Yesterday dawned into a bright morning that became overcast with heavy grey clouds in the west threatening rain. But the rain held off, and even though the afternoon was cool and cloudy it stayed fine throughout.
I arrived at Moonee Valley racecourse just before the fourth race, the Telstra Phonewords Stakes, a sprint over 1200 metres. Wending my way through the bookies area, I placed a bet on Hidden Warrior and found my way to the public lawn at the top of the straight to a vacant spot on the fence to watch the race. To my delight, Hidden Warrior won from Haussmann and Chosen Moment.
Race 4 finish from the top of the straight. Hidden Warrior leads by several lengths.
After collecting my winnings – Hidden Warrior paid very well - I decided to go and watch the Race 5 contenders parade, being particularly interested in It’s A Dundeel. He’s a stunning looking colt by High Chaparral and has a certain presence about him.
It’s A Dundeel (No 1) with Viking Star (No 2) and Super Cool (No 4) on their way to the barriers.
Unfortunately It’s A Dundeel didn’t win - his first defeat in his short career. He raced at the tail of the field for most of the race, and the winner Super Cool was too flash for him in the finish. Viking Star ran third.
Race 5 finish from the top of the straight – Super Cool leads, with If I Could on his outside, It’s A Dundeel is in the middle and Viking Star in fourth spot.
The next race on the cards was the Drake International Moonee Valley Cup run over 2500 metres. Killing time before the race I checked out the contestants.
Ironstein who ran third
Vatuvei the eventual winner
The Peter Moody/Luke Nolen combination resulted in a win for Vatuvei with Reuben Percival running second and Ironstein third.
Whilst in the parade area I checked out the stalls and came across Shoot Out and Rangirandoo in adjacent stalls.
Rangirangdoo was being kitted out for the next race on the card, the Crystal Mile. I put a small wager each way on him and Solzhenitsyn and they ran second and third respectively behind Silent Achiever.
Solzhenitsyn on his way to the barriers
Silent Achiever on her way to the barriers
By this time it was about 4.35pm and the excitement was building towards the feature race. Having been on my feet all afternoon, I thought I deserved a quiet sit down, so I went to the parade ground for a rest and waited for the Cox Plate horses to parade.
Pierro was out first long before any of the other runners made it the ring. He appears to be a very well behaved and calm young fellow, as if he’d done it all many times before.
Proisir, another of Gai Waterhouse’s runners, was all fired up and toey.
All Too Hard was only beaten by a neck in the Cox Plate – so near yet so far, but an excellent run on his part.
All Too Hard
I had my money on Green Moon, but he was very disappointing in his run, finishing 7th.
Shoot Out had to be reshod before he took his place in the parade ring, and was the last horse to emerge. He ran 5th in the Cox Plate.
Southern Speed ran 6th and I finally managed to get a reasonable photo of her.
Unlike last year the weather stayed fine and the sun even emerged for the running of the Cox Plate.
Where I was positioned, on the fence near the top of the straight, the Cox Plate barrier is placed for the start of the race. Thus I was able to snap a photo of the start, and the first rush down the straight.
Horses jostle for position in the first run down the straight – More Joyous leads in this shot, Ocean Park (red cap, purple silks) is just behind with the main bunch and Linton (grey horse) after blowing the start, is being well held. Southern Speed is on his inside and Shoot Out (red and gold stripes) is on the inside of Southern Speed.
In the end Ocean Park overtook All Too Hard to win on the line with Pierro running third several lengths behind. And another Cox Plate had been run and won.
I had an enjoyable day at the races, and managed to avoid most of the crowds, having last year figured out that the top of the straight is the place to be. I had no trouble placing bets in the Bookies Ring or finding a spot on the fence to watch the races. I didn’t win heaps, but I didn’t lose much either, keeping my bets modest. I ended up with one win, two seconds and two thirds.
Many young females were huddling under blankets and coats, their flimsy racing costumes unsuitable for the cool weather. I didn’t notice any really outrageous costumes where I was, most people in the area being sensibly garbed.
Actually the crowd didn’t appear to be as large as last year, when Black Caviar was the added attraction. However, the running of the Manikato Stakes on the Friday night before the Cox Plate may have made a difference to the numbers. Speaking of the Manikato Stakes it was great to see the very classy Sea Siren win it in style – about the only Group One victory for the girls this spring racing season.
I didn’t stay for the final race and managed to catch the second last bus home.
It’s a great day, Cox Plate day and I hope to repeat the experience for many years to come. Francesca Cumani explains it in detail here.