Another fine day of racing to look forward to this Saturday at both Flemington and Warwick Farm with a number of intriguing Group Two competitions on the cards.
First among them is the Makybe Diva Stakes, a WFA race over 1600 metres. Most of the acceptances are tried and true stayers, but the ones that interest me the most are *Maluckyday, who is finally starting his build up to the big Spring cups in this. He was disappointing in the autumn, but Spring might the season where he finally finds his form. Lights of Heaven, is another. She resumed in the Lawrence (Liston) Stakes three weeks ago with a narrow second to Whobegotyou after being badly hampered in the straight, and will be out to redeem her record and at this distance could well win. Also in with a chance is the Western Australian Horse of the Year, Playing God. He kicked off his Spring campaign in the Goodwood at Belmont, running a very creditable second. Also worth consideration is Glass Harmonium, and Littorio, a good horse in his day – he won the BMW back in April 2010 - might scrape a place. There’s somewhat of a hoodoo on this race in that, in the previous 25 runnings, only 4 horses (Northerly, Sky Heights, Marble Halls & Weekend Hussler) have managed to win another race in the carnival following success in this race. Still, jinxes are there to be overcome, and an outstanding performer will do so.
* Maluckyday was nominated for both the Makybe Diva and the Chelmsford. He will now start in the Chelmsford Stakes in Sydney.
We welcome back star colt Sepoy in the Danehill Stakes, a race for 3yos over 1200 metres. It’s pretty well a forgone conclusion that he will repeat his winning performance in the Vain Stakes three weeks ago. His only defeat so far in his career was in the Manfred Stakes in autumn when he was pipped at post by Smart Missile. Smart Missile proved last weekend that the Manfred Stakes win wasn’t a fluke with a stunning victory in the Run to the Rose, beating Foxwedge and Helmet. Whether we’ll ever see Smart Missile and Sepoy head to head again is uncertain. Sepoy will be restricted to sprint races, whereas Smart Missile is Golden Rose and Guineas bound.
The Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes for mares over 1400 metres, has classy field of well credentialed mares like Brazilian Pulse, Parables, Mid Summer Music, Zaira, Pinker Pinker etc. Mid Summer Music has won her last two starts and is the obvious pick, despite a query over the distance, along with Parables, who will be out to avenge her defeat by Mid Summer Music in the Cockram Stakes two or so weeks ago.
Bel Sprinter, so far unbeaten in his short four race career, adds interest to the Group 3 Bobby Lewis Quality. Can he do it again? It’s a much tougher field than he has faced before, with a number of Group One winners also entered. For instance Toorak Toff, who won the 2010 Golden Rose, though admittedly not much since, Coolmore winner Aloha , three time Group One winner, Yosei and other smart sprinters like Dubleanny and Response.
The Sydney meeting was originally scheduled to be run at Randwick, but it has been switched to Warwick Farm due to safety concerns in relation to the grandstand roof.
The feature race is the Group Two Chelmsford Stakes, a standard WFA race over 1600 metres. The surprise import of the autumn, My Kingdom of Fife resumes in this. He will be hard to beat as he goes well fresh. Old trouper Black Piranha may be in with a chance, and if the track is heavy Sacred Choice may race better than she did last start.
Last spring’s star performer, So You Think, has his fourth start in the Northern Hemisphere in the Irish Champion Stakes early Sunday morning our time, so it’ll all be interesting to see how he fares – i.e. by how many lengths he will win.
And Black Caviar is the feature of Australian Story on ABC TV on Monday night. It is the first time, in the history of the program, that a non human is the subject of a story. Click the link to view the preview.