel for (the fans),” Root said. “They came to watch Virat Kohli face Jimmy Anderson. I almost feel like they’ve been robbed.’’