Racing update: Weir sets spring hopefuls on their way

WEIR ADDITION: Red Cardinal does trackwork at Werribee in the lead up to last year's Melbourne Cup. Picture: Fairfaxmedia News
WEIR ADDITION: Red Cardinal does trackwork at Werribee in the lead up to last year's Melbourne Cup. Picture: Fairfaxmedia News

Darren Weir has three WS Cox Plate hopefuls going around at Flemington on Saturday.

Weir has Sixties Groove in the VRC Member Maureen O’Connell Handicap, 2510m, Night’s Watch in VRC Member Damian Cubela Handicap, 1400m, and Mantastic in the VRC Members Handicap, 1700m.

A six-year-old, Sixties Groove has won his past two starts (at Flemington) and NZ-bred Night’s Watch is first-up since January, while Mantastic has a win and three seconds since arriving from France.

Weir has 14 nominations in all for the Cox Plate to be run at Moonee Valley on Saturday, October 28.

They include Japanese imports Admire Robson, Tozen Basil, Langley, and Danon Liberty – all yet to race in Australia.

His other nominations are English import Calibration, last year’s Cox Plate runner-up Humidor, Kings Will Dream, Mr Garcia, Plein Ceil, Red Cardinal and NZ import Romancer, which is yet to race in Australia.

Belmont Cup winner Red Cardinal is another addition to the Ballarat trainer’s team and has not raced since finishing 11th in the Melbourne Cup last year in his only spring start for Andreas Wohler.

WARRNAMBOOL jumper I’ll’ava’alf rounded out his preparation for the Grand National Steeplechase in Ballarat on Sunday, August 19, with victory on his home track on Thursday.

Ridden by Jarrod Lynch, I’ll’ava’alf ($3.30 favourite) led home a stable quinella for trainer Patrick Ryan in a benchmark steeplechase, 3450m.

The 10-year-old fencer outclassed his rivals - bouncing back on the quick back-up from his last in the Crisp Steeplechase at Sandown on Sunday.

I’ll’ava’alf is to be ridden by New Zealand-based Englishman Will Gordon in the Grand National Steeplechase.

CARDIGAN trots trainer Anton Golino was a prolific winner at the two-day all-trotting Redwood Carnival at Maryborough.

He had four wins on the Friday and a treble on Sunday.

TROTS trainer Ashleigh Herbertson has produced his first winner from his new base at Lexton.

Previously based at  Delacombe and then Burrumbeet, Herbertson saluted with Im Shadow Boxer ($58.70) in the DNR Logistics 3yo Pace, 1710m, in Ballarat on Tuesday night.

It was Im Shadow Boxer’s first win since joining Herbertson’s team in June. The gelding’s only previous win was at Canberra in May last year.

Herbertson quickly followed up with Sumarian Artist ($3.70) in a 3yo pace, 1660m, at Hamilton on Thursday.

Also driven by his son James, the son of Art Major is another interstate acquisition for the stable.

Sumarian Artist did his early racing in South Australia, winning twice.

This was his first run for Herbertson.

IT took 25 starts, but Idealistic Fella ($6.10) finally broke through for a career first win in an R0 pace, 1720m, at Melton trots on Monday.

Dunnstown trainer David Murphy was in the sulky on the five-year-old.