Ranier gets tongues wagging with last-stride Festival win

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Brenton Avdulla gave Live And Free every advantage as he hugged the rails and believes the blinkers, which he had for the first time, helped the five-year-old.

‘‘They really helped him to take those runs on the fence and, if the horse had come next to him, I think he kicks and wins,’’ Avdulla said.

‘‘Just with them on for the first time, he didn’t see the other horse out in the centre.

‘‘He’s just going to love a bit more pressure in his races and is going very well.’’

Ranier ($6) and Live And Free ($8) put a gap in their rivals as they fought out the finish. There was a half-head between them at the post, with Cellarman ($31) running into third 1 lengths away. It was O’Hara’s fourth ride this season for Godolphin and she has two wins and two seconds in the blue silks.

Kathy is nice and kind on the horses and they respond well for her.

Darren Beadman

‘‘It was a lovely ride by Kathy, and I think where she won it was when she didn’t let Testashadow cross her,’’ Godolphin’s representative, Darren Beadman, said. ‘‘She was able to roll into the race nice. It was a good, solid win and a deserving stakes win for the horse.

‘‘It’s good when you can put these riders on. Kathy is nice and kind on the horses and they respond well for her. He had a light weight and she didn’t have to waste for him, so they’re just that little bit stronger over the concluding stages. [The Villiers] is certainly on the cards. He’s only got to go an extra 100 metres, he’s a little bit tougher and he’s had the run over the mile this prep.’’

The penalty for the group 3 win will decide if Ranier starts favourite for the summer mile, with the placegetter sure to be there as well.

‘‘He always likes Randwick,’’ trainer John O’Shea said of Live And Free.
Chris Waller said Cellarman would hopefully get a bit of weight relief for the group 2 Villiers.

‘‘He is going good but is just having to give weight to some good horses,’’ he said.

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The luckless runner was Bobbing, which got back to last and only got to the outside in the final 200m to run sixth. By that stage O’Hara and Ranier where sprinting for the line.

‘‘Obviously they found a perfect race for him here today,’’ O’Hara said. ‘‘He drew well and had no weight on his back. He hopped out really quick actually and travelled up closer than I thought he would.

‘‘The Randwick mile will suit this horse. He was really good late.’’

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