Viv Greybe: Seasoned campaigner Netherby Hall, out of Stephanie Miller’s stable, has a fine association with jockey Ryan Munger and the combination has a bright chance to notch up another win at Flamingo Park on Monday when lining up in Race 5, a Pinnacle Stakes over 1800m.
In 13 outings with Munger aboard, this seven-year-old has been unplaced only twice, with a tally of five wins – the last of which was in his most recent run when he scored impressively under 60kg by 7.75 lengths over 2200m in a MR 72 Handicap.
The seven-time winner takes on stronger opposition this time but with a handy galloping weight of 56.5kg the gelding should be up to the task again.
However, Miller’s charge can expect a bold bid from Sarel von Willingh Smit’s eight-time winner First Sea Lord with Muzi Yeni in the saddle. Yeni partnered this seven-year-old only once and that was in his penultimate outing when he went off favourite and came from last after a slow start to snatch victory in a 1800m Pinnacle Stakes. The gelding had Nicholas Patel aboard in an indifferent subsequent outing when failing to recover from a bad start and finishing well down the field. That run is best overlooked and he should be in the final call this time.
Also in with claims is Jarett Rugg-trained four-time winner Assisted Take Off (Jarryd Penny) who comes off three good runs. This three-year-old was a gutsy winner over 2200m with Patel up, then stepping up in class and ridden by Penny he was a runner-up to Netherby Hall over the same distance. The combination made no mistake next time with a resounding win over 1800m.
Next best is Bill Human-trained four-time winner Warrior’s Stone (Shadlee Fortune) who has struck peak form and will be bidding for a hat-trick after scoring over 1800m and 2200m with Yeni aboard. Though up in class this five-year-old could make his presence felt.
Turning to the minor events, Cliffie Miller’s Grand Rapid (Collen Storey) looks a standout bet in Race 1, a Maiden Juvenile Plate for fillies over 800m. She comes off a promising debut with Storey up when finishing a 0.75-length runner-up over the distance. With the experience gained she should go one better this time.
Though drawn wide, go with Rugg-trained Just Royal Blue (Patel) in Race 3, a Maiden Plate (F&M) over 1400m. Equipped with blinkers in her last two starts she was an encouraging runner-up over 1400m and 1600m and is unlikely to miss this time.