Keys has fingers crossed on All Star wildcard

Cranbourne trainer Ken Keys hopes at least one of his two horses aimed at the All-Star Mile, Spanish Reef and Soul Patch, wins a wildcard to the $5 million race.

Keys will discover this morning whether three-year-old Soul Patch and mare Spanish Reef have done enough to satisfy Racing Victoria general manager Greg Carpenter.

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Carpenter will announce the wildcards for the All-Star Mile — to be run at Caulfield on Saturday week — on Monday at the ­Inglis Premier Yearling Sale at Oaklands Junction.

Soul Patch finished third in Saturday’s Australian Guineas at Flemington, a run that is sure to have him under consideration for one of the five wildcards.

But of his pair, Keys said six-year-old Spanish Reef should get precedence .

“She’s racing well. She ­finished third in the Empire Rose Stakes last year behind Melody Belle and Aristia and they are both in it (All-Star Mile),’’ he said.

“She has a good record at 1600m, too.”

Spanish Reef is 12th on the provisional emergency list, which is based on prizemoney won in the past year, but as some of the horses in front of her will make the 15-horse field and others will be scratched, she will go close to being named an emergency.

Soul Patch is 13th on this list.

Ken Keys believes Spanish Reef won’t be out of place in the All-Star Mile. Picture: AAPSource:AAP

Keys is heading to Sydney with Soul Patch and said if he didn’t make the field, his next run would be in the 2000m Rosehill Guineas on March 21.

With Anthony Freedman confirming Super Seth will run in the 1600m Randwick Guineas on Saturday, Fierce Impact will get into the All-Star Mile.

David Hayes has decided not to run Fifty Stars in the race after getting a golden ­ticket by winning the Blamey Stakes at Flemington at the weekend. The horse will run in Saturday’s Australian Cup.

Perth galloper Superstorm, who finished second in the Australian Guineas, will ­almost certainly get a wildcard.

Godolphin pair Alizee and ­Avilius will also be considered.

The wildcards will then be allocated by a draw to their partners, including the Herald Sun, which is running a competition to select a member of the public to be an ambassador.

He or she has the chance to win a share of $500,000.



Grahame Begg is approaching Saturday’s $1.5 million Australian Cup at Flemington with a degree of confidence in his in-form mare Miss Siska.

“There might be an extra runner such as Fifty Stars, but basically it will be almost the same field as she faced when she won the Peter Young Stakes last start,” Begg said.

David Hayes will have four runners — Fifty Stars, Cape Of Good Hope, Constantinople and 2018-19 winner Harlem.

Damian Lane, who rode Miss Siska in her Peter Young and Carlyon Cup wins, will stay with the mare.

That’s got to tell you something. I think it will be only a small field. There may not be a lot of speed in the race, which will suit her,” Begg said.

Miss Siska is an $11 chance with TAB fixed odds.

Miss Siska won the Peter Young Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Wayne Hawkes says star three-year-old Exceedance is likely to be an acceptor for both the 1200m Newmarket Handicap at Flemington and 1000m Challenge Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

“We’ll probably accept for both and then look at the fields and then also the weather as he loves the wet,” he said. Hawkes was happy with Exceedance’s jumpout at Flemington on Friday and said the colt was fit enough to tackle either race.


Scott Brunton knows it’s a mountain to climb to win the $1.25 million Newmarket Handicap on Saturday first-up but says he has a horse to do it in The Inevitable.

Brunton points to the pint-sized galloper’s sprinting record as to why he is tackling the 1200m Newmarket down the Flemington straight.

The Hobart trainer said The Inevitable had been beaten in only three of his 11 starts and, other than his debut third over 1100m, hadn’t lost a race at 1400m or shorter.

“It’s taken a while for the trainer to work it out that he’s a sprinter,” Brunton quipped.

Brunton said there were ­excuses when The Inevitable failed in his biggest assignments last year, in the 1600m Australian Guineas and 1500m Golden Eagle.

The gelding had suffered heat stress in the Guineas and his float had broken down on the way to the Golden Eagle at Rosehill and Brunton had walked him around on the Hume Highway for an hour.

The Inevitable will tackle the Newmarket Handicap first-up. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images


Accomplished jumps rider Richard Cully had his last ride last Wednesday. Cully won the 2016 Grand National Steeplechase on Wells and Grand Annual Steeplechases for Patrick Payne on Chaparro and No Song No Supper. Cully, who came from Ireland in 2005, will now focus on his career as a trainer at Ballarat.


Jockey Michael Walker showed his dedication to his profession yesterday. He won the New Zealand Derby on Sherwood Forest in Auckland on Saturday, returned to Melbourne and was in bed at 12.30am.

He was up at 5am yesterday to lose a couple of kilograms before he headed to Wangaratta, where he won race three on Contrition.

“I’m not complaining. It’s what I do,” Walker said after the win.


VRC racing manager Leigh Jordan said the club was pleased with its inaugural Rapid Racing meeting last month and the crowd and turnover figures. He said they were looking at possibly trying something different next time with a Victoria versus the rest of Australia jockey contest rather than a City team against a Country team. On Wednesday, Flemington hosts another twilight meeting, on the 180th anniversary of the first meeting there.


With five months to go in the Melbourne trainers’ premiership, for the first time in years there’s a tight contest. David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig have trained 40 city winners, one ahead of the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace team.


Embrace Me is bursting to win a race. She recorded the fastest last 400m (21.53sec) and 200m (10.95sec) for Saturday’s Flemington meeting, storming home for second behind flying Perth mare Fabergino. On times, Fifty Stars looks primed to go close in this weekend’s Australian Cup. In his Blamey Stakes win, he ran the 1600m in 1min 34.54sec, 0.38sec quicker than Alligator Blood in the Australian Guineas. Fifty Stars’ last 1200m was a sizzling 1min 7.21sec.


Ballarat races on Tuesday. There’s only one meeting on Wednesday, a Flemington twilight.The Thursday double is Kyneton in the afternoon and Pakenham at night.

On Friday it’s Ararat followed by Cranbourne. Saturday is the Australian Cup/Newmarket meeting at Flemington.

Originally published asKeys has fingers crossed on All Star wildcard

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