Monday, February 27, 2012

A Hot Day of Racing at Caulfield

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Sepoy parading before the Oakleigh Plate

Gee, it was so hot on Saturday – a real sizzler -  that staying out for an extended length of time in the sun was impossible.

I also realised that taking photos in such conditions was less than perfect. The intense glare of the sun emphasised shadows, so most of my photographs of the day are darkish despite the bright background. There’s not much you can do to compensate, as all the professional photographers say that the best light occurs during the morning and late afternoon.

Arriving at the track shortly after the third race, my friend M and I went and had a look at the stalls.  They are in a shaded area, and those horses waiting for their races to come up were being walked around.

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Stalls area

Sepoy was recognisable as one of those promenading. He’s a beautiful looking colt, a bright chestnut with a white diamond on his forehead. Also a real good looker, was The Travelling Man, a splendid bay colt with a very pretty head and a So You Think untrimmed forelock. He was my pick for the Blue Diamond, but alas he ran 6th.

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The Travelling Man

Then it was time for the 4th race, the Angus Amanasco Stakes, a Group Two race for three year old fillies over 1400 metres.  Soft Sand was the favourite, but she lost out to Shopaholic who defeated Mosheen at her last outing and proved she wasn’t a one hit wonder.

The first Group One of the card was next – the Futurity Stakes where King Mufhasa started favourite and didn’t disappoint, winning narrowly from Pinker Pinker with Adamantium 1.8 lengths in third spot.

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Pinker Pinker on her way to the barriers

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King Mufhasa posing for the press corps after winning the Futurity Stakes

As it was so hot, we divided our time between hanging on the fence, taking photos at the Mounting Yard,  then retreating to the air conditioned comfort of the Norman Robinson Building.

Sepoy naturally was the favourite for the Oakleigh Plate and he had to lug the top weight of 58 kgs, which in the end defeated him. He lead most of the way, but the weight told on him during the final stages and he was overtaken by outsiders Woorim, Elite Falls and Facile Tigre who finished in that order. The trifecta must have paid a fortune! It’s a pity Sepoy could not have gone out a winner in his last run in Australia, but we can look forward to him competing in Dubai and England.

Favourites don’t often win the Blue Diamond Stakes, but for two years in a row, the favourite has proved the winner -  Sepoy won last year and this year smart filly Samaready took home the diamond. In fact it was a fillies trifecta, with No Looking Back running second and Armed for Action taking out third spot.

Samaready returning to scale, a triumphant Craig Newitt on her back

We stayed for the 8th race the Peter Young Stakes and watched the field in the mounting yard. I finally got a good photo of old Efficient, who because of his light colouring photographed OK...

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Efficient parading in the mounting yard

…no so Southern Speed with her dark colouring

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Southern Speed in the mounting yard

Imported stayers Lucas Cranach, Illo and Manighar ran first, second, third with Glass Harmonium (another import) in fourth spot. Southern Speed came fifth, but she can redeem herself I’m sure later in the season. 

In Sydney, Rain Affair took out his 9th win in succession in the Apollo Stakes. Shoot Out has shown that he has returned in great form, as he finished second. As the races get longer, he’ll hopefully be back in the winner’s circle again.

It was a pleasant day at the races, despite the extreme heat, but I think I will give attendance a miss for a while and watch the races in the comfort of my own home.

Besides, the music festival season is almost upon us, and the first of the concerts I have booked for, is next Saturday night with Ryan Adams solo. Only five more sleeps – can hardly wait.

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