Friday, February 03, 2012

Autumn Racing – A warming of the cockles

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Karuta Queen returns tomorrow at Warwick Farm

Up to now, other than the triumphant resumption of Black Caviar last week, there has not been much to write about on the Australian racing scene.

Sure, there was the drama surrounding the upheld protest of second against first in the Magic Millions Two Year Old Classic, where Driefontein eventually was declared the winner over her stable mate No Looking Back , and there was also the running of Blue Diamond Previews a few weeks back where the more fancied runners were outgunned by long shots The Travelling Man (colts) and Malasun (fillies).  There is no Sepoy this year so far, though I am prepared to be surprised.

Anyway, tomorrow at both Caulfield and Warwick Farm there are a few races worth watching, simply because a few stars of the spring carnival are making an appearance, most notably the very pretty and speedy filly Karuta Queen, who recently won a trial by 17½ lengths.

Karuta Queen will be contesting a sprint over 1000 metres, race 3 on the cards at Warwick Farm. It has been raining heavily  all week in Sydney, so if the racing does go ahead, the track will be heavy going.  This shouldn’t bother the little queen as she handles all surfaces. Unanimously would have been her biggest competition, but he will instead race at Caulfield, so that leaves grey mare Social Rank as her major opposition.

At Caulfield, all eyes will be on VRC Oaks winner Mosheen in the Listed Australasia Stakes. It is run over 1200 metres, which may seem a little short for a staying filly, but Mosheen has won over shorter distances in the past. She is the class act in the race, but Rifleman , who has won his last two starts, may give her a run for the money, as might Secret Hills, who ran second to Helmet in the Guineas Prelude in the spring. American Dream also has a chance.

The weather in Melbourne has been fine all week and no rainfall is expected, hence the track will be dead to good.

I’m interested to see how hyped colt Jimando performs in the Listed Emirates Airline Stakes (1100 metres). Will he live up to the hype? Apparently he’s a  big, strong, young fellow, and the hype is based around his one and only start back in October which he won it by 3¼ lengths and the high regard his trainer has for him. His main opposition appears to come from the filly Formidable and other colts If I Could and Timely Truce.

The first Group One of the Autumn racing season is only a week away. From then on, many of the horses who caught the eye in Spring will be beginning their autumn campaigns. Caulfield Cup  heroine, Southern Speed, began with a bang, unexpectedly winning the John Dillon Stakes on Australia Day. She is scheduled to compete against Black Caviar in the Orr Stakes next weekend, representing quality opposition for the unbeaten mare in her first start over 1400 metres. Sure to be a fascinating race.

Others due to resume shortly are super duper three year old Manawanui, old favourite Shoot Out ,who returns after a long break and with a different trainer (Chris Waller).  Super sprinter Hay List is also due to resume soon having recovered from a life threatening leg infection. Champion three year old Sepoy will have only one more run in Australia before heading to Dubai and eventually Ascot. He’ll be sorely missed, as will Helmet, who is also destined to finish his career overseas but will race a few more times in Australia before that occurs.

I’m also looking forward to Pinker Pinker’s return which is likely to be in the Futurity Stakes on February 18th, which is also on Black Caviar’s schedule.

Music News

Also warming the cockles of my heart is the news that the delightful Eilen Jewell will be touring again this year. She has been invited to perform at the East Coast Blues Festival, but will also be doing sideshows in Melbourne and Sydney. Not to be missed!

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