Sunday, February 24, 2013

Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend – Miracles of Life wins the Blue Diamond Stakes

Miracles of Life does a victory walk of the mounting yard after winning the Blue Diamond Stakes

This post is named for a song that was created for the musical version of Anita Loos novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, which was made into a film in 1953. The song was performed in the film by a famous blonde – Marilyn Monroe.

It seemed appropriate to associate this saying with Miracles of Life’s wonderful victory in the Blue Diamond Stakes yesterday. As you can see Miracles of Life has a very long blonde forelock and mane, so she could have been nicknamed Lorelei after the dippy blonde heroine of Anita Loos book.  However, Barbie is a good alternative and better known in popular culture.

Yes, I went to the races again yesterday, and again it was a memorable occasion. What a brilliant season of racing it has been so far!

I got to the track shortly after 1.00 pm after a much smoother trip on public transport this time – only two trains.

It was a very hot and sunny afternoon, bad for taking photos, but I managed to get pictures of the main contenders and stars of the turf, all of them somewhat shadowy and dark.

First off I decided to check out the stalls area and found Miracles of Life standing placidly in her stall with quite a few interested punters standing around.

Miracles of Life in her stall

All Too Hard was cruising back and forth and was pausing in his stall when I took this photo.

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All Too Hard in his stall

He has grown considerably since the last time I saw him Cox Plate day last year. He’s a big boy - powerful and muscular and a magnificent looking horse. His head is not as pretty as his big sister’s, but he looked a picture all the same.

Race 4 was the Autumn Classic, a Group Two race over 1800 metres for three year olds. I was interested in seeing Fiveandahalfstar in the flesh. He won the Victoria Derby in the spring and had recently run second, first up, in the Autumn Stakes. He was parading in the mounting yard, so there I went to get a look at him.

Fiveandahalfstar parading in the mounting yard before the Autumn Classic

His great rival Super Cool was also in this race and I decided to have a small wager on him, as his odds were slightly better than Fiveandahalfstar’s. Super Cool ran second in the Victoria Derby and was third in the Autumn Stakes. However, this time he won.

Super Cool in the mounting yard.

Fiveandhalfstar took up a forward position in the race, but was overtaken by Super Cool in the straight. Subiaso ran third.

The next race on the agenda was the Group Two Peter Young Stakes, also over 1800 metres. Classy West Australian Mr Moet started second favourite…

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Mr Moet on his way to the barriers for the Peter Young Stakes

… but he was beaten into second place by long shot Foreteller with Budriguez running third. Mawingo, the favourite, ran fourth

The first of the Group One races for the afternoon was the Futurity Stakes which had attracted an interesting field that included Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon

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Green Moon being led onto the track prior to the running of the Futurity Stakes

…and All Too Hard, among others.

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All Too Hard on his way to the barriers

All Too Hard won easily by several lengths from Glass Harmonium and King Mufhasa. Green Moon finished fourth- a good run, which indicates he’ll be ripe for the Australia Cup in a fortnight’s time.

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Futurity finish – All Too Hard streets ahead in the straight.

It was worth the cost of entry to see All Too Hard win his third Group One, stamping himself as the top three year old in the country. He will be contesting the Australian Guineas next week at Flemington and appears to have it at his mercy.

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All Too Hard returns to scale after winning the Futurity Stakes

The papers are calling it a fairytale come true, and I suppose it is. But it was also an event that epitomises how one comes to love horse racing. It’s a great story. The little filly, the girl jockey, the small time trainer, the emotional scenes post race – it had the works.

It was a privilege to be present at such a heart warming running of the Blue Diamond Stakes.  As evidenced by the good wishes yelled from the crowd to Lauren Stojakovic as she rode her friend Miracles of Life around the mounting yard, it was a really popular win from the game little filly.


And Lauren’s ride was perfect – patient and beautifully judged, getting Miracles of Life off the fence at the right time and into the open, then taking advantage of a gap, to urge her filly through and blast off for a very convincing win - as I predicted in my previous post - several lengths clear of runners up Fast N’ Rocking and Godiva Rock

The response from the spectators was as warm and enthusiastic as that  accorded to Black Caviar and just as emotionally satisfying. There were tears of joy from Lauren’s family and Lauren herself, and even her interview after the race with TVN was broadcast and applauded.

After the exhilarating Blue Diamond, the final Group One race,  Oakleigh Plate could have been an anticlimax, except that it was dramatic with hot favourite Barakey being scratched at barriers, after he had got himself tangled in the gate. He looked fine in the mounting yard and on his way to the barriers, but during a delay, caused by Shamal Wind playing up in the gates and being vetted, he obviously became overwrought. A pity, as I was really looking forward to seeing him race.

Anyway, I did manage to photograph him on his way to the barriers.


The race was won by long shot Mrs Onassis with Facile Tigre running second and Spirit of Boom third. Who knows whether Barakey would have won if he had run.

The course was pretty crowded, but as it was hot and sunny the majority of spectators stuck to the shade, so it was easy to get a position next to the fence to watch the races. The crowd was completely different to that of last week. More drunken revellers and silly costumes.

There was a fashion show too – The Fashion Stakes -  but that side of racing does not interest me in the slightest. I did however pause to take a photo of the show in progress for all you fashionistas out there.

fashioon comp

It was yet another fabulous day at the races and one for the girls no less.

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