Co-owner Nick Williams was full of post-race praise for tough import Amralah after his gutsy Herbert Power Stakes 2015 win at Caulfield Racecourse that could lead to a short back-up into next weekend’s Caulfield Cup.
Now a winner of six of his 16 career runs, six-year-old Teofilo stallion Amralah won a black-type in Adelaide over 1800m two back before he slipped in the gates at Flemington last Sunday blowing his chances in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
He eventually crossed a mid-field seventh to Preferment, still only beaten one and three-quarter lengths carrying 55kg, a weight that increased three kilos for his quick back-up into the $400,000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) on Caulfield Guineas Day.
Having just his second run at Caulfield, the horse had ace hoop Hugh Bowman aboard who had the same bad luck as Damien Oliver in the jump when the Robert Hickmott-trained Amralah knuckled in the barriers and was one of the last out.
After original plans to have the horse up in the first two or three in running, Bowman had to say goodbye to that option and instead let his mount settle off the speed towards the back in the early stages of the race.
“Our plan was to be in the first two or three, but the horse knuckled when he jumped and I had to eliminate plans and ride my race,” Bowman said.
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Bohemian Lily meanwhile flew out of barrier one and jockey Kerrin McEvoy took the mare straight to the lead, allowing her to roll along at her own leisure.
At First Sight was also ridden aggressively settling into second ahead of Ethiopia with Mr Impatience and Albonetti shuffling for fourth.
Bowman and Amralah were third last and with the pace slackening off, Bowman made a brave choice to take off at around the 900m in a mid-race move taking the eventual winner all the way around to slot into the pacemaker’s position up front.
“I just let him settle out the back whish was fine until the pace slackened,” Bowman explained.
“I thought ‘I’m just going to make up a few lengths and get my horse into a rhythm’.
“It gave me no choice but to pop up around to lead.
“Rhythm is key in these longer races…although it wasn’t a tactical move to do what I did, I just rode the horse instead of the race.”
Tactical or not in his eyes, it was a wonderful ride from Bowman to take up the running, the horse not having to do too much hard work to get there and in a pure staying power performance Amralah held that lead all the way to the end to salute for the punters.
“This horse I would say has got more in stall this spring,” Bowman added.
On the six-day back-up the horse was outstanding, and despite so many things working against him including the slip at the start and the mid-race move, he thrashed them in the end looking a different class to his rivals in the dominant win that gave Bowman an early double.
At the top of the straight Amralah ($3.70) kicked away and held close to four lengths to spare on the line from the fast finishing Waterhouse-trained Excess Knowledge ($5) who was closing late and ran down stablemate Bohemian Lily ($6) who was brave with her on speed run to hold for third.
Williams said that the lightweight Amralah was allocated for Saturday week’s $3 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the track over the mile and a half was tempting, but they would wait to see how the horse came through his Herbert Power run.
“This horse is a very nice horse,” he said.
“Hughie had the opportunity (to go around)…you can’t beat these sportsmen when they’re in form.
“He got him (Amralah) there and he walked away from them.
“I don’t think you’ve seen many Herbert Power winners as impressive as that.
“We’ll get him home now. It’s a big ask (backing up again) but the 51 and a half kilos (he is allocated for the Caulfield Cup) is obviously very tempting.”
Williams said they were also looking longer term at a possible $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) missing over the two miles at Flemington on Tuesday November 3, but that Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter was likely to give the horse more weight for that staying classic.
“He’s going to have to carry a lot more than that in the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“He’s a tough horse, but we’ll see how he pulls up and take it one day at a time.
“He’s right up there this horse. He’s a horse that we’ve rated right up the top (of our staying crop this season).
“We really like this horse a lot.”
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2015 Herbert Power Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 5 – 10/10/2015
|1||3||AMRALAH (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Hugh Bowman||–||8||58.5kg||$3.60F|
|2||5||EXCESS KNOWLEDGE (GB)||Gai Waterhouse||Blake Shinn||3L||13||57.5kg||$5|
|3||9||BOHEMIAN LILY (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Kerrin McEvoy||4L||1||53kg||$6.50|
|4||6||BONDEIGER||Danny O’Brien||James Winks||4.1L||3||56kg||$12|
|5||8||BLACK TOMAHAWK||Michael Moroney||Glen Boss||5.1L||2||54kg||$13|
|6||2||SERTORIUS||Jamie Edwards||Ryan Maloney||6.35L||5||59kg||$12|
|7||4||ESCADO||Matt Laurie||Ben Melham||6.45L||9||58kg||$26|
|8||1||PRINCE OF PENZANCE (NZ)||Darren Weir||Ms Michelle Payne||7.7L||12||59kg||$10|
|9||11||AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE)||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||8.1L||11||53kg||$26|
|10||13||BIKILA||Pat Carey||Patrick Moloney (a)||11.35L||10||53kg||$51|
|11||7||ETHIOPIA||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||13.1L||7||54.5kg||$26|
|12||12||MISTER IMPATIENCE (GB)||Michael Moroney||Daniel Moor||13.2L||6||53kg||$151|
|13||10||ALBONETTI||Sue Jaensch||Dwayne Dunn||19.2L||4||53kg (cd 53.5kg)||$21|