Thursday, March 29, 2012

Autumn Racing Carnival continues…

foxwedge2 (Medium)
Foxwedge after winning the William Reid Stakes – it was night time so photo is a bit murky

I haven’t had much time to write about racing, but I have certainly not lost my interest in it. I didn’t have time to post about last week’s feature races, but did attend the last night meeting for the season at Moonee Valley last Friday to witness the running of the William Reid Stakes. Hay List was the short priced favourite, but he was overtaken just before the post by three year old colt Foxwedge. Hay List had been suffering from a bruised heel most of the week, but had been passed as fit to run, so it is possible that he was still affected by that injury as he didn’t show his characteristic blistering sprint. 

In Sydney last Saturday, More Joyous made a welcome return to the track with a win in the Group 2 Canterbury Stakes, and it was also pleasing to see Metal Bender resume after a long injury induced break, running a solid third place behind More Joyous.

The feature Group One races were exciting nail biters, both with very close finishes, with Manighar & Rangirangdoo fighting out the finish of the Ranvet Stakes. Manighar won by a nose, and Shoot Out ran a close third.  And long shot, Ofcourseican narrowly won the Coolmore Classic from Secret Admirer and King’s Rose.

Blue Diamond Stakes winner Samaready remains unbeaten, winning her debut race, the Group Two Reisling Stakes, in Sydney last weekend. She’s hot favourite for the Golden Slipper and is the most likely of all the aspirants, to take out that race. If she does, it will be the second year in a row for the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper double to be won by the same horse. This was accomplished by Sepoy last year.

Well, that was last week.

This coming Saturday, Rosehill hosts the feature Group One Rosehill Guineas. It’s a race for three year old stayers over 2000 metres and has an intriguing field. Super filly Mosheen has beaten the boys in the other recent Guineas (Australian & Randwick), but her place this time as the sole female contestant, is taken by top New Zealand filly Silent Achiever, who has won five out of seven races, the last three in succession, and has never been unplaced. She is the logical favourite, however she has drawn a wide barrier, and is racing for the first time in Australia. Locals who may threaten her are Doctor Doom, who is a Group One winner over the distance, albeit at Randwick, Laser Hawk who ran third in the Randwick Guineas, Said Com who ran second on that occasion and Strike The Stars who ran second to Mosheen in the Australian Guineas. The Peter Moody trained Highly Recommended is also a good chance, having recently won the Alister Clark Stakes and fellow Melbourne runner Proliferate who has a slight claims. Possibly the best competition for Silent Achiever will come from fellow New Zealanders Ocean Park and Rock ‘N’ Pop, and if he returns to form, 2011 Victoria Derby winner Sangster.

Black Caviar’s little half brother All Too Hard is having his third race on Saturday in the Group Two Pago Pago Stakes (1200 metres). Can he remain unbeaten? He certainly looks as if he will keep his record intact, judging by the way he’s won his previous races. It’s too early to call him a star of the turf, but he is worth following.

The Group Two Challenge Stakes (1100 metres) sees Rain Affair back on his home turf. He didn’t handle the straight at Flemington, when contesting the Newmarket Handicap, but  he should be back in the winners stall in this race. That is if he can beat the highly regarded Bel Sprinter who was waylaid by a minor injury to his leg and was out of action for a month. Also in the picture is the speedy filly Satin Shoes, who narrowly missed winning the Euclase Stakes in Adelaide on Labour Day and Elite Falls, the other class filly in the race, who ran second to Woorim in the Oakleigh Plate.

On Saturday evening, the eyes & ears of Aussie racing fans will be focussing on the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan. Several Australian horses are competing in various races;  Sepoy in the Golden Shaheen (1200 metres) against the likes of Rocket Man, Singapore’s top sprinter, Helmet in the UAE Derby (1900 metres) and dual Cox Plate winner So You Think  in the Dubai World Cup (2000 metres).  Here’s wishing them all the best of luck.

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