Thursday, February 09, 2012

More Caviar Please – the autumn racing season takes off

Black Caviar back this Saturday for the C.F. Orr Stakes

Yes, I’m excited about the racing scene again after the lull since the spring carnival finished.

Black Caviar delivered a fine sweetener a fortnight ago, effortlessly winning her 17th start in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley.

The chocolate (or dark brown) topping will be her first start over 1400 metres this weekend in the Group One C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield. There are eight acceptances which include 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient and 2011 Caulfield Cup heroine Southern Speed. Also in the picture is 2011 Kingston Town Classic winner Playing God. Then you’ve got a collection of stayers and middle distance runners in Midas Touch, Precedence and Illo. Black Caviar however should easily win this, despite the added 200 metres in distance.

For once I am attending a meeting at Caulfield. I’ve never been there before, so am looking forward to the experience.  It’s all because of the Black Caviar Cheer Squad, which  has drawn me out of my comfort zone.  I heartily welcome it and am excited to be participating in the squad again. Besides there are perks to being in the squad –a  priority viewing area next to the mounting yard, along with the usual free drinks, race book and tee-shirt etc. This is excellent as the MRC (Melbourne Racing Club) is offering free entry to Caulfield race track so it’s likely to be very crowded.

As an added bonus, the race card at Caulfield on Saturday is far more interesting than what was on offer at Moonee Valley.

You’ve got the two Blue Diamond Preludes, where I can assess the runners as potential Blue Diamo9nd Stakes contenders, both the boys and girls. Karuta Queen, who missed racing last weekend due the Warwick Farm meeting being cancelled because of the rain,  has come to Melbourne to contest the Group Three Rubiton Stakes over 1100 metres.  The sole female in the race, and a three year old filly at that, her light weight gives Karuta Queen an excellent chance of winning. Her major opposition appears to be First Command and Zedi Knight (who finished second behind Black Caviar in the Australia Stakes). Fellow three year olds Decircles and Hot Spin may also be in the finish, but I’ll be barracking for the little Queen.

There’s also the Carlyon Cup (1600 metres) where interesting runners like Green Moon who ran second in the Caulfield Cup, and Western Australian stayer Ranger are in the field.

I’m also looking forward to seeing Living Legends Silent Witness and Apache Cat who are visiting the course on Saturday.  Silent Witness was an Australian bred champion sprinter in Hong Kong who, like Black Caviar, won his first 17 starts. He will be leading the Orr Stakes field onto the track.

Apache Cat is an old favourite of mine and had a huge following in his day, and was a classy sprinter as well – he won the Australia Stakes twice as Black Caviar has also done. It’ll be great to see him again at the track, whatever he is doing there. Having a day out I suppose.

Sydney also has an interesting race meeting at Rosehill, in particular the Group Two Expressway Stakes over 1200 metres. It has attracted a terrific field that includes another old fave of mine,  Shoot Out, having his first start for new trainer Chris Waller.  Other Waller runners are good old Rangirangdoo, and Danleigh, However, all eyes will be on Rain Affair who has won 8 of his 9 starts and is in excellent form. Also part of the field is 2011 Doncaster winner Sacred Choice.

Before I close this post I must mention an unforgettable “Melbourne” moment I witnessed today.

As I was waiting for  a tram outside the old GPO in the Bourke St Mall, there was a fire in a rubbish bin, no doubt due to some careless smoker chucking their butt into it. So there it was smoking away with a strong smell of burning paper. One young bloke emptied the rest of his drink into the conflagration in an attempt to arrest the fire. It was in vain, as the bin continued to emit smoke. It needed a bucket of water, that’s all. However, all of a sudden a fire truck came  down Bourke St, lights flashing, siren blaring. It pulled up next to the burning bin, firemen jumping out and detaching a hose then assiduously extinguishing the fire.

Overkill, perhaps.

It was an entertaining sight, as many other other people concurred – they were taking photos and chatting with the fire crew, who obviously thought it was a big joke. I would have taken a photo myself if I had my camera with me.

I believe the fire brigade was on the scene due to recently attending a fire further up in Bourke Street, so were probably on their way back to base. 

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