More Joyous being exercised in the walking ring an hour before her race, the Toorak Handicap.
The weather in Melbourne recently has been pretty awful, so it was pleasant to wake up yesterday morning to sunshine. And sunny in the main it was, clouds, and a bit of drizzle, moving in later in the afternoon, thus perfect for a day at the races.
I reached Caulfield Racecourse just before the second race, the Blue Sapphire Stakes, where top filly Snitzerland was taking on the boys. She prevailed, beating Fire Thunderbolt by a ½ neck, with Lankan Rupee a ½ head third. Sizzling ran fourth, which made me wonder in retrospect why I didn’t take my own advice (in my preview) and box the first four and win a goodly sum. However I didn’t even have a bet on this race.
Race Three was the Thoroughbred Club Stakes for three year old fillies. I decided to back Hoss Amor, who started favourite but failed to run a place. Cavalry Rose won, beating Saturn Rock by a head, with Mareeza running into third place 1½ lengths away.
Race three finish – Cavalry Rose leads
A big crowd attended the meeting yesterday, but despite that I found it easy to find a spot on the fence to watch the action. It was a friendly and cheerful crowd – good vibes all round. I failed to take photos of outrageous costumes – and there were a few – but the ones that took the prize were two young men dressed as a cowboy and indian. The indian was tied to a tree, and I noticed the cowboy being interviewed and videotaped as I wandered past.
Race four, the Schillaci Stakes was the first of the Group races of the afternoon. Buffering was hot favourite and he won comfortably from Golden Archer with Stirling Grove running third.
Buffering heading to the barriers prior to the race
The excitement was building for the first of the Group One races the Caulfield Stakes, so after putting my money Ocean Park, I found a good spot on the fence to watch the race. Ocean Park was one of the few favourites to win on the day, narrowly beating Alcopop by ¼ length with Sincero a nose away third.
Ocean Park returning to scale after winning the Caulfield Stakes
More Joyous started favourite and top weight in the Group One Toorak Handicap. She tried hard, but the weight she carried got the better of her, as lightweight chances Solzhenitsyn and Spirit Song surged past her and left her in their wake. Solzhenitsyn, a $10,000 bargain buy from Queensland, won narrowly from Spirit Song with Yosei running into third place. More Joyous finished fourth.
Solzhenitsyn in the mounting yard prior to the race
It is now old news that star colt Pierro was beaten by the underrated All Too Hard in the Caulfield Guineas. After showing no signs of his earlier brilliance in his last three starts, and getting a reputation for missing the start of his races, All Too Hard who is Black Caviar’s younger half brother, surprised everyone yesterday with his gutsy win. The jury is still out on Pierro’s performance and Nash Rawiller’s ride, but it is disappointing that his reputation is now tarnished. We all love a star and he was the great white hope of Australian racing. Still champs get beaten, and many of the greats of the turf have been beaten in the Caulfield Guineas – So You Think, Denman to name a few.
Back to the race…
I found a good spot next to the mounting yard to watch the parade and snap a few photos.
I did not see the finish of the race as I decided to stay near the mounting yard and my view was blocked by owners and strappers of the participants, so at first I thought Pierro had prevailed, but the news that Pierro had been beaten was soon clear.
All Too Hard sashed after winning the Caulfield Guineas
I stayed for the next race the Herbert Power Stakes which was won by French horse Shahwardi from Excluded and Exceptionally, then called it quits and caught the train home.
It was long day, enjoyable but not profitable. I only had four bets which resulted in one win and one place. The weather was lovely most of the afternoon and I even got slightly sunburnt, but we watched the Herbert Power Stakes in a light shower of rain.
The Caulfield Cup will be run next weekend, but I will not be attending that meeting. Yesterday the crowd was bearable, but I imagine it will be much more squashy next week. I intend to go to the Cox Plate the week later – it has a much more interesting race card.
PS: Click photos for larger view.