Horse racing: Michelle Fleming eyes success at Royal Randwick and Tamworth

ON THE RISE: The Lion, trained by Kootingal-based Michelle Fleming, is no longer an unknown quantity in Sydney. Photo: Bradley Photos
ON THE RISE: The Lion, trained by Kootingal-based Michelle Fleming, is no longer an unknown quantity in Sydney. Photo: Bradley Photos

The Lion returns to Sydney on Saturday stalking “another kill” at Royal Randwick, but this time there’s no sneaking under anybody’s guard.

Kootingal trainer Michelle Fleming’s promising four-year-year-old Arlington gelding was a $26 outsider when he came from near last to win a TAB Rosehill Gardens Highway in January. But the potential of the Tamworth-trained flyer is now well exposed, with three career wins and an impressive recent barrier trial to prime him for a TAB $60,000, 1100m episode at headquarters.

Fleming also has two runners at Tamworth on Saturday, although they have both drawn wide.

The Lion won’t be a roaring favourite but he’ll be among the popular picks, ideally placed in a Class 3 with 56.5kg and barrier one for Fleming’s stable rider Chris O’Brien. O’Brien rode him cold from near last to win at Rosehill Gardens and he was on The Lion’s back again when he was unextended winning a Muswellbrook Open trial on May 30 in smart time.

Is The Lion ready to roar?

“He sure is,” Fleming said. “I’m really excited. His trial was super. We took him for a breeze on Tuesday and he’s never worked better.

“And if the track stays heavy all the better. He won on a soft seven at Scone and he lumped 61kg.

“He doesn’t have to get back as far as he did at Rosehill either. Depending on the tempo, he can race closer and Chris will work that out but you know this is just my second trip to Sydney with a horse.

“I didn’t think I be there with a horse the first time and we won. It was amazing.  Not only that, I had my photo taken with Winx, a once in a lifetime experience.

“You don’t need to win a race to get a big buzz coming from the country to Randwick for a race day.”

At Tamworth, Fleming will have Banagay and Herecum Da Drums in action.

also has two runners at Tamworth on Saturday, although both drew wide.

Banagay, a four-year-old gelding having just his second race start, drew barrier 13 in the Furneys Family Funday Sunday July 29 maiden Plate (1000m). Jeff Kehoe hops aboard the lightly raced gelding while 3kg-claiming apprentice Wendy Peel has the ride on Herecum Da Drums in the Noelene Martin Memorial Class 2 Handicap (1000m).

Wendy Peel parades on recent Tamworth winner Red Axe. She will ride Herecum Da Drums for Kootingal trainer Michelle Fleming in Saturday's Noelene Martin Memorial Class 2 Handicap. Photo: Rachel Young/Tamworth Jockey Club

Wendy Peel parades on recent Tamworth winner Red Axe. She will ride Herecum Da Drums for Kootingal trainer Michelle Fleming in Saturday's Noelene Martin Memorial Class 2 Handicap. Photo: Rachel Young/Tamworth Jockey Club

Herecum Da Drums, a five-year-old gelding son of Drumbeats, has won two of his 22 starts and in five starts at Tamworth has won and been placed twice.

He and Wendy Peel jump from barrier 15 in a full field of 12 for the feature race timed to jump at 4.33pm.