Thursday, March 11, 2010

Autumn Racing Season 2010 – Week 7 – Super Saturday Redux

Heart of Dreams
It is to be fervently hoped that extreme weather conditions will not spoil the running of the rescheduled Crown Guineas and Australian Cup this coming Saturday at Flemington.

The storm last Saturday was freakish in its intensity and it is remarkable that only a few horses were injured. If the Newmarket had been run just a few minutes after, it would have been catastrophic. As it was, it was good to see Wanted, perhaps by default, finally win a Group One event after being the bridesmaid so many times.

Other results on Saturday saw Solar Charged rocket into Golden Slipper favouritism with a stunning win in the Kindergarten Stakes, and More Joyous succeed once again in a fighting finish when Hurtle Myrtle threatened to take out the Surround Stakes. More Joyous will most probably be up against Typhoon Tracy in the Coolmore Classic later this month - a race surely not to be missed.

In Monday’s races in Adelaide I was pleased to see old favourite Augusta Proud in winning circles again. Her jockey Claire Lindop took out two races on the day, also guiding Majestic Music to a win in the Group Two Yallambee Classic, narrowly beating the classy Sister Madly.

The 2010 Golden Slipper is shaping up to be a beauty with so many very talented two year old colts and fillies proving themselves in the build up races. The fillies (Shaaheq, Chance By, Crystal Lily for example) currently dominate, but there is a possibility that Blue Diamond winner Star Witness will compete after all, despite his trainer initially stating that he would be spelled until spring.

This coming Saturday, as well as the rescheduled Crown Guineas and Australian Cup, Sydney hosts the Group One Randwick Guineas and several interesting Group Two events. The focus of the autumn racing season will shift to Sydney from now on as Melbourne’s carnival will be over after this weekend, unless something untoward happens...

The Randwick Guineas is run over 1600 metres, and has the usual suspects, including the consistent Shoot Out, Viking Legend, More Than Great, Kidnapped who will appreciate the extra distance, and the surprise winner of the Hobartville Stakes, Monton, who may well win again.

Blue Diamond favourite, Beneteau, who was not disgraced finishing third in that race, is a good chance to win the Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200 metres), Of those opposing him, Hinchinbrook, Blackball and Pressday, all having won their only starts, could score again, but would have to be pretty good to beat Beneteau.

The Group 3 Sweet Embrace Stakes for two year old fillies, is also run over 1200 metres. Crystal Lily, Amber’s Waltz, Divorces and My Amelia appear to be the most likely to win or place.

In Melbourne there are few changes to the line up for the two group one events. Melbourne trainer David Hayes has had a horror week, losing two of his best horses, Our Aqualeem and Changingoftheguard, the former breaking down in track work and the latter dying during a gelding operation.

The Group Two Blamey Stakes (1600 metres) has a small but quality field that includes Dao Dao who came second to Typhoon Tracy at his last start, Rightfully Yours, full brother to Heart of Dreams, Vigor who beat Typhoon Tracy last spring and the intriguing US import Dr Fremantle.

Last week Shocking was a late scratching from the Australian Cup, but will take his place this weekend. I’m still sticking to Heart of Dreams as my pick.

As the races are not being screened on free to air television this week, it’s back to squandering bandwidth watching the races online - a few of them anyway. I signed up for a two month free subscription to Skynet online, so shall take advantage of it while I can. I usually watch on the free Big Pond horseracing site, but though the quality of the video is quite good, it tends to be unstable and freeze at inconvenient moments, like in the finishing stretch.

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