The racing news recently has all been about the retirement of Black Caviar, but racing fans can console themselves with the continuing action of the Sydney Racing Carnival, when Royal Randwick hosts the Doncaster Mile meeting with two Group One races on the cards, the Doncaster being one of them.
The other is the Australian Oaks for three year old fillies over 2400 metres.
It has a pretty evenly matched field, the early favourite being Habibi who ran third in the Vinery Stud Stakes behind Norzita. Prior to that run she won the New Zealand Derby. Fellow New Zealander More Than Sacred also has a good chance. She won the New Zealand Oaks at her last run so can run the distance. Of the local fillies Dear Demi can’t be dismissed out of hand, despite her less than inspiring performances in recent races. Then there’s Longport who ran second in the Vinery Stud Stakes and Royal Descent, who won her last start easily in weaker company, who could well take home the prize.
The track on Saturday at Randwick will most likely be on the slow side as Sydney has received plenty of rain this week, so mudrunners are the go.
The Doncaster Mile has attracted a full field of acceptances, and a classy field it is. This race has been won by champions of the turf, such as Sunline, who won it twice. More Joyous was last year’s winner, but she is not contesting it this year. Her young stable mate Pierro will represent the Gai Waterhouse stable in the Doncaster, and he has the class to win it and could only be defeated by the weight he has to carry(57kgs) which is a bit of a burden for a three year old. Anyway, he’ll start as the favourite, and could well prevail. He has won on slow going several times, so the track condition will not trouble him. I’d really like my old favourite Shoot Out to win. He ran second last year, but this year he is top weight, but only 1kg above that of Pierro. He loves Randwick and the 1600 metres suits, and he also handles soft tracks. Other than Pierro, he may be challenged by lightweight filly Norzita who is in fine form at the moment, and class mares Appearance, Streama , Red Tracer and Secret Admirer. Of the boys, Lamasery and Alma's Fury look next best dressed.
There is a possibility that the Doncaster will be Pierro’s last race before retirement and All Too Hard will be having his final race Saturday week before retiring to stud. So two more stars of the turf will be missing from the scene come springtime.
I’ll be at Caulfield to farewell Black Caviar. She will be parading down the straight shortly after race 4 (about 2.10pm) with Luke in the saddle. No doubt it will be a moving occasion and hopefully I will finally get the perfect photo.
Update: Saturday Night
The heavy (10) track at Randwick caused upset wins in the two feature races. Royal Descent won the Oaks from Dear Demi and Gondokoro, and Sacred Falls won the Doncaster with Pierro running second and Norzita third. It was a good day however for Sydney trainer Chris Waller who trained both Royal Descent and Sacred Falls.
My day at Caulfield was quite something else; a deeply moving and memorable occasion, which I will expand upon tomorrow with photos.