Chris Waller has a stranglehold on the final two-year-old group 1 of the season, the JJ Atkins, after The Autumn Sun remained unbeaten at Randwick and Lean Mean Machine took the BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben on Saturday.
But Waller wouldn’t be surprised if his Sires’ runner-up, Zousain, made the group 1 his own in a fortnight’s time.
Production line: Lean Mean Machine and Corey Brown take out the Sires’ Produce at Doomben.
“There is not much between the three of them. They are Guineas horses. If anything, Zousain is the sharpest of them,” Waller said. “He just got left in front in that race and got going too hard.”
Zousain ($4.60 fav) gave a good sight but it was Lean Mean Machine ($14), ridden quieter by Corey Brown, who cut the corner on the home turn and charged away to win.
“I would have like to see them coming together at the end, but Lean Mean Machine showed his quality there,” Waller said.
Brown was left impressed by the Zoustar colt after he lost his focus early in the race when Mischievousmarilyn broke down in the back straight.
“It took a 100m to get his focus back, but once he did he travelled beautifully,” Brown said. “It was like riding a Rolls-Royce in the straight.”
Earlier in the day, The Autumn Sun was once again dominant for a second time at Randwick.
“He is a real Guineas horse and a trip away won’t hurt him at all,” Waller said. “He will come up in two weeks and be hard to beat.”
The Autumn Sun was made a $4.20 favourite for the JJ Atkins, with Lean Mean Machine at $5.50 and Zousain $8, while Graff, which was a late scratching at the barrier in the Sires', was at $9.
Live Derby chance
Live And Free delivered a perfect Queensland Derby trial in winning at Randwick on Saturday, but he is no certainty to make the trip north after the drama with the Doomben track.
“Young horses like this are hard to get, and we might not risk him if the track is that bad,” trainer John O’Shea said. “It will be a decision that will be made by managing owner Scott Perrin because there are lot more races for a horse of his quality.”
Live And Free ($2.30 fav) went back and came the widest in the straight stormed to victory by 1-1/4 lengths from Ombudsman ($11) and Merovee ($7).
“That was a good strong effort because they probably didn’t go as fast as we thought they would and he was very strong through the line.
“It is an ideal win leading into the Derby, if we go there.”
Live And Free and Lucky For All, which was unlucky in defeat at Sandown, are the $4.50 equal favourites for the Queensland Derby.
Kiss off to Brisbane
There are better horses racing in Sydney but few more durable or popular than Destiny's Kiss, who has won the Listed McKell Cup as a nine-year-old at his 83rd start.
Joe Pride has trained multiple group 1 winners, recently retiring one of those, Terravista.
But Destiny's Kiss shows no signs of stopping and is now likely to be given his chance in the group 2 Brisbane Cup in two weeks.
The Nick Moraitis-owned Destiny's Kiss ($21) was ridden by Jay Ford, who stoked him up from the 900m point in the 2400m-feature.
The gelding kept plugging away down the straight to overhaul Naval Warfare ($3.40) and win by a neck with the favourite Our Century ($2.30) another 1-1/4 lengths third.
"I wish they were all as easy to train as him," Pride said.
"He never seems to get tired and he loves being in the stable.
"I don't know how I'll ever be able to retire him. We're looking at the Brisbane Cup. He will get a lot of weight but I think he deserves a go."
Heavenly Thought ($11) recovered from a rough flight to Brisbane to put himself in Queensland Derby contention by winning the Grand Prix at Doomben on Saturday.
Damian Lane got cover and produced the Darren Weir stayer at the time to run down leader Han Xin ($26), with odds-on favourite Dark Dream third.
"It was hard work getting him here. He was quite a handful on the plane on Thursday and being that close to the race we weren't able to use any sedation," Weir's stable foreman Jarrod McLean said.
"He was loud and noisy and kicked and crashed about a bit, but it makes it worthwhile when he runs like that."
Dark Dream was deposed as Queensland Derby favourite but Tim Clark said “he lost nothing in defeat".
“He lost a shoe and it was a good effort considering that,” Clark said. “He felt a bit fresh and run is going to help for the Derby.”
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