Barrier Trials Victoria – latest blackbookers from the VIC barrier trials

  • Victorian Barrier Trial Blackbookers

Our Melbourne racing expert will keep you up to date with all the horses to follow from the Victorian barrier trials.

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While some horses may be flying at the trials and stand out to everyone, some good runs are often hidden among the also rans and our expert will pinpoint those runners so you can capitalise when they hit the racetrack.

Here are some horses to put in the blackbook:

Warrnambool Trials – Wednesday April 24

Trial 1 (2400m)
The Patrick Ryan-trained GOLDEN FLAG didn’t start his career as a jumper in the best fashion, losing the rider on the second-last jump when a $1.90 favourite at Warrnambool three weeks ago, he looked to be going well up until that point and does look a talent. I liked his trial, the Amy McDonald-trained Tara Dreaming was a tearaway leader for most of the 2400m trial but I really liked the way Golden Flag moved through his gears over the last jump and made up good ground over the final 200m. He is in a Maiden hurdle race on Day 1 of the Carnival and looks hard to beat.

Trial 4 (2400m)
The nine-year-old gelding REFECTORY was off the scene for almost two years after failing to finish in the Grand National Hurdle of 2017. He has returned with some ok efforts on the flat behind must stronger opposition but his trial over the jumps says that he is ready to return to the winners stall. He sat behind the leader Katazyna for most of the trial and really attacked the line over the final furlong, bolting in by six-lengths under light riding. He is entered for the Novice Hurdle on Thursday and he should be competitive.

Trial 5 (2950m)
Once on a Melbourne Cup path for Lloyd Williams, seven-year-old gelding ALOFT is now on a new path with trainer Eric Musgrove. He hasn’t shown much since failing to finish as a $6.00 chance in the Group 1 Sydney Cup but looks to have plenty of ability over the jumps. He won a Jumps trial at Cranbourne by six-lengths and repeated the dose here in trial five. With Steve Pateman on board, Aloft crusied up to On Kileys Run over the last jump and won impressive, untouched by a length.

Trial 6 (2950m)
The Ex-Weir galloper BIG BAD BAZ has never lived up to his potential over the flat but looks a talented jumper for the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace stable. He won over the flat as a short priced favourite in the May Carnival last year and Weir was looking at a Queensland Derby for him before pulling up stumps. He hasn’t won since that Bool win 12 months ago, defeating the talented Bianco Nuovo. I really liked his jumping performance in trial six, Pateman had him under a hold coming up to the second-last jump and really quickened nicely when asked for an effort under riding. He won by three-lengths and will be breaking his maiden over the hurdles very soon if he brings this trial form to the races.

Trial 11 (2950m)
I was impressed with the jumping display of the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained CHEQUERED FLAG in this trial. He led and did things stylishly for Steve Patman, I loved that he had his ears pricked the final 200m and looked very comfortable in his work, winning the trial by a length. He is entered in the Novice Hurdle, with Refectory and should be making his presence felt.

Trial 13 (2400m)
The ten-year-old warrior I’LL’AVA’ALF looks all set for another go at the Brierly Steeplechase after finishing fourth in the race last year behind Gold Medals and Zed Em. He has had three trials leading up to Tuesday and has won all three and was impressive in his work, bolting in by a big space. He looks right on target.

Golden Flag
Big Bad Baz
Chequered Flag

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – March 4

Trial 1 (990m) 59.53s
The Alexander Rae-trained COCHADA hasn’t been seen since winning the Country Cup on Oaks Day at Flemington and returned with some ‘wow factor’ in his trial at Cranbourne. He sat off the speed and flew home under no riding for Craig Williams, beating genuine horses Moss ‘n’ Dale and Snitzkraft very comfortably. I’m extremely excited about this horse and have no doubts he will be measuring up over the autumn carnival.

Trial 2 (990m) 59.09s
I was impressed with the Mick Price-trained MASTERING in this trial. His form over the summer months was terrific, with a second down the Flemington straight behind Divine Quality before just falling in to win at Caulfield. He was at the end of his prep when running last at Flemington and has been given a six-week freshen-up. He looks to have returned very well and looked sharp in his trial despite not having the blinkers on. Mastering cruised up to the leader Alaskan Sun and drew away to beat the likes of Miss Siska and Silentz.

Trial 5 (1190m) 1:11.15 
This trial was the quickest 1190m trial of the morning and it was won by an ex-Weir horse PLEIN CIEL who is now with young gun trainer Anthony Freedman. The six-year-old gelding had the blinkers on to sharpen him up in the trial and was impressive, leading throughout to beat his former stablemate Haripour. It was a slick piece of work for a middle distance horse and I’m happy to follow him.

Trial 11 (800m) 45.91s 
I have a big opinion of the Phillip Stokes-trained DONE BY ME. The daughter of Bon Hoffa won impressively at Sale before running a terrific fifth in the Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield, she made ground in the worst part of the track behind the likes of Loving Gaby and Bella Rosa. I really liked her trial, as she never asked for an effort and still ran second and was only beaten a neck behind the Tony McEvoy-trained Sisstar, who started favourite on Melbourne Cup Day and finished behind Blue Diamond placegetter Lankan Star. Every time Sisstar extended, Done By Me chased under her own steam and was more impressive to my eye.

Trial 12 (800m) 46.56s
I thought it was a nice piece of work from the Matt Cumani-trained DESERVED. The unraced daughter of Dundeel missed the start by three-lengths but snuck up along the inside around the home turn and was never asked for an effort by Jamie Kah, as she glided to the line to defeat Our Crown Jewels and Robingurra who were both under riding over the final furlong.

Trial 15 (800m) 46.56s 
The quinella from this trial, Assertive Play and Tahitian Dancer are both very good horses but I’m keen to follow the third-placed runner KINGS BROOK. The three-year-old filly won a nice benchmark 64 last preparation before contesting two listed races. She looked to have returned in very good order, not asked for an effort and charging home into third, less than a length behind the winner Assertive Play. She is one to follow.

Trial 20 (990m) 57.75s 
Another ex-Weir galloper I have found is the Grahame Begg-trained VANUATU. The three-year-old filly won her maiden at Coleraine when she was with Weir but she looks a more complete horse now. Under no riding from Jamie Kah, she sat back on the inside before charging at the eventual winner Trophy Cabinet over the final 100m. She went straight past the very talented Princess Jenni and it looked a better piece of work.

Plein Ciel
Done By Me
Kings Brook


Cranbourne Barrier Trials – February 4

Trial 2 (800m) 45.12s
No one will be missing this trial. The lightly-raced five-year-old EDUARDO has gone to a new level. He put the writing on the wall in the Spring, running a close-up second in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes, splitting I Am Excited and Bons Away before winning the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint in impressive fashion. In this trial he jumped straight to the front and stormed away from the field under a strong hold by regular rider Brian Park. He won untouched by eight-lengths, running the quickest time of the morning defeating Goodwood placegetter I’ll Have A Bit. He is on target for the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 23 and will be very hard to beat in anything he runs in.

Trial 5 (800m) 45.65s 
It was a stylish trial victory from the Grahame Begg-trained BEAUTY SUPREME. The unraced son of Star Witness was a $240,000 purchase from the Inglis Easter Yearling sale and it looks like he has the ability to match that price tag. He was going easily for Jamie Kah while the runner on his outside Legionnaire was under hard riding.

Trial 8 (800m) 45.15s 
This was the second-fastest trial of the morning and It’s another Grahame Begg-trained runner for the blackbook. The three-year-old son of Not A Single Doubt KING MANUKA is the horse I want to be following. He split Master Rock and Vassilator in his only public trial back in August last year and was given a spell after that effort. He looks to have come back a stronger more mature three-year-old. He sat back off the speed and was never asked for an effort by Luke Currie, who had him under a stranglehold for the entire straight. It was an eye-catching fifth and I’m looking forward to seeing him debut.

Trial 10 (800m) 46.10s 
The David Brideoake-trained PRINCESS JENNI looks a very smart prospect. The three-year-old daughter of High Chaparral showed she is all class last preparation, bolting in her maiden by six-lengths at Geelong. She returned in impressive fashion at the trials, when Jye McNeil shook the reigns at the 150m, she exploded away, putting two-lengths on her rivals in a matter of three strides before McNeil sat up again over the final 50m. This was an impressive piece of work and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see this horse winning plenty of races over the Autumn.

Trial 11 (800m) 46.53s
It wasn’t fast time in relation to the morning but HUMMA HUMMA did just that. She was alongside the likes of My Pendent at the top of the straight and seemingly just strolled away from her rivals, winning the trial by six-lengths without Jamie Mott moving a muscle. Admittedly, she has never been a horse I’ve followed but that trial made me sit up and take notice, she forces her way into the blackbook.

Beauty Supreme
King Manuka
Princess Jenni
Humma Humma

Geelong Barrier Trials – January 29

Trial 1 (1000m) 1:01.07
Seven-year-old ZEBULON has had his fair share of issues, getting to the races only ten times in his career. He hasn’t been seen at the races since finishing down the track in the G1 Goodwood back in May 2017. He has changed stables and is now in the care of Aaron Purcell. I was super impressed with his trial, he sat midfield and went through a gap at the 200m under a strong hold. He strode a length clear in the concluding stages and was always under a strong hold. I really liked the way he pricked his ears the final 50m and I’m excited to see him back at the races.

Trial 4 (1000m) 1:02.30 
I’m adding THE EGYPTIAN to the blackbook but he may not be a punting proposition, depending on a few factors. The two-year-old colt has no idea what racing is about yet but has raw ability. He actually travelled and handled the corner ok but as soon as Damian Thornton gave him a slap down the shoulder he ducked in badly and if not for Yulong Stride on his inside, it could’ve been worse. Thornton switched the whip to the left hand and he wanted to shy away before laying in again. Thornton gave him one more hit with the left hand at the 50m and he responded better and put two-lengths on his rivals late. If he goes to the races now, I couldn’t possibly back him but if we see another one or two jumpouts/trials and his manners improve then I’ll be keen to follow.

Trial 8 (1000m) 1:03.08 
I’m hoping that I’ve found a hidden gem here, with the Nick Ryan-trained AQUANAUT. The four-year-old gelding has only had one career start back in August and there was good support for him that day at Bendigo. It looked like he wanted further than the 1100m but did his best work late, running the fastest last 200m and 400m of the race, running home into fifth. He was given a quite jumpout, settling last and peeling to the extreme outside. James Winks let him improve under his own steam, running home nicely into fourth. He looks a nice type who should extend out to a mile.

Trial 9 (1000m) 1:00.87 
This was the quickest time of the morning and the Mitchell Freedman-trained BRAVO TANGO did it easily. We know he is a talent, running that eye-catching third behind Nature Strip this time last year. He started a $3.20 favourite in a Group race at his next start but has never recaptured that form. Mitch Freedman looks to have him somewhere near his best, as he flashed home for second behind Tin Hat at Sandown last start and looks to have gone on with it at the trials, looking very impressive in sharp time.

The Egyptian
Bravo Tango

Werribee Barrier Trials – January 22

Trial 1 (800m) 49.53s
The son of Shooting To Win from Maroon Bay SHOTMAKER is the horse to follow from the opening trial. He is in the Mick Price stable and was a $160,000 purchase from the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale. He showed nicely early speed to sit outside the leader and quickened up nicely when asked for an effort by Mark Zahra. I particularly liked when Lodestar ranged up alongside him at the 100m mark, Zahra shook the reigns and Shotmaker quickened again. This colt looks like he has gears and impressed me.

Trial 2 (800m) 49.25s
Yu Long Investments put millions of dollars into racehorse ownership but may have found a bargain with the two-year-old son of Helmet, YULONG SAVINGS. He was only a $13,000 purchase and looks to have stacks of ability for Tony McEvoy. Yulong Savings jumped straight to the lead under Luke Currie and although he looked to overrace through the middle part of the trial with the blinkers on, he had plenty in reserve for the straight and put 2.5 lengths on them under his own steam. He isn’t a ready-made galloper by any means but does look to have a bright future.

Trial 5 (800m) 48.98s
This trial was for the fillies and was the quickest of the morning. The winner was the Tony McEvoy-trained Marndarra who looks a typical jump and run type of two-year-old but it was the Lindsay Park galloper WRITEOFF who I want to follow. I wouldn’t be looking at her against the Blue Diamond hopefuls but in a grade lower she is likely to win races. She sat on the outside of Marndarra and worked to the line well under her own steam, never asked for an effort by Luke Nolen.

Yulong Savings

Pakenham Barrier Trials – January 15

Trial 1 (800m) 53.71s 
The opening trial at Pakenham was taken out by Anaheed, who was a dominant winner of her debut run at Randwick back in October, winning the Victory Vein Stakes (1000m) by four-lengths. She led and showed them a clean pair of heels. The horse I want to be blackbooking is the unraced daughter of I Am Invincible, SENSITIVITY. Trained by Ciaron Maher & David Eustace, this two-year-old filly was out the back early but really picked up when Kerrin McEvoy shook the reigns and she was very strong to and past the line. She might find 1000m too short first-up but if she goes into a 1200m race first-up, I’ll be happy to follow.

Trial 3 (900m) 52.61s 
Another Ciaron Maher & David Eustace runner for the blackbook. The two-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible LOVING GABY was extremely impressive cruising to victory under a strong hold. She sat back near last around the home turn before Mark Zahra eased her to the outside of runners and she ripped home nicely, picking up her rivals inside the last 100m. She looks a ready-made type and I’ll be looking to back her on debut.

Trial 4 (900m) 51.74s
This trial was significantly quicker than the previous 900m trial and that speed was set up by the Anthony Freedman-trained I AM IMMORTAL. Another youngster out of I Am Invincible, he shot straight to the lead and did want to do plenty wrong in the run. He got his head up in the air and raced ungenerously until Ben Melham let him stride into the straight. He put a nice gap in them and went to the line easily. He looks a speedy type and he will be well suited over 1000m.

Trial 5 (900m) 52.33s 
Trainer Matt Laurie might have a pretty special horse on his hands, by the name of PRINCE OF SUSSEX. The unraced son of Toronado was impressive in his jumpout at Sandown on January 8 and put in another terrific piece of work here at Pakenham. He camped just behind the speed and looked to unleash when Ben Melham got him in clear air. He was untested and under a strong hold for the duration of the trial but still managed to win by just under a length in slick time. He will be winning plenty of races.

Loving Gaby
I Am Immortal
Prince Of Sussex

Stony Creek Barrier Trials – December 11

Track condition: Good 4

Trial 3 (900m) 55.63
GENNADY is a strong three-year-old colt by Robbie Laing’s Victoria Derby winner Polanksi, and he was quite sharp over the short trip but will obviously improve over further. He won this heat by three lengths in the quickest time of the morning and did it extremely easy while other where under pressure to get near him. Keen to stick with him until he scores.

Trial 5 (900m) 55.68
The Greg Eurell-trained ARTIE’S AUTOBAHN settled last in the field of five and really impressed as he weaved through the field and finished best to score under light riding. This was far better than his first trial where he finished 2.4 lengths from Star Fall who has subsequently won a BM70 at Pakenham.
Note: Missrock was the headline act at the trials and finished 3rd in her heat, but this was the worst piece of work I’ve ever seen from her and she is nowhere near ready to go to the races.

Artie’s Autobahn

Tatura Barrier Trials – December 11

Track condition: Soft 6

Trial 2 (1450m) 1:32.69
An interesting unraced Nicconi gelding to follow by the name of FRIDAY FUNDAY. Trained by David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig, the three-year-old trialled in July and was sent for an 18-week break before returning with a 2nd placing in an 800m barrier trial where he sat on the speed and ground away honestly without impressing. However, he most recent trial over 1450m saw him settle 12 lengths last, and when it looked like he would finish with the tailenders, Friday Funday dived between runners on the bend, got to the outside and started to power down the straight to be beaten less than two lengths. It will be interesting to see where the stable kick him off, but I’ll be on regardless of the distance and just trust they have placed him well.
Trial 3 (1100m) 1:07.82
Patrick Payne doesn’t normally ask much of his horses at the trials so we be assured GENERAL SHORT is doing this all on his own. The unraced son of Harbour Watch has been well educated with two trials in May and June before a 23-week break which was followed by three more trials this time in. He won his first trial and beat home Ayton who has since put in one of the best trials I’ve seen. He then had a much softer trial and followed home Silverhawk who I put in the blackbook and he has subsequently won. This trial was soft again, his fitness levels should be up, and he’s ready to go to the races.

Trial 7 (850m) 53.47
Looking forward to the return of Gerald Egan’s Stryker filly, LADY, following this performance. She settled a clear last, travelled three and four wide for the trip and finished off very well down the outside to grab 5th place and was never under any pressure. She debuted in May and was 6.4 lengths from Darren Weir’s smart filly Anjana, but following a 31-week break, she’s come back much stronger and can pick up some races this campaign.

Trial 12 (850m) 51.37
Racingaustralia and results have GRACEFUL STAR down as running 2nd in this trial but she clearly won by a head and the results are wrong – hopefully this is rectified so punters aren’t receiving the wrong information. Regardless, she was impressive settling off the speed and getting clear in the straight to charge past them. The All American filly won second-up last campaign before disappointing on a Soft track and going for a break. Looks to have come back in good order.

Friday Funday
General Short
Graceful Star

Cranbourne Barrier Trials November 26

Track condition: Good 4

Trial 1 (800m) 46.78
The Michelle Payne-trained OPTIMIZZER was the only horse not pushed out in the opening heat, yet the Not A Single Doubt colt finished half a length away in 3rd and easily could have put these away. Payne set her sights high on debut where Optimizzer tackled the Merson Cooper Stakes (1000m) at Sandown where he did everything wrong and was never in it. If he drops to maiden grade, he’ll be hard to beat.

Trial 2 (800m) 47.15
BROOKLYN HUSTLE is an eye-catching filly by Starspangledbanner, and she really impressed with the way she hit the line to win by 2.5 lengths. She was restrained to the rear and overraced for the majority of the trial, but she got to the outside and let down like a really good horse. She’s sure to be winning races.

Trial 3 (800m) 46.19
The quickest 800m heat of the morning was won by Matt Cumani’s LADY NATURALISTE, and although she took a while to wind up, she put nearly four lengths on them in the final 150m before being eased up with 50m to go. The daughter of Choisir has really come on since her first trial two weeks ago, and she looks ready to go to the races now. Hopefully she debuts at a track with a big straight where she’ll get every chance to hit top gear.

Trial 10 (800m) 49.25
They crawled in this heat and ran very slow time but NAANTALI worked home strongly under a stranglehold to grab 2nd place indicating she’s come back well from her break. She was ultra-consistent last preparation racking up three wins and two placings from six runs, and she’s also versatile winning on a Good 4 to Heavy 8 as well as winning over 1225m, 1400m and 1600m. Stick with her this time in.

Trial 14 (800m) 47.95
NON PAEAR sped out to a big lead early but she wasn’t going quick – the rest were going really slow. However, they caught up and tried to match motors with her in the straight but simply couldn’t. Her only two wins have been on the synthetic track, but she looks to have come back well and is worth following this preparation.

Trial 17 (990m) 59.25
Quite a sharp piece of work from the Mick Price-trained SILVERHAWK who won’t show his best until he gets out to a mile. Although he showed good speed here and ran nice time, he’ll need at least 1400m to be effective.

Brooklyn Hustle
Lady Naturaliste
Non Paear

Tatura Barrier Trials – November 21

Track condition: Soft 7

Trial 2 (1450m) 1:32.69
ANNAMAN won this heat by 11 lengths and went six lengths quicker than the previous trial and teaching him to be a winner may be what he needs. The son of Mossman hasn’t won for three year, and even Darren Weir couldn’t get a win out of him in 10 starts despite running some good races and placing multiple times. His best form is on rain-affected ground, and while I wouldn’t have too much trust in him off this trial alone, if he finds a wet track over a mile to 2000m, he could surprise at big odds.

Trial 7 (850m) 50.62
The Lindsay Park team could have some fun with AYTON who won this trial by a massive space, was never asked for an effort and was eased down in the straight to win with his ears pricked. The unraced son of Nicconi showed great early speed and clocked the quickest 850m trial time by a mile. He looks very smart and should be winning races soon.

Trial 14 (850m) 51.59
I just loved the trial of WILDWOOD JADE who is resuming from a 29-week break for trainer Luke Oliver. The daughter of I Am Invincible won impressively on debut on then missed by a whisker next time before finishing five lengths from Miss Vixen at Caulfield. She settled off the speed in this trial and was doing her best work late under no pressure at all. She looks to have come back in great order and can pick up some more races this preparation.

Wildwood Jade

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – October 22

Trial 3 (800m) 46.70
The form from this heat should stand up for a couple of reasons. Firstly, CROWN WITNESS won in the quickest time of the morning, and she did it easily beating the speedy Our Luca and Super Cash. She won on debut and then defeated Madeenaty at Flemington before holding off Catchy in the Quezette Stakes (1100m). She weakened in the final 100m in the Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) and had probably had enough by that stage. Now with the Henry Dwyer stable, she looks to have come back in great order and can resume with a win in the right race.

Trial 7 (800m) 48.76
Crema On Jetty won this in slow time but it was the 4th placed SCHWITZER that caught the eye working home strongly after sitting four deep without cover for the trip. Trained by Greg Eurell, the Danerich gelding trialled twice in June but was only fair on debut when finishing 2.2 lengths from Ben Hercules. Blinkers have come off and he appears to have come back in top order as he made good ground late off the slow tempo.

Trial 8 (800m) 46.72
The unraced DRAIN THE SWAMP did an enormous job to sit four and five wide for the trip and run such good time in this heat. He was pushed out in the straight but was eased up late. Trainer Peter Gelagotis should have some fun with this won and he should have no trouble breaking through for a maiden win.

Trial 18 (990m) 1:00.48
Craig Williams was on hand to put this Robert Hickmott-trained son of Medaglia d’Oro through his paces, and I’m guessing that means the stable have an opinion of him. The unraced colt goes by the name of GOLDEN SHOT, and if this trial was any guide, he’ll be winning races soon. After settling off the speed, he came off heels in the straight and just ambled up to them to win stylishly. Still learning his caper and looks quite raw but is in the right hands and has a bright future.

Crown Witness
Drain The Swamp
Golden Shot

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – September 17

Track condition: Good 4

Trial 2 (1550m) 1:38.94
It’s interesting to see a nine-year-old Japanese-import gearing up for his Australian debut, but I liked what I saw from HAPPY MOMENT and will be keeping a close eye on him. The son of Deep Impact has good form around 2400m but has been struggling in Group company in Japan in recent times. This was his third Australian trial, and he keeps improving. He was pushed along in the straight but didn’t really quicken or extent, but I get the feeling a couple of cracks with the whip would have seen him go up a few gears. Trainer Anthony Freedman could have him ready to surprise fresh over a mile to 2000m.

Trial 4 (990m) 1:01.00
Viddora has come back well and impressed winning this heat, but the 2nd placed ASHARANI is the one I want to follow. Trained by David Vandyke and partnered by Jeff Lloyd (who must have come down from QLD for the trial) the three-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible was absolutely strangled down the straight and was matching motors with some far more accomplished gallopers. The fact she’s been sent south suggests she’s well above average, and this was impressive work.

Trial 5 (800m) 46.85
YOU’VE BEEN HAD ran the quickest time of the 800m heats, and in my experience analysing trials for many years, it’s something to always pay attention to – any horse can look impressive in slow time, but when they look good in quick time, the form usually stacks up. Trainer Lisa Enright has done a terrific job with this Reward For Effort gelding who has won five from eight starts including a last start win at Moonee Valley over 1000m in 57.99 on a Good 4. With six weeks between runs, this trial has him up to speed, and he can continue winning.

Trial 6 (800m) 47.46
The flying MISS LEONIDAS went 3.5 lengths slower than You’ve Been Had in the previous heat, but she did it in a canter and looked like she would have exploded if asked for an effort. She belted her rivals by six lengths at Moonee Valley over 1000m last start in a time of 59.30 on a Soft 6 which was four lengths quicker than Showpero, Rillito and Belwazi in the following race. She’s come back well from a short break and is worth sticking with.

Trial 11 (800m) 47.43
The Tony McEvoy-trained EAST INDIAMAN won a maiden at Balaklava and was then tested at Flemington where he was far from disgraced finishing 2.6 lengths from stablemate Crockett. He sat on the pace with La Chambie who weakened to finish six lengths away but has subsequently won, and the fact East Indiaman battled on until his run peaked at the 100m mark showed his effort was full of merit. McEvoy’s given Hinchinbrook colt five weeks to get over the run and has topped him off with this nice trial where he came from off the pace and went on to score comfortably. I especially loved the way he pricked his ears when he got to the front as it shows he’s pretty smart and knows what he’s doing. Follow him for sure.

Trial 13 (800m) 47.19
Another one for McEvoy with debutant STILL INVINCIBLE impressing in his first official outing. He showed good early speed to lead them, and when Luke Currie have him a dig in the straight, he quickly put four lengths on others that were being pushed out hard to the line. Time was good, and he can measure up in a suitable event.

Trial 15 (800m) 47.57
MISS LIBERTAS is an unraced three-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller who is trained by Anthony Freedman, and she showed a great turn of foot to charge into 2nd under hands and heels riding. She’ll appreciate getting over a bit more ground and can be followed into her debut assignment and beyond.

Trial 21 (990m) 1:01.59
BRAVO TANGO has a high head carriage and doesn’t appear to be the most tractable galloper, but he was 2nd at Stakes level in his first campaign and resumed next prep with a 1.7 length 3rd behind Nature Strip – that form reads extremely well. He came from last in the trial This was his second trial this time in, and he looks ready to go first-up over a sprint trip.

Trial 27 (1190m) 1:14.68
A very soft trial for OUR LIBRETTO who scored for us after starring in the trials earlier this campaign. She’s a filly with a lot of talent and plenty of upside, and the stable are aiming high with some Group races on the agenda. Continue to stick with her.

Happy Moment
You’ve Been Had
Miss Leonidas
East Indiaman
Still Invincible
Miss Libertas
Bravo Tango
Our Libretto

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – September 3

Track condition: Heavy 8

Trial 1 (800m) 47.37
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained BONS AWAY won this heat in average time but did it very easy and looks to have come back in great order. He won and placed 3rd in his first two fresh runs and then resumed last campaign in the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) where he was far from disgraced finishing half a length from Russian Revolution after a tough run. That first-up form is strong and he’s worth following into his first run this preparation.

Trial 2 (800m) 47.46
This was by far the best piece of work I’ve seen from the Michelle Payne-trained TEMPLAR who has managed just two placings from five starts to date. He showed good early speed from the wide gate and coursed six wide throughout. But despite doing far more work than his trial rivals, he ambled up in the straight to win the heat under a strong hold while others were pushed right out and simply couldn’t match him. Following an eight-week break, he tried to lead all the way over 1350m but just peaked late and was grabbed near the line. With that run and this very soft trial under his belt, he’ll prove hard to catch next time. Being by Fiorente, a step up in trip should see him improve further.

Trial 3 (800m) 46.49
ZOUMANOR won this heat in the quickest time of the eight 800m trials and did it within himself from out in front. The Robbie Laing-prepared son of Zoustar looked quite professional with the blinkers on, and his brilliant early pace should give him every chance to score over 1000m on debut.

Trial 6 (800m) 46.78
Trainer David Brideoake must have an opinion of GRAND WISH considering she went from a win at her second start and then straight into the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) where she finished seven lengths from Sunlight. She was held up a few times in the straight but then seemed to weaken late. With another soft trial win under her belt, she can go on with it in a winnable race.

Trial 13 (1190m) 1:16.03
Group 1 Schweppes Oaks runner-up Kenedna won his heat from Anthony Freedman’s Bedford, but it was the 3rd placed LAUGHING HEIR that impressed most. His best form is between 1600m and 2000m, so he might take a couple of runs to wind up, but he was hard held behind more accomplished gallopers and outshone them. He has had two trials and could run a bold race first-up, so it may pay to stick with him until he scores this preparation.

Bons Away
Grand Wish
Laughing Heir

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – August 21

Track condition: Heavy 10

Trial 3 (1190m) 1:15.41
I’m a big fan of Spanish Reef but she doesn’t look ready just yet, neither does Ambitious who trainer Richard Freedman hold in high regard, but gee did OUR LIBRETTO impress. The five-year-old daughter of O’Reilly settled a distant last but swooped down the outside late under no pressure at all to grab 2nd in this heat. She came to Grahame Begg following two unplaced runs in New Zealand, and after a 52-week break, she scored at Sandown over 1400m claiming a maiden victory in her Australian debut. Considering she has trialled twice since that win, she clearly has plenty of upside, and with some serious staying pedigree, she’ll only improve as she gets out in trip. For a maiden winner to stand out against these classy types, she must have some talent and she could be a spring player.

Trial (800m) 48.50
SHOALS savaged the line in what was the quickest of the 800m heats. Stablemate Santa Ana Lane set the speed and was asked for a bit of an effort down the straight but Shoals hit the line best and looks to have come back in great order ahead of her The Everest campaign.

Trial 6 (800m) 49.34
Two that impressed here for different reasons. VASSILATOR came from well back in the field to score and is nominated for the Caulfield Guineas. Trainer Colin Little said he suffered a set back when returning an elevated white cell count and they are two weeks behind schedule so it’s uncertain if he’ll head to Moonee Valley on Saturday or Caulfield the following week – but he’s come back in great order. Robbie Laing’s MASTER ROCK featured in my last barrier trial blackbookers piece, and he lost no admirers finishing 2nd here as he just cruised to the line after sitting off the speed and taking the lead half-way down the straight.

Trial 13 (800m) 49.72
There wasn’t much between WRITTEN CHOICE (1st) and I Did It Again (2nd), but the former is proven when fresh and I’m keen to follow him into his first-up run. He scored a 2.5-length win over 1100m at Caulfield following an eight-week freshen-up last campaign, and he was far from disgraced next start when stepping up to 1200m and getting caught three wide without cover when finishing 4th. Trainer Logan McGill has been patient with this horse and that patience may pay off this spring.

Trial 20 (990m) 
Japanese-import A SHIN ROOK came to Anthony Freedman as a maiden winner and scored by three length in his Australian debut before a 4th placing in Listed race at Sunshine Coast and then a disappointing effort in another Listed event at Doomben on a Heavy track. I mention this because the son of Heart’s Cry simply ploughed through the mud at Cranbourne to score by a rapidly increasing five lengths. He’s turned the corner and is showing the potential Freedman must have seen in him early days. This was the quickest 990m heat and A Shin Rook was never under pressure so I’m expecting the trial form to hold up.

Our Libretto
Master Rock
Written Choice
A Shin Rook

Cranbourne Barrier Trials – August 6

Track condition: Soft 7

Trial 2 (990m) 1:01.13
This heat just oozed quality and while Holy Snow (1st), Mighty Boss (3rd) and Widgee Turf (5th) all impressed, it was the 2nd placed GRUNT that stole the show. Holy Snow and Mighty Boss pinned their ears back and attacked the line without being asked to, and Widgee Turf was getting home hard after a very soft run, but Grunt went to the line with his ears pricked and looked to have more to offer than the others. Of the others, there has to be a doubt over Jameka at this stage, and Spanish Reef may take a few runs to get fit.

Trial 3 (990m) 1:01.19
The first five home put a big space (3.8 lengths) on CHAMOIS ROAD – but he was most impressive.  Heptagon and Oregon’s Day were pushed out to the line while Wheal Leisure put in some effort without being asked to. Chamois Road was scratched from Flemington on Saturday and basically went around here for a maintenance gallop, but there’s no reason to jump off him based on this effort.

Trial 4 (800m) 47.62
Considering SHOALS is only just winding up for spring and still has her winter coat, she really impressed here. She goes well fresh and is likely to head to the Moir Stakes (1000m) first-up before heading to The Everest. I AM A STAR also hit the line well and looks to have come back in great order. She can perform fresh but won’t show her best until she gets out to a mile after a few runs.

Trial 6 (800m) 47.18
SPIRIT OF AQUADA ran the quickest time of the 800m heats and did it under a strong hold. He won first-up this campaign before two very disappointing efforts. A four-week freshen-up may have done the trick, and this was winning work.

Trial 9 (800m) 48.25
Connections of Missrock must think MASTER ROCK has some ability, and the unraced son of Fastnet Rock didn’t disappoint trainer Robbie Laing with a convincing trial win. He quickened nicely down the straight and quickly put a margin on his rivals who were under far more pressure. Should be winning a suitable event on debut.

Trial 13 (800m) 47.47
One of my favourite upcoming fillies, SWEET ROCKETTE, scored a nice win in this heat and she can break through. She really impressed in some early trials but then did a few things wrong on debut when finishing 2nd to Trilli at Sandown. Trilli has race experience and was far from disgraced in Saturday grade at her next start, so the form should stack up. Trainer Michelle Payne has been very patient with this filly, and that only backs up my thoughts that this one is above average.

Trial 19 (990m) 1:01.04
Don’t miss this one when he steps out. The Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young-trained LOUIE THE LEGEND led throughout and did it under his own steam throughout as he clocked quicker time than the two opening heats that were jam-packed with quality. He defeated Resurge and Gheedaa at his second start, and Gheedaa was runner-up in a $120,000 race next time where Louie The Legend disappointed, while Resurge brained them first-up this time in. He’s come back in terrific shape and should be winning soon.

Chamois Road
I Am A Star
Spirit Of Aquada
Master Rock
Louie The Legend

Wodonga barrier trials – July 16

Trial 1 (1200m) 1:14.62
A nice piece of work from WAVE REVIEWS following a 61-week lay-off and change of trainer. The European-import raced in the famous Winx silks in both starts for Chris Waller but now resides with Benalla-based trainer Peter Burgun. The five-year-old son of Fastnet Rock travelled kindly behind the speed, was widest on the bend and cruised to the line to score while his opposition where being pushed out. He needs a mile and further but is one to stick with this preparation.

Trial 2 (1200m) 1:14.08
If they let WESTERN PRUSSIA run next time, he can win. Forget his last start failure where he was restrained and overraced fiercely. His only win was fifth-up last campaign when he was fit and led all the way to score. With four runs under his belt now, and an impressive 12-lengths trial win in good time, he can surprise next start.

Trial 6 (800m) 47.00
This was the quickest of the 800m heats, and it was the Lindsay Park filly GRACEFUL STAR that impressed most as she worked home strongly into 3rd place. The stable thought enough of her to debut at Moonee Valley (4th) and then head to Flemington (3rd) before disappointing at Geelong (3rd of 3) and the going for a break. She was outpaced early but really got home well under hands and heels riding. She’ll be placed to get a win on the board this time so stick with her until she does.

Trial 9 (800m) 47.10
An impressive all the way win by Nan’s Lonhro, but I’d prefer to see what she can do under race day pressure first. However, MOMENTO who showed some ability in Sydney is now with the Lindsay Park stable, and she worked home strongly and will be much better first-up around 1200m. The daughter of Your Song finished 3rd to Tulip and Alizee in the Magic Night Stakes so she can obviously run.

Wave Reviews
Western Prussia
Graceful Star

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