It has an interesting field of top class sprinters comprising eight three year olds and five older horses.
It’s hard to pick a standout as most of the runners have good claims. Starspangledbanner won the Group One Caulfield Guineas last year and though he hasn’t raced since is the most likely to win this race. Headway who won the Group One Ascot Vale Stakes and Irish Lights the winner of the Group One Thousand Guineas are the standout fillies. The other filly Sister Madly is also in with a chance as she was second to classy Sydney filly More Joyous in the Flight Stakes last spring and that’s pretty good form. Besides, I like her name and would be delighted to see her win or place.
Also in the field is American visitor Cannonball who will be ridden by US jockey Patrick Valenzuela and may well pull a swiftie on the locals. Last start winner Burdekin Blues and class sprinter Nicconi can’t be overlooked either.
Last weekend’s races saw Black Caviar keep her unblemished record intact with a stunning win in the Australia Stakes. Her next race will be the William Reid Stakes on 13th February at Moonee Valley. On Tuesday, Denman did his champion sire proud with a gritty win in the Zedative Stakes. Carrara, honest galloper that he is, held on for second with Space Craft coming third. Alas the Handsome One found it all a bit too hard and finished seventh.
The stars of the spring are gradually resuming over the next few weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing Typhoon Tracy return, possibly in the Group One C F Orr Stakes on 6th February, thrown in at the top end first up, a mouth watering prospect that may include Denman as one of the contenders.
I should comment about the break in at Flemington on Tuesday - those stupid yobs attempting to enter the site of the Big Day Out without paying - letting horses out of their stalls for fun or vengeance. I really hope they are brought to justice and made to pay dearly, not necessarily in monetary terms, for the distress they have caused to the innocent horses, some of whom reportedly were seriously hurt in the incident.