By Tom Hayes

Racing returned to the Sale Turf Club on Sunday, September 10, for an eight-race meet in overcast conditions.

The track hosted four maidens on the day on a track that was rated a Good 4 throughout.

Race 1’s Sale Cup – Sunday 29th October Maiden Plate over 1100 metres was frantically won by the favourite, Outta Compton for Cranbourne’s Mark Webb.

With only seven horses in the field, more chance was left with the favourite to get the job done, and he did.

Most of the race was led by Capmala, who had Outta Compton right behind ready to pounce when the time came.

Peter Moody’s Magnupur, who came from fourth, made a late charge around the outside, but hit the line half-a-length after Outta Compton to take second.

Magnupur held on for third, as the top-three rated horses finished in expected order.

The favourites went back-to-back after the Race 2 Gippsland Gold & TRFM Maiden Plate (1400m) was won by short-priced favourite, Wolfy for Flemington’s Nick Ryan.

Once again, Moody-trained Think Baby held the pace up until the final bend, even while paying $21 for the win.

In close quarters for most of the race was Girls Club for Moe’s Peter Gelagotis, who finished fifth.

Wolfy held firm at the rear and waited for his opportunity to make a blasting run, ending up three-wide to overrun the leaders.

This was just the fourth race of his career, and he quickly found his second win at Flemington two weeks later.

The first local win of the day came in Race 3’s Duart Homestead Maiden Plate (1400m), thanks to Moe’s Darryl Blackshaw’s Hazard A Guess.

After three races of top-three finishes, Hazard A Guess finally broke the duck, coming from second place to win by over a length in Sale.

He has backed that win up with another top-three finish in Tatura in late-September, coming third in Race 6.

Jenni Of Avalon for Sale’s Paul Worthington, finished sixth after storming home from a back marker position, finishing in the middle of the 12-horse field.

In nail-biting fashion, Dupont for Cranbourne’s Julius Sandhu edged out his competition to lead the whole race in the Race 4 Bars on the Go Maiden Plate (1717m).

The field was seemingly catching up to the four-year-old gelding, but he held firm to claim his first win in six races by a nose.

The second-favourite, Katdeel, and favourite, Roguery, came second and third respectively, meanwhile the eventual winner paid $21 for the win.

Race 5’s Growmaster Sale Handicap (1717m) was another nail-biter that saw another outsider take the win, when Tarn’s Prince for Cranbourne’s Tony Rosolini did the impossible.

This time, however, Tarn’s Prince didn’t lead until the very end, climbing from six horses back at the 400m-mark.

He pipped the favourite, Korobeiniki on the line to win by just under half-a-length.

He backed up his maiden win with another, winning Race 6 in Moe in late-September.

Satin Image for Sale’s Heather Stephens was pipped at the line to finish fourth, while Parisian Veil for Sale’s Adam Hanley could only manage an 11th place finish.

First, second and third inverted in Race 6’s Fantasy Cocktails Handicap (1400m).

Third place finisher Swindon Lass led for the majority of the race before running out of steam, while second-placed Hesitate saw places traded in front of her.

Think Winning for Sandhu jumped into the lead on the straight and stretched out his lead to over a length at the line.

A Penny Spent for Stephens could only manage an eight-place finish, seven lengths from the lead.

There was a sprint to the line in Race 7’s Carlton Draught Handicap (1000m), with four horses finishing within two lengths.

Second-favourite Mutinous led for most of the race, but soon found himself in strife with three horses gunning for his position.

Krakarib jumped from third to second, and back to third, after a storming run from Moe’s Paul and Tracey Templeton’s Joltin’ Joe almost pinched the win.

But the favourite Dio, for Pakenham’s Gareth Andrews was about to hold on by a head.

Lord Paramount for Sale’s Sharon Trolove climbed to fifth, and I’m Cheeky for Bill Wood of Sale dropped out of contention at the 400m-mark, finishing seventh.

If you thought that was an exciting finishing, hold your horses.

The Race 8 Ladbroke It! Handicap (1200m) saw seven horses finish within two-and-a-half lengths from the lead.

The favourites were nowhere to be seen, as the top-two priced horses finished eighth and ninth.

Rey Magnerio for Cranbourne’s Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock jumped from fifth at the 400m-mark to take the lead by a length at the line, claiming the second win of his two-race career.

He continued his stellar form with a third-place finish at Flemington in Race 4 on September 24.

Boss Queen, who held the pace of the race soon was swallowed by the field, finishing seventh.

At its previous meeting on Wednesday, August 2, there was an eight-race meet involving plenty of local talent.

The sun was out for all in attendance, yet the track was graded a Soft 5 due to a recent downpour during the early parts of the week.

All things considered, it was still a perfect day for racing.

Race 1’s Ladbrokes Odds Surge Maiden ran over 1110 metres was comfortably won by the favourite, Written Bligh for Cranbourne’s Grahame Begg.

Written Bligh found a seemingly comfortable position in behind the leaders Soju and First Blessing, who led the pack throughout early proceedings.

As they turned around the home corner, Written Bligh drifted three wide and charged for the line.

It wasn’t long until she had the lead, and with about 200m remaining, she had a clear advantage.

She was first home by over two lengths to Assemble, who climbed from a similar position, while First Blessing held firm at the top to come home in third.

The $5 second favourite Ersa was caught up in traffic around the bend and lost ground to the front runners, dropping from eighth down to 12th.

From Written Bligh’s four starts, she has achieved a first, second and third place, along with a fifth-place finish in her first start at the start of the year.

The favourites were at in again in the Race 2 Ladbrokes Yard Comments Maiden Plate (1210m), with the two horses with the shortest odds going at it at the very last.

Both favourite Scorsese and second favourite La Petite Angele jumped best and looked to take the reins, before Planet Mars came bursting through after the jump to lead the field.

Positions were held firm up until the 400m mark when Planet Mars began to drop off, gifting the lead to La Petite Angele.

Scorsese began to make a move, darting behind the new leader, as did Rouge Moulin who perked up from the inside.

But there was no stopping La Petite Angele for Mornington’s Cliff Brown, who was steady enough to charge home, winning by a length-and-a-half to Scorsese.

Following a four-week freshening period, she came back stronger than ever with a dominant performance, claiming the first win of her career.

Sharina for Sale’s Heather Stephens, paying a whopping $151 to win, dropped from the midfield to ninth, finishing the race over 12 lengths from the lead.

A favourite and a local tried tooth-and-nail to get to the line first in Race 3’s Ladbrokes Hub Maiden Plate (1423m).

The firm favourite was Royalz for Flemington’s Ben Hayes, paying a short $2.20, and she showed why, having the confidence to lead the entire race.

Royalz jumped from an outside gate, swiftly making her way past the midfield, trotting to the lead with ease after the first 100m.

As they straightened for the line, Royalz held a length lead, but would soon realise she would have company to fight for the win.

Snipastar made an early lunge but was unsuccessful, having to continue with the final couple of hundred metres, but in came Juelene for Sale’s Kevin Milham coming from a backmarker position.

All three could have won the race in the end, but Royalz managed to hang on by the skin on her teeth. Juelene was just a nose away, with Snipastar a nose behind her.

If there was another 25 to 50m extra in the race, Juelene could have stolen the lead considering the pace she approached the line.

Noortoomany for Sale’s Rebecca Kelly was a strong starter sitting off the pace, until the contenders came charging through, forcing her to drop to sixth at the point of finishing.

There’s nothing better than when a roughie proves the bookies wrong.

That’s exactly what happened in Race 4’s Ladbrokes Communities Maiden Plate (1740m).

It was an odd race that saw the second favourite Freeflow lead for most of the outing, before dropping off to finish seventh, seven lengths from the eventual, unsuspected winner.

Notably, the eventual winner, Donatien Alphonse for Cranbourne’s Shane Bottomley was eight lengths back in last at the 800m mark.

Meanwhile, at the front, as the field reached the 400m mark, the favourite, Cumbrian Queen hit the front and was steaming toward the line, appearing to be the eventual winner.

But the pack condensed, and Donatien Alphonse rose into contention down the middle of the straight.

Galloping faster, the Cumbrian Queen swiftly passed the leader within the final 100m, claiming his first win by three-quarters-of-a-length.

In his seven race career, it was just his second top-three finish, and first top-three finish since November 2022.

The Cunning Fox, for Ballarat’s Patrick Payne, got the second half of the meet off to a blistering start, winning by a nose in the Race 5 Ladbrokes Racing Club BM70 Handicap (2238m).

There were many in contention for this race, especially the eventual top three, who were the three most-rated horses in the field.

When they got to the 400m mark, neither of the eventual top three where anywhere to be seen with all of the action unfolding in front of them.

Dodgy One and Reservoir Dog made an early charge, leaving the field in their dust, but out of the dust emerged The Cunning Fox on the outside.

The lead traded hands three or four times inside the final 100m, with Dodgy One overtaking Reservoir Dog for the lead, before The Cunning Fox overtook both at the line to claim the thrilling win.

The Cunning Fox was home by a nose to Dodgy One, who was half-a-length clear of Reservoir Dog.

It was just the fourth win of the five-year-old gelding’s career, and his first win since April 2022 in Bendigo, which started a nice run of form without a win.

A Peter Moody-trained horse clinically won Race 6’s Ladbrokes Live Betting BM64 Handicap (1740m), doing so as the $1.75 favourite.

Girello led the field for the majority of the race, but a horse that usually pays that much to win ($21), is unlikely to hold on for very long after the turn.

Meanwhile, at the rear of the pack, sat Insulation for Moody, comfortably in 10th at the 800m mark, slowly making his move toward the front at the 600m mark.

At the turn, Insulation was a big chance, climbing from second-last, he went seven wide at the turn for the best chance of a clean run to the line.

It wasn’t the easiest win, as he was contested late by Dublin Journal, who finished three quarters of a length behind, but a win nonetheless.

That’s two wins and a third place for Insulation now from his four starts, his only other top three finish was his first race, where he finished fourth.

Plymouth Road for Sale’s Kerry Farrugia, who was also toward the back with Insulation, could only climb as high as sixth – a decent effort considering he had the longest odds of any other horse in the field.

Wow, was Race 7’s Ladbrokes Mates Modes BM64 Handicap (1423m) close, with seven horses finishing within three-and-a-half-lengths of the winner.

The $12 horse Spirited Writing was not shying away from the task at hand that saw plenty of horses in contention for this race win before the jump occurred.

Spirited Writings held an uncontested lead until the 500m mark, when the then second-placed horse Seafield Road began to wander wide to make a move.

As they turned, the $17 runner Seafield Road stole the lead and headed for the line, but did so with company emerging from either side.

Despite some challenges from Aperitivo, Bannockburn and the favourite Bitoftheblarney, Seafield Road for Pakenham’s Nick Harnett held firm in the lead and managed to squander the chances of a late overtake.

Spritied Wings dropped off massively and finished ninth, over five lengths from the lead.

I’m Dynamite for Sale’s Susie Wells claimed some scalps on the main straight but had to settle for eighth.

The tight trend continued with four runners finishing within a length of the lead in the Race 8 Ladbroke It! BM64 Handicap (1110m).

With a short distance ahead of them, it could’ve been anyone’s race, especially with a host of horses paying anywhere from $3 to $7, in turn, most of them ended up where they should have.

Full Blown took the lead and looked hard to beat until he was eventually overrun in the final 200m.

But in came Audrey Grace, Hydro Star and Face The Jury for Cranbourne’s Gavin Bedggood.

All three, plus Vankukla would eventually pass Full Blown in the final 100 to 200m, as Face The Jury didn’t budge to claim another tight win, this time by three-quarters-of-a-length.

Hydro Star only managed to pinch second by a nose, while Audrey Grace claimed third by a nose to fourth-placed Vankula.