It's super Saturday tomorrow for the running of the Victoria Derby with four Group One races on the program. Including the Derby, there is the Coolmore Stud Stakes, a 1200 metre race for three year olds, the Mackinnon Stakes over 2000 metres, the traditional last chance for Melbourne Cup hopefuls to qualify, and the Myer Classic, for fillies and mares, over 1600 metres.
Last week's Cox Plate was won by Maldivian (pictured above) who lead throughout and dictated the pace of the race, thus ruining the chances of the back markers, which included Princess Coup, to gain any headway in the straight. Zipping ran second and Samantha Miss proved her worth by coming a close third. She will be running in the Oaks next week.
Maldivian's trainer Mark Kavanagh had a very successful day, with Whobegotyou easily winning the AAMI Vase and Sea Battle winning the Crystal Mile. It certainly made up for the disappointment he suffered when Maldivian was sensationally scratched from the Caulfield Cup last year. Whobegotyou will be attempting to make it four wins in a row in the Victoria Derby tomorrow. I can't really see anything beating him, though there may be an outsider in the field who will surprise us all.
Princess Coup gets a second chance for Group One glory tomorrow in the Mackinnon Stakes. Also in the field is her old rival Sirmione (who won this race last year), Littorio who lowered Weekend Hussler's colours a few weeks ago, and Sydney horse Theseo, trained by Gai Waterhouse. There is always a question mark over Gai's horses racing in Melbourne, as more often than not they fail to handle the reverse way of going. The Mackinnon Stakes has a long and glorious history, and it has been won by many famous racehorses- Empire Rose, Let's Elope, Better Loosen Up and At Talaq to name a few, who all went on to win the Melbourne Cup the Tuesday following. They bred them tough in those days.
Along with Princess Coup the only other member of my Super Stable running tomorrow is Forensics in the Myer Classic. If it doesn't rain too much tonight (that would be a surprise!) she should have a very good chance. She's a class mare, having won several group one races in the autumn and is also the 2007 Golden Slipper winner. Competing against her are several other smart girls, including Mimi LeBrock, Absolut Glam and Bellini Rose who beat Forensics at her last start. All in all it's a pretty classy field, but I hope Forensics wins - my stable needs a boost.
The Coolmore Stud Stakes has an interesting field totalling nine runners. It will be interesting to see if Northern Meteor who has won his last two races in Sydney by 4 to 5 lengths can repeat that form in Melbourne. He will up against some smart boys such as All American who really has not lived up to his early promise, ditto with Von Costa De Hero, Wilander who has great chance and the unbeaten Fist of Fury. I have been following Captain Fantastic because I like his name, and although he was very competitive in Queensland in the autumn, he hasn't done much since. If he won, it would be a boil over as he's currently at odds of 80/1.
Last week I stumbled across a great horse racing blog called Foolish Pleasure, run by a fellow female in America. It is very well written and Valerie has a keen interest in Australian horse racing as well as following the American scene.
If you're after local tips, I recommend you check out Laurie Sainsbury's tips on the Race Net web site. I've been reading his tips for several months, though not necessarily taking his advice as I rarely bet, but he has tipped some very good long shot winners.