This coming Saturday sees the keenly anticipated return of many of the stars of spring, most notably, in my case, the resumption of my favourite mare Typhoon Tracy ( pictured above) in the feature race of the program.
The Group One Orr Stakes (1400 metres) has a field of 10 acceptances that include two Melbourne Cup winners in Viewed and Shocking, Sirmione, winner of the 2008 Australian Cup, the very classy middle distance runner, Heart of Dreams and good sprinter/miler Sniper’s Bullet.
Tracy is the sole female in the race and has drawn barrier 1, from which she will no doubt charge to take, or share, the lead. She shouldn’t be troubled too much by the stayers; her main dangers will be Heart of Dreams and Sniper’s Bullet. This race offers her best chance to win in open company with no Whobegotyou or Predatory Pricer to swoop from the ranks and overtake her. Go Tracy Go!
The rest of the card looks interesting as well, with Denman, Carrara and The Handsome One all entered in the Wellington RC Stakes (1400 metres). Denman was also nominated for the Orr Stakes, but his connections obviously selected the softer option. It would have been very interesting to see him up against Typhoon Tracy. He’ll probably win this, with Carrara as usual coming second, though I’d like to see The Handsome One put up a challenge.
The two Blue Diamond Preludes, one for colts, the other for fillies, also look interesting. I’m keen to see how Panipique performs against the likes of Sweet Cheeks and She’s Got Gears. Panipique won her first race by a couple of lengths several weeks ago, and she is trained by the in form Peter Moody, so has an excellent chance. Psychologist having her first start, also looks interesting.
Avenue, another of Peter Moody’s stars of the spring, is nominated for the Group Three Rubiton Stakes – a sprint over 1100 metres. A tough assignment, if she runs, against top sprinters Here De Angels, Lucky Secret and the super smart filly Irish Lights who was scratched from the Lightning Stakes last week so as not to clash with Starspangledbanner who had just been acquired by her owners, Coolmore. That race was won by Nicconi (the Foolish Pleasure factor) with Wanted and Shellscrape filling the minor places. Starspangledbanner ran fourth.
Nicconi will run next in the William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley on 13 February against unbeaten filly Black Caviar – should be a ripper race which I hope to witness in person.