Aaron Mills’ top three to follow from Bunbury

Tom Baddock - Monday October 16

One eye might be on the looming Ascot summer carnival but Bunbury's standalone metro meeting offered up some noteworthy performances.

This beautifully bred three-year-old by Pierro is living up to his name so far with two dominant victories from as many starts. Stepping up to Saturday grade after winning a Belmont maiden on debut, Action started surprisingly generous odds before getting the job done impressively once again. Settling worse than midfield over the 1400 metres, leading hoop William Pike managed a copybook ride on the Peters-owned, Williams-trained gelding, peeling wider on straightening and unleashing a powerful finish to score comfortably. And the data surrounding the race stacks up well too – while Action's winning time was significantly slower than the Benchmark 78+ horses over the same distance later in the day his final 600 metres was the best of the meeting outside of the 1000 metre Listed race. He'll need to keep making forward moves to measure up in all the big races but when they beat the older horses like that at this time of the season they often go on with the job.
Career record (2:2-0-0)
Race to look for – Any 3YO race where the flying Ocean Jewel isn't running

The progress is there for all to see and it's only a matter of time before this big fellow breaks his Saturday duck. A son of Blackfriars with plenty of stamina on the dam's side too, Kia Ora Star caught the eye finishing off hard from well back on the turn to be beaten just a long head behind more seasoned rivals at his third career start. Most impressive about the run was the fact the Michael Lane-trained gelding was strong right to the line when the others were noticeably tiring. Getting around a tighter speed-favouring Ascot circuit in the coming weeks will likely be a challenge although an anticipated step up to 1800 metres or beyond should help offset that to some degree. Either way we should be sticking for Kia Ora Star's next couple of starts.
Career record (3:1-1-1)
Race to look for – Benchmark 62+ 1800m or beyond

He's now a five-year-old but has arguably never raced better and should break through for another victory sooner rather than later. He again ran out of his skin second-up on Saturday, finding the front from a wide alley and settling solid sectionals throughout only to go down late behind the progressive Royal Star. If that rival is headed for some of the bigger races over the carnival then surely War Jeune can pick up a similar restricted-class sprint in the coming weeks, especially with his rating of 75 where he will get in favourably at the weights. War Jeune can be a little 'vanilla' in the way he goes about his racing but with a 33% winning strike rate and more than $130K in prizemoney you would love to have one like him in your back yard.
Career record (13:4-4-3)
Race to look for – Benchmark 72+ 1200m on October 28

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