Though the current weather in Melbourne is anything but springlike, I am feeling a faint buzz of excitement as the build up to the spring racing carnival gathers pace.
Not much of any note has happened as yet, but the highly anticipated return of some of the autumn racing stars is mooted, so my thoughts turn to the thrill of the turf.
I am well prepared having purchased general admission seasons passes to both Moonee Valley and Flemington, so I expect I shall be attending the races more frequently than ever before. Perhaps this year I’ll go to the Derby and Melbourne Cup, as my Flemington seasons ticket covers those meetings.
Flemington this coming Saturday features the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap (1400 metres), so I might rock along and avail myself of the seasons ticket. I also want to see how the new lens for my Panasonic micro four thirds camera performs at the races, before the serious racing begins.
The race card is not all that interesting, the Aurie’s Star Handicap being the pick of the litter with a few interesting contestants, such as former Perth star, Luckygray who is now based in Melbourne with a different trainer. He is weighted accordingly at the top and is the class horse in the race, though is yet to post a win in Melbourne. Temple of Boom won this race two years ago, but hasn’t come anywhere near winning for over a year. Australian Guineas winner Ferlax starts his spring campaign in this and may surprise as he did when winning the aforementioned race. I rather like Keep Cool as a rough chance, but in form and fit Riziz who will probably start as favourite, could take the prize as could last start winner Falcent.
At Randwick on Saturday the classiest race of the day is the Group 3 Missile Stakes, a sprint over 1200 metres. It has attracted a small, but choice field. Hay List, after a long layoff with injury, returns to the track in this. It’s more a case of watch and see, to gauge if he is back in business for real, rather than speculate on the likelihood of him winning the race. Rain Affair has not won for some time, but gets an opportunity to score with a heavy track enhancing his chances. Of the rest of the field Mic Mac, who recently won his first race in a long while, and Mrs Onassis who stole the Oakleigh Plate back in February represent the next best dressed and could run a place.