Shining Stars

The Constellations Carnival is fast approaching, and the excitement is starting to build at The Creek, and with some big carnival confirmations in the past week, we will start to follow the performances around the country and across the Tasman of horses headed to the Sunshine State.

The New South Wales Oaks was dominated by the unbeaten Very Pretty, the Emma Stewart trained filly taking her record to the perfect eight from eight, the win highlighted with a sizzling last 800 metres timed in 53.1 with a last 400 of 25.7 at the end of the 2400 metre trip.

Connections have indicated that she could well be headed North, with the stable likely to be represented by several horses on a Constellations campaign, Very Pretty on a Queensland Oaks path, while the lure of a $25,000 bonus in 2024 if a 3YO should place in The Rising Sun is an enticing carrot.

Second placed Lux Aeterna is also likely to head for the Southeast and Queensland Oaks, while the locally trained Zena Rhayne Bow, Rylee Rhayne Bow and Shes Fullofspirit – all from the Chantal Turpin stable- will head home to prepare for these races.

Rylee Rhayne Bow presented with the 2023 Changeover Classic

The win of Aardies Express in the QE11 Mile was just freakish, three-wide the entire trip and then pulling wide in the home stretch to reel in Ladies In Red.

Jack Trainor has indicated the Group 1 Golden Girl will be a confirmed target, where a return bout with Ladies In Red sets up a mouth-watering encounter.

Trainor took the reins on the Jason Grimson trained trotter Royal Dan which scorched the mile in 1.52.1, the five-year-old eying off the Queensland Trotters Sprint and Group 1 Trotters Cup and will be part of a ten-strong team that is confirmed for The Creek from late May.

Included in the Grimson team will be Swayzee which will be looking to defend his Blacks A Fake title, Hi Manameisjeff and Nerano, providing a powerful three-prong attack on all of the open class features.

In New Zealand, Bet N Win claimed another feature race at Addington to go two for two, as he builds toward The Great Square, having already accepted an invite.

Merlin, accepted for the Rising Sun was run down in the Messenger at Auckland, finishing just behind the placings as Mach Shard defeated Self Assured and Better Eclipse.

At Melton, Captain Hammerhead built on his smart record, the four-year-old leading throughout over the 2240m trip for trainer David Moran, with James Herbertson deputising while Moran was in Sydney to partner Ladies In Red.

Two further slots have been announced for the Ladbrokes Protostar with unbeaten pacers Bittersweet and The Highlight Reel locked in by Goozdolphin and Jamie Durnberger-Smith respectively.

Bittersweet winning the Bathurst Gold Tiara

Hide And Seek was back at the trials last Friday, the four-year-old square gaiter has a big motor, but his manners continue to let him down on race day.

A start in The Great Square is a potential target for the Shannon Price trained gelding if they can iron out the kinks, his 1.56.9 trial showed a glimpse of what he can achieve.

Keayang Zahara extended her record to a perfect three from three with her victory in the New South Wales Oaks, her own individual closing 400m timed in an eye-watering 26.78 seconds.

The Marg Lee trained filly will now target the Derby this weekend, with a potential Great Square invite on offer to a number of runners- performance dependent, including the Queensland locals Head Em Up, Agent Black and Ajay Volstead.