Another strong program of racing for The Championships at Rosehill


Burles and his front-running nag The Cleaner, a $10,000 purchase, became cult heroes as he took his earnings to $1.3 million while adding an element of excitement and appeal in races like the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

Meanwhile, the Darren Weir controversy continues to bubble amid reports in Melbourne indicating Victorian police are pursuing investigations regarding ‘‘undetectable pain-blockers’’ in connection with the case.

On the first 179 runners since January assessed by O’Sullivan, horses that left Weir  showed a 14.5 per cent profit from the punt at their first start for other trainers if followed.

Weir was disqualified for four years following the detection of jiggers, highly illegal battery devises used to shock horse into improving performance.

Many figured that, when the horses went to other stables, the Weir team would lose form or be berserk from too much harp –  jargon for jigger – music.

However, the Weir cast-offs have produced strong form elsewhere and promise to figure again this weekend.

‘‘It’s fair to say there was an expectation the horses wouldn’t do as well with other trainers,’’ Daniel O’Sullivan, the form analyst for Betsmart, commented on ABC News Radio’s Hoof On The Till.

On the first 179 runners since January assessed by O’Sullivan, horses that left Weir  showed a 14.5 per cent profit from the punt at their first start for other trainers if followed.

‘‘The market took a slightly negative view of their chances, reflected in their odds,’’ O’Sullivan added.

Of course, Chris Waller notched the group 1 Galaxy at Rosehill last Saturday with Nature Strip, formerly with Weir, and will be out to continue the trend with Verry Elleegant in a sparkling chapter of today’s Vinery Stakes.

He will live on: Stallion groom Adam Shankley walks Redoute’s Choice at Arrowfield.Credit:Kate Geraghty

Verry Elleegant won the group 2 Phar Lap Stakes last start under Waller after being somewhat erratic, due to lack of experience, with Weir. Always going to improve with age and experience, Verry Elleegant’s horse power will be tested by Pohutukawa, trained by Cummings. The filly caught the eye at Kembla Grange last start and she, too, is on a spiral indicating it will take an exceptional three-year-old to beat her.

And the chances don’t end with them.

With the scratching of El Dorado Dreaming, trainer Kris Lees is left with Frankel filly Frankely Awesome in the event, with the highest rating three-year-old engaged being Mark Newnham’s Nakeeta Jane, already at group 1 winner in the Surround Stakes at Randwick.

Lees has done particularly well with Weir horses, especially Red Cardinal, a strong fancy in the Tancred. Red Cardinal has found his best form since moving to Broadmeadow, winning his last two starts, and is the major rival for Avilius, the Cummings-trained hotpot.

Certainly it cannot be maintained that Lees has waved a magic wand over Brave Smash, with whom Weir captured group 1s the Manikato and Futurity.

However, Lees has taken the Japan-bred six-year-old to a pitch that he is a chance under Hugh Bowman in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan, Dubai, on Saturday night.

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No doubt Meydan is a far cry from Longford, where the funeral service for Burles was held on Thursday.

The trainer wanted to be buried with The Cleaner, and the same love and affection was generated by Redoute’s Choice to John Messara and those who were in contact with the stallion  whose progeny earned $157.2 million and who once stood for $330,000 service, producing160 individual stakes winners, 34 group I winners and was the sire of 79 $1 million plus yearlings.

But Messara remembers the stallion fondly for his tongue habit.

‘‘It was funny,’’ Messara reckons. ‘‘He wanted you to squeeze his tongue. He’d stand there with it hanging out. Visitors wanted a photo and he enjoyed the opportunity.’’

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