Thursday, April 15, 2010

Autumn Racing Season 2010 – Week 12 – The Doncaster Mile

Shoot Out winning the AJC Derby
An exciting program is on the cards this coming Saturday with the running of the famous Doncaster Handicap, now called the Doncaster Mile, a time honoured competition that has seen top race horses over the years take home the bikkies. The great Sunline won it twice; at the age of three (1999), then again at six (2002).

The big question this time is, can Typhoon Tracy score her fifth Group One win in succession and become the undisputed Queen of the Turf and Racehorse of the Year for the 2009/10 season? Let’s hope so, though she is facing a very tough test.

She is up against the best Sydney can throw at her with top middle distance runners Theseo, Rangirangdoo and Danleigh part of the field of twenty. However, despite there being a contingent of three year olds including Palacio de Cristal, they are not likely to trouble her, not being of the calibre of More Joyous or Shoot Out. Tracy has drawn barrier 14, but her main opposition hasn’t done much better, with Theseo drawing barrier 17, Rangirangdoo barrier 10 and Danleigh barrier 15. It will also be interesting to see how Brilliant Light runs in this. He won the Doncaster Prelude last week and has been consistent all autumn.

As she has drawn outside barriers in most of her races, Typhoon Tracy probably won’t be all that disadvantaged; she can quickly take up a forward position and take a sit. The weather should be mostly dry and sunny in Sydney through the week and fine on Saturday, so at least she won’t have to contend with a wet track, though she does handle them well. She is a joy to watch in action, seemingly floating lightly over the turf in an effortless fashion. Go Tracy Go!

There are two other Group One races at Randwick on Saturday, one of them being the AJC Oaks over 2400 metres for three year old fillies. The top chances are arch rivals Faint Perfume and Valdemoro, though I think Faint Perfume has the edge. Peter Moody trained Speedy Natalie also represents a threat, after her last start three lengths win on this track a week ago, and stable mate Ocean Dream may score a placing.

The Group One Galaxy is a sprint over 1100 metres. Here’s hoping smart mares Ortensia, De Lightning Ridge and the filly, Rostova can keep the flag flying for the females of the species who have won a fair share of the major races in the Sydney racing carnival.

Last week’s Group One races resulted in a surprise win by the filly Melito in the TJ Smith, snatching victory from Hot Danish with a fast finishing Mic Mac running into third place. Totally overlooked Victorian filly Yosei won the Sires Produce, giving young female jockey Michelle Payne her second Group One win.

And just how good is Shoot Out! After a long campaign, he took out the AJC Derby like a true champion stayer. High Chaparral, soon to take up stud duties for Coolmore in Australia, remarkably sired the first three runners. Shoot Out was purchased for $15.000 in 2006, a bargain as it now turns out. He must be one tough young horse, and versatile; he’s won over various distances from 1200 metres to 2,400 metres. He’s going to be set for the big rich races in spring, and could well win one of them.

Also successful last Saturday was Sunline’s daughter Sunstrike, who broke through for a win at Te Aroa. Pure white Zabeel filly, The Opera House had the third start of her career at Newcastle and ran a creditable third.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to watch the races this Saturday, as most of my day will be taken up with music events – Basement Discs Record Store Day for a short time, then travelling to Geelong for a Justin Townes Earle concert later that night. I’ll try at least to listen to the Doncaster on the way; otherwise I will be tormented by not knowing the result.

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