An absolutely super duper weekend of racing is in the offing and I will be at Flemington Race Course to witness most of it. Three Group One races are on the cards, two at Flemington and one at Warwick Farm in Sydney, along with some very interesting Group Two competitions.
At Flemington the first of the Group races of most interest is the Group Two Blamey Stakes over 1600 metres. Puissance de Lune will be making one of his few appearances this autumn in this race. It’s probably a bit too short for him, but according to his regular jockey, Glen Boss, he has super star written all over him. He’ll have to contend with the smart, in form, and fit, Dany The Fox, who will no doubt start as favourite. Also in the picture are Budriguez, Callanish and good old Maluckyday who ran a great race behind All Too Hard in the Futurity Stakes recently.
The Group Two Kewney Stakes (1400 metres) is one for three year old fillies. I’m looking forward to seeing Flight Stakes winner, Norzita, in action. She commenced her autumn campaign with a win in the Typhoon Tracy Stakes in mid February. She has some stiff competition in the Kewney from Members Joy, Meliora, Alzora and Petite Diablesse, but is the class filly in the race so should prevail.
You can tell Black Caviar is not running in the Group One Newmarket Handicap (1200 metres), as a good (though not full) field of runners has accepted for the race. It looks to be a fascinating competition and is very hard to pick the winner. First up you have Moment of Change who ran a good second to his stable mate Black Caviar in the Lightning Stakes. Peter Moody reckons Moment of Change is a class act, and the next best horse in his stable after the champion mare, and his race record speaks well of his chances. He’s raced 10 times, won five times and only been out of a place once. He won the Group One Sir Rupert Clark Stakes back in the spring.
However, he is up against some first class sprinters, notably the unbeaten Perth star Barakey, who was scratched at the barrier in the Oakleigh Plate, so we still don’t know how good he actually is. His fellow Perth star, Luckygray, is also in with a chance. The West Australians at least won’t be distressed by the continuing heat wave in Melbourne; in fact they are thriving in the torrid conditions. Others worthy of consideration are Fontelina who recently ran a close second to Hay List in a trial, classy mare Ortensia and light weighted colts Better Than Ready and Shamexpress.
The Australian Cup has a glorious reputation as a WFA race, having been won over the years by some out and out champions – Makybe Diva, Lonhro, Northerly, Saintly to name a few. So who will win it this year?
2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon is one of the top chances. He has the services of Hong Kong based jockey Brett Prebble as his rider, and recently ran a good fourth to All Too Hard in the Futurity Stakes and will appreciate the extra distance of the Australian Cup (2000 metres).
Another Perth star Mr Moet appears to represent his closest opposition having run second to Foreteller in the Peter Young Stakes. Foreteller too, could repeat his Peter Young performance and the unpredictable Glass Harmonium could steal the show if he behaves himself. And you can’t totally over look the two three year old colts Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool who are both racing extremely well at present and have a weight advantage, even though three year olds rarely win this race.
The final Group One race of the day is the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm. Run over 1600 metres, Shoot Out won it last year,so perhaps he can win it again this year. It appears to be a race where consecutive wins by the same horse is quite common. Tie The Knot won it four time in a row (1999 to 2002) and Super Impose won it twice in 1991 and 1992. Shoot Out was scratched from the Apollo Stakes due to the heavy track, so will be first up in the Chipping Norton after trialling very well, so I’m hoping he will succeed. Half the field are his stable mates from Chris Waller’s stable. Danleigh for one, who finished second in the Chipping Norton last year and ran third in the Apollo Stakes behind Alma’s Fury and Tougher Than Ever who are also part of the field. Manighar makes a welcome return to the racetrack after being sidelined by injury during the spring and has a chance if he’s recovered. Gai Waterhouse has Glencadam Gold and Lazer Hawk in the running. They were both disappointing in the Apollo Stakes. Also worth a look is New Zealand mare Silent Achiever who always runs an honest race. Whatever, it will be a good race to watch.
At Flemington the track will be on the fast side and the weather hot and sunny (again!) whereas in Sydney the track is likely to be on the soft side after all the rain that has been falling in that part of the country.
I’ll be braving the relentless sunshine once again to take in the excitement of first class racing at the big track.