What a shemozzle last Saturday’s races proved to be, especially the Rupert Clark Stakes, where top fancy Gold Salute reared in the stalls as the gates opened and failed to start at all. He, as well as Estee (who was in the neighbouring stall), was designated a non-starter.
However, the Underwood Stakes was run without mishap and resulted in a win for Heart of Dreams at last, relegating Whobegotyou into second place with Predatory Pricer filling third spot. Typhoon Tracy took a leading position, after jumping from her wide barrier, but faded in her run to finish eighth, being swamped by the fast finishing back markers. It is obvious she is not suited to running more than a mile, so the Cox Plate is off her agenda. Her trainer Peter Moody has indicated that she will be freshened and set for mare’s races later in the season.
The Guineas Prelude for colts was won by yet another of Lonhro’s sons, Demerit. He also is a descendant of Foolish Pleasure through his dam side. And in Sydney it was good to see More Joyous back in winning circles. She won the Tea Rose Stakes in a very convincing fashion. More Joyous of course is related to the very classy Tuesday Joy who has now been retired.
Anyway, this coming weekend promises more excitement for the racing fan, with the Group One Manikato Stakes on the program for next Friday night. It has a top field of sprinters and sees my old favourite Apache Cat stepping out for the first time this spring. The Cat loves Moonee Valley and if it is wet, is sure to feature in the finish. Mic Mac, despite his good showing in the Dato Tan Chin Nam stakes over 1600 metres, will be kept for shorter races from now on. He is to run in the Manikato Stakes, as is Nicconi. Also in the field is last Saturday’s long shot winner Turffontein, and Lucky Secret (a Moonee Valley specialist), as well as Sydney sprinters Danleigh and Swift Alliance.
The rest of the races listed for Friday also contain a number of interesting runners, most notably Jolie’s Shinju in the JRA Cup, which is run over the Cox Plate distance - 2080 metres. She has drawn the inside barrier so will probably take the lead, as apparently is her wont.
On Saturday, AFL Grand Final Day here in Melbourne, the horseracing focus shifts to Sydney for the Group One George Main Stakes (1600 metres). It has an excellent field that includes Black Piranha, Racing to Win, Vision & Power, Mentality and Triple Honour.
I’ll be watching the Group Two Stan Fox Stakes too, to see Denman in action once again in a very small field which he should account for easily, his only threat seemingly being the well performed More Than Great.