Tasmanian summer carnival winners to the fore at Flemington

WINNERS: Ocean Embers and Lyuba fill the quinella in the Bow Mistress at Elwick in February. Both mares won races during Melbourne Cup week.
WINNERS: Ocean Embers and Lyuba fill the quinella in the Bow Mistress at Elwick in February. Both mares won races during Melbourne Cup week.

The quality of the Tasmanian summer racing carnival was underlined at Flemington during Melbourne Cup week.

It started when Lyuba – runner-up in the Bow Mistress and Vamos Stakes at her two runs in Tasmania – won a $200,000 group 3 race for mares on Derby Day.

Then Launceston Cup winner and Hobart Cup runner-up Big Duke ran fourth in the Melbourne Cup – the first Australian-trained horse across the line and one of only two ‘locals’ to finish in the top 10.

Later on Cup Day, the mare that beat Lyuba in the Bow Mistress, Ocean Embers, won a $150,000 listed race.

The pinnacle for Tasmania came on Oaks Day when reigning horse of the year Hellova Street – winner of the Thomas Lyons and Mowbray Stakes last summer – led all the way in a $200,000 group 3 race.

No Tasmanian carnival runners won on the final day of the Flemington carnival but Wheal Leisure, who was placed in the Tasmanian Oaks, was a close third in the $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

With the exception of Hellova Street, none of these results had a direct financial benefit to Tasmania. But they were important.

If our feature races are to retain their group or listed status, it’s essential that the horses contesting them go on to perform well at a higher level.

LEADING TRAINER COPS $3000 FINE

Tasmania’s leading trainer Scott Brunton has been fined $3000 over an incident at the Horse Of The Year dinner in Launceston in September.

Brunton pleaded guilty to acting in a manner prejudicial to the image of racing in that he used foul language and acted aggressively towards bar staff at the Country Club Casino while the function was in progress.

Stewards suspended $1500 of his fine on condition that he doesn’t re-offend in the next 12 months.

WIN No. 97 FOR PACING MARVEL

It took him five starts in Tasmania but former Queensland veteran Destreos broke through for his 97th win in Hobart on Sunday night.

Appreciating a return to free-for-all conditions, the Ken Rattray-trained gelding got a nice trail into the race behind favourite Devendra before overpowering him in the closing stages of the Cannonball Charge.

Three of his previous starts in Tasmania had been off 30-metre handicaps and he’d been over-run after working hard.

Punters who stuck with the 14-year-old at his 439th start were rewarded with double-figure odds.

LORD LIKELY TO OPEN FAVOURITE

Leading bookmaker Nick Whelan expects Lord Da Vinci to open favourite for Wednesday night’s $100,000 Newmarket Handicap at Mowbray.

He has assessed the topweight, who ran fourth last year, at $2.80.

I’m Wesley, chasing his fifth consecutive win, is rated the main danger at $4.