Photo finish over Eagle Farm track bias claims
TOP jockey Robbie Fradd has proposed the rail should not be used in the true position at Eagle Farm after forming the opinion that horses near the fence were advantaged on Saturday.
Conversely, jockey Michael Cahill contends that some are exaggerating the extent of bias, with tempo being more relevant to the outcome of most races.
Red Chase and Sienna Rose were the only horses to make winning runs wider than three horses off the fence. Most winners found the rails in the run.
The last time Eagle Farm was considered to have raced "biased" was Kingsford Smith Cup Day, when the rail was in the true.
"I think this track races better when the rail is out," Fradd said. "Take out the inside four or five metres. You could do that. The track is so wide. Leave the inside alone.
"Last time we raced here (with the rail out) they were coming down the middle. Now we had to compensate and ride horses a bit different (with the rail back in the true).
"The last race (won by Sienna Rose) was an exception. I don't know what happened. I think it was just a better horse.
"We're all trying to get to the rail and we're all riding like idiots. It's messy and you ride horses out of their comfort zone."
Cahill said that there might have been "a slight advantage" in being close to the rail, but rated the track as "pretty fair".
"I think people are too quick to label it,'' he said.
"They declare it leaderish and say the inside is no good or the outside is no good after just a couple of races. I think it's played fair most of the time.
"Some of the jockeys are big on it, saying it's hard to make ground.
"I don't subscribe to that. I think it's more tempo-related.
"Even Kingsford Smith Day, when everyone said it was dynamite fence, I don't think it was anywhere near as bad as they made it out to be."
Jim Byrne said that after the first race, where he thought his mount Dawson Delight (second) was going to run straight past the winner, he inspected the track and felt the better going was on the inside.
All three jockeys said that the track was quite firm again.
"Quite a few of them wouldn't let down or stretch out as good as they can," Byrne said.
Fradd said: "A lot of the big horses, you could feel they were jarring up. They weren't letting down."
LADBROKES WEEKEND REPORT
Best result: The Tenor, Race 3: Macewen was the only losing result in the race and The Tenor wasn't popular at all.
Worst result: Red Chase, Race 5: Well supported all week and won easily.
Best backed: Macewen, Race 3: A couple of tipping services gave him out as a bet and he was easily the best supported runner of the day.
MARKETS - LADBROKES
Golden Rose, run September 28
$11 Bivouac, Yes Yes Yes
$13 Dawn Passage, Kubrick
$15 Cosmic Force, Microphone, Prince Fawaz
$17 Exceedance, Exhilarates
Tuesday: Warwick, Albury, Pakenham (synthetic)
Wednesday: Ipswich, Canterbury, Sandown Hillside, Gawler, Belmont
Thursday: Beaudesert, Hawkesbury, Moe, Pinjarra
Friday: Rockhampton, Murwillumbah, Bendigo, Canberra (Acton), Alice Springs
Saturday: Gold Coast, Randwick, Moonee Valley, Morphettville, Belmont, Toowoomba (night), Townsville, Camoweal, Dingo, Kilcoy, Roma, Newcastle, Seymour
Sunday: Sunshine Coast, Atherton, Nowra, Muswellbrook, Pakenham (synthetic), Ballarat, Bordertown, Kalgoorlie, Devonport (synthetic)
"I thought you would be pulling your hair out."
- Stephanie Thornton to Steve O'Dea after tailing out early on Sienna Rose, before the pair unleashed a monster burst in the straight to win easily.
THE TALKING POINT
Mystic Journey's return. She's a ripper and who knows where the bottom is? But she's short enough at $4.50 in the Cox Plate surely? The Lawrence has become a kiss of death race. The last Lawrence winner to go on to claim a spring major was fellow Tasmanian Sydeston in 1990, and Maldivian (2008) was the last Cox Plate winner to contest the race.
Baylee Nothdurft lamented his bad luck on boom horse Capital Connection. "We were going to get the right run three wide with cover and then Steph Thornton has just come off the fence and pushed us off the track," he said. Capital Connection did a good job to finish as close as he did. Stewards took no issue with Thornton's tactics.
THREE TO BACK
Capital Connection, Eagle Farm, Race 6: Easy to forgive.
Sienna Rose, Eagle Farm, Race 9: When they win like that, they win again.
King's Full, Eagle Farm, Race 7: Ready for middle distances now.
Wren's Day, Kensington, Race 7: Brought Cracksman form from Europe and was truckloaded to win at Aussie debut, but his finish lacked spark.
Auerbach, Eagle Farm, Race 8: Totally out of character for this usually most reliable conveyance. Nothing in stewards report to shed light on the performance, but it was too bad to be true.
Invincible Gangsta obviously attracted the attention of speed mappers and weight rating gurus, with his price just continuing to tumble. They were happily taking half what was previously available at the death.