Kicking off the Group racing on Memsie Stakes Day the 2014 The Heath 1100 saw Peter Moody’s honest sprinter Flamberge set himself up for his best prep yet according to jockey Vlad Duric.
Duric was all praise post-race for the Exceed And Excel five-year-old, Flamberge returning to racing in the $150,000 Group 3 theshark.com.au Stakes (1100m), registered as The Heath, at Caulfield Racecourse.
“He’s just raised the bar every prep,” Duric said post-win.
“He’s not a big horse but really tries hard.
“He’s so genuine and I believe he’s in for his best prep this time around.”
Group 1 performed with fifths behind the world’s top-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee in both the Oakleigh Plate and Newmarket Handicap during the autumn, the gelding was last seen winning the Group 3 Sebring Stakes (1200m) in the wet at Rosehill on April 5.
It was straight back into the winners’ stall then first-up this time in Melbourne with Flamberge improving on some below par trial form to beat home some nice types in The Heath.
“He trialled a bit lackluster and we couldn’t get a real guide on him,” Duric said.
“But he’s a real racehorse.”
Away well from a nice barrier two draw Duric was able to slot his mount into the perfect position up on the speed set by last start Regal Roller Stakes winner Hard Stride and the Kane Harris-trained Uate who drove up to settle second.
Flamberge was then ridden hard under the whip down the straight closing on the front runner quickly over the final 200m.
Finally he burst clear and was able to run off with a one and a half length victory over the Tony McEvoy-trained Rifleman with Hard Stride holding on for third a further half length back again to continue his nice form – today his first time out of the top two in his past eight runs.
It was a terrific effort from the winner with plenty of upside and improvement to come from Flamberge who will tighten up after carrying a notable 58kg to victory today.
“Unbelievable, he’s just a little gem and puts his all in every time,” Moody said on TVN Live.
“He doesn’t show us much at home and saves it all for race day.
“I doubted him under the weight of 58kg as he has struggled previously under the weight.
“He’s just such a courageous little horse and punches well above his weight.”
Moody is yet to map out official spring plans but is confident that with a love of the straight and the ability to handle wet tracks Flamberge will be competitive in any race he puts him in, his chances in something like the $1 million Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival in November not to be discounted.
“He’s got an inch of hair on him,” Moody said of the horse’s condition,” he said.
“I think he’s terrific down the straight, he loves soft ground.
“We’ll pick our mark with him through the spring but with those pluses down the straight and hell on soft ground…..he’ll be competitive wherever we choose to go.”
While the well-backed Richie’s Vibe was never a winning hope the hard luck story of the race was the short priced favouirte Vain Queen.
Usually ridden forward on the pace she went straight to the back of the field and then was cut out, unable to get a clear run when needed to finish it off with jockey Craig Williams sure to be grilled over the ride.
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2014 The Heath 1100 Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 5 – 30/08/2014
|1||1||FLAMBERGE||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||–||2||58kg||$8.50|
|2||11||RIFLEMAN||Tony McEvoy||Nicholas Hall||1.5L||7||56kg||$15|
|3||6||HARD STRIDE||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||2L||8||57kg||$9|
|4||15||VAIN QUEEN||John Sadler||Craig Williams||3L||6||54kg||$3F|
|5||14||O’MALLEY||Enver Jusufovic||Glen Boss||3.5L||13||56kg||$9|
|6||4||BRITISH GENERAL||Dan O’Sullivan||Ms Michelle Payne||4.5L||12||57.5kg||$71|
|7||2||RICHIE’S VIBE||Paul Beshara||Michael Rodd||5.5L||10||58kg||$6|
|8||10||BIG BUDDIE||Andrew Sawden||Ms Jackie Beriman (a)||5.6L||5||56kg||$101|
|9||5||PAGO ROCK||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Stephen Baster||6.6L||9||57kg||$8|
|10||9||LONHSPRESSO||Darren Weir||Ben Melham||6.7L||1||56kg||$15|
|11||12||COULDN’T AGREEMORE||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||7.1L||11||56kg||$19|
|12||8||UATE||Kane Harris||Daniel Stackhouse||9.6L||4||56kg||$101|
|13||13||SMACKDOWN (NZ)||Andrew Benyan||Jason Benbow||11.6L||3||56kg||$51|
|–||3||BROKEN||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||MISTER MILTON||Norman Waymouth||Steven Arnold||–||0||–||–|