A PERFECT day cast over the track of the Sale Turf Club for the eight-race meeting on Sunday.
The track was upgraded from a Good 4 to a Good 3 by Race 4 as the temperature hovered in the high-20s.
From the eight races on offer for spectators, they saw horses from eight separate stables claim victory, keeping action at a high for the entire afternoon.
THE nail-biting stuff was front and centre from the very start, as Nishino Crescent for Ballarat’s Henry Dwyer pipped Slane at the line by a head in the Race 1 Fantasy Cocktails Handicap over 1717 metres.
Neither had been up front until the end as Wiesenbach for Sale’s Kerry Farrugia and Anything But took an early lead before coming fifth and sixth respectably.
Nishino Crescent and Slane hit the front together as they rounded onto the straight, going toe-to-toe, but it was Nishino Crescent who had more in the tank, winning by 0.2 lengths.
MISS Black Diamond from the Gai Waterhouse stable made everything look easy in the Race 2 Carlton Draught Maiden Plate (1000m).
Paying a comfortable $1.12 to win, Miss Black Diamond almost effortlessly claimed the first win of her career.
Holding the lead for the entire race, she streamed to the line over two lengths ahead of the next best, Citiroc, in second.
After a recent 18-week spell and two solid jump outs, the mare looks fit and firing to go from here on.
Marshal Cogburn for Sale’s Troy Kilgower was nowhere to be seen, crossing the line in fifth, almost 20 lengths back from the pace.
ZENA Boy for Cranbourne’s Jason Warren seemingly crossed the line unopposed in the Race 3 Fantasy Cocktails Maiden Plate (1200m).
At around the 500m mark, the three-year-old gelding was entering his element, taking the lead as they rounded the bend.
He made it look easy from there, sailing on the inside rail to take his first win from three races by nearly three lengths.
The favourite, Peter Moody’s Fitasafiddle, surprisingly fell to the back after a confident start, coming last.
EVERYTHING was up for grabs until the very last in the Race 4 Living Turf Maiden Plate (1200m).
Five horses traded positions in the final 600m, making for an exciting finish, but eventually the one that led to the favourite pinched it at the line.
Waterhouse’s Tilussion had a great start and stormed to the lead, holding on until they had all gathered on the straight, claiming an inside position.
Disco Bay for Sale’s Adam Hanley took the lead and looked to be destined to take the win, but there were other plans in store for it.
Measured and Kilgower’s Flower Gallery poised a challenge, but neither could get close enough, as Charming Deel for Cranbourne’s Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock stormed home from the outside.
The three-year-old filly came from as far back as sixth to take the lead inside the final 200m and win by a little more than a length.
From a local standpoint, Discobay was ever so close to victory in second, while Flower Gallery had to settle in fourth.
RED hot favourite Rubology for Moe’s Peter Gelagotis was head and shoulders above the rest during the Race 5 Kwik Tip Bins Maiden Plate (1400m).
Robology did it the hard way too, and he wasn’t alone, with several horses merging to the front from the rear of the pack.
Eye Of Epaulette finished second, A Tom Bowler (fourth) and Kilgower’s Texas Dan (fifth) all came from outside the top 10 at the 400m mark to finish in the top five.
Robology however, came from seventh at the 400m, and it looked like it worked perfectly, the favourite was first to cross the line, nearly three lengths clear of Eye Of Epaulette.
In just the third race of his career, Rubology claimed his first win to go with his only other podium finish.
ANTHONY and Sam Freedman’s Show Some Decorum was just another horse that was simply better than the rest on the day, claiming the Race 6 Ladbrokes Sale Quality Handicap (1200m).
Estrapaz was the best out of the gates, charging to an early lead, closely followed by Lumber Punk in second, with the eventual winner in third.
The three held firm at the front, as they patiently waited for the right time to pounce.
Estrapaz and Lumber Punk looked to take the race from there, but Show Some Decorum went three-wide in an attempt to gather momentum and give it one last shot.
And that he did, passing them both at the 150m mark, coming home by more than two lengths.
Take the favourite out of the race, and you definitely would have had an interesting finish, Only a nose separated second and third, a neck separated third and fourth, another neck back was fifth from fourth, and half a length back was the sixth-placed runner – five horses all within a length.
THE time had come for a roughie to shine, and that was in the Race 7 Fantasy Cocktails Handicap (1400m).
Antarctic Ocean for Moe’s Paul and Tracey Templeton sailed into the lead at the 400m mark, after passing the second-favoured Okataina for Waterhouse, but it wasn’t going to be either of their days.
The top four finishers, all coming from as far back as ninth, yet once again, the one that moved first reaped the rewards, that being Exzello for Ascot Vale’s Michael Moroney.
The five-year-old gelding only managed to stay with the field, and used that momentum to propel him to the finish line, claiming the second win of his career, and his first since April 2022.
Antarctic Ocean eventually came fifth, while Kilgower’s Street Swagger and Smokin’ Salmon came seventh and ninth respectively.
TO wrap up the afternoon’s events was the Race 8 Ladbroke It! Handicap (1100m), which was easily won by Midnight Devil for Berwick’s Enver Jusufovic.
Leading from start to finish, the $3.50 favourite showed why he was the one to watch, making it look easy in the end to win by three-and-a-half lengths.
Just Malcolm for Sale’s Bill Wood came fourth after a positive start.
SALE Turf Club will be back in action before the end of the month, hosting an eight-race meet on February 18 for Sunday Racing.
Charming Deel for Cranbourne’s Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock pips Discobay for Sale’s Adam Hanley in Race 4.