The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
There was a massive boilover at Caulfield in Saturday’s potential The Everest lead-up with the returning Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra-trained Crystal Dreamer saluting first-up at $41 odds in the Group 3 $160,000 The Heath 1100 Stakes (1100m).
Part of the MRC’s Everest Series of races leading up to the richest turf race in the world – the $14 million The Everest (1200m) – at Sydney’s Royal Randwick on October 19, The Heath 1100 Stakes featured eight sprinters.
Veteran seven-year-old Crystal Dreamer the second longest-priced hopeful in the race out to break a notable winning drought going back over 620 days.
Crystal Dreamer had not won since he saluted at the same track and distance in December of 2017.
The son of Stratum also hadn’t raced since suffering a suspensory injury last September, forgotten by The Heath punters despite his good first-up record.
He had looked aggressive in recent trials, but perhaps a little too fresh for his return against the likes of Vega Magic and Ball Of Muscle.
Jockey Damian Lane reunited with the big chestnut and was able to get Crystal Dreamer to switch off in the run before turning on the speed in the closing stages and pulling away for a big win over a proven field of sprinters.
“He gave me a lovely ride…it’s amazing how well he’s come back,” Lane said.
“He’s come back from a long break due to injury and I think it’s done him really good.
“He’s come back a furnished style of horse.
“He beat some pretty good horses today, Ball Of Muscle and Vega Magic have proven themselves at Group 1 level.
Hot favourite in the race was the Lindsay Park-trained Vega Magic who, in the end, was also the biggest disappointment dropping right out and looking amiss as he finished dead last.
Joe Pride’s $1.6 million earning veteran, nine-year-old Ball Of Muscle, was away quick and the short-distance specialist looked comfortable in the lead as jockey Glyn Schofield gave the horse a tactical ride.
Crystal Dreamer was also quick out and moved up into second, while Vega Magic slid up on the rails to settle fourth then third in the run.
Ball Of Muscle kicked into the bend and was looking to go all-the-way as the favourite dropped right out at the top of the straight.
The threat was Crystal Dreamer who moved up to challenge, given an electric ride by Lane to win by a half-length on the line defeating the luckless Adelaide visitor Gytrash, while Ball Of Muscle held for third under a length beaten.
“The conditions of the race weren’t with him today,” co-trainer Matthew Ellerton said of the winner.
“He’s coming back off an injury and you’re just hoping they can get through in one piece.
“He was certainly prepped-up well for the run.
“We thought we might go back to a handicap in three weeks, not a set weights race today…so congratulations to everyone involved.
“They’ve rehabbed him well…and got the result today.
“He’s never been a sound horse…it’s fantastic to see him back.
“He’s a happy, healthy horse and that’s what he’s capapble of today.”
Runner-up Gytrash is the only one of the horses in The Heath 1100 Stakes trifecta listed in all-in The Everest betting at Ladbrokes.com.au as a $201 roughie to be called upon by one of the remaining slot holders.
Vega Magic has now lost his last four races on the trot including his dead last when 12th behind dual champion Redzel in last year’s The Everest results.
He was also 20 lengths beaten in his only autumn run finishing 10th to Santa Ana Lane in the Group 2 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) over The Everest track and distance in early April.
Retirement could now be on the cards for the multiple Group 1 champ who won the 2017 The Goodwood in Adelaide and that year’s Memsie Stakes at Caulfield when in peak form.
Despite his sensational flop in The Heath Stakes, the bookies still have Vega Magic listed as a $51 chance in futures The Everest odds.
2019 The Heath 1100 Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||7||CRYSTAL DREAMER||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||Damian Lane||–||3||57kg||$41|
|2||3||GYTRASH||Gordon Richards||Craig Williams||0.5L||6||58kg||$4.20|
|3||1||BALL OF MUSCLE||Joseph Pride||Glyn Schofield||0.9L||7||59kg||$4.20|
|4||6||BANDIPUR||Richard Laming||Michael Walker||1.9L||4||57kg||$31|
|5||2||STREETS OF AVALON||Shane Nichols||Zac Spain||2.1L||2||58.5kg||$71|
|6||8||GLENALL||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||2.5L||8||57kg||$19|
|7||5||MALAGUERRA||Lindsey Smith||Ben Melham||4.75L||5||57kg||$12|
|8||4||VEGA MAGIC||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damien Oliver||7.25L||1||57kg||$2.10F|
|–||9||EVERYDAY LADY||Will Clarken||Jamie Kah||–||0||–||–|
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