Monday, October 07, 2013

Happy Trails & Tribulations – Turnbull Stakes Review

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Happy Trails returning to the mounting yard after winning the Turnbull Stakes

No doubt there was much to celebrate in the Happy Trails camp after the bargain basement gelding pipped the favourite, Puissance de Lune, at the post in the Turnbull Stakes. And I’m sure there was tribulation aplenty among the losers, particularly for Fiorente and Super Cool connections. I was disappointed that Super Cool was unplaced and somewhat chagrined that Puissance de Lune was once again denied his first Group One on the line.  But as they say, that’s racing.

Weatherwise, it couldn’t have been a better day for spending time at the track, with the sun blazing down all afternoon, after a rather uninspiring overcast morning. The only drawback was the strong wind buffeting the wide open spaces of Flemington racecourse.

The famous Flemington roses are not quite out, no doubt perfectly timed to bloom during the four big days of the VRC Spring Racing Carnival. However, pretty blossoming trees lined the alley that leads to the back area of the stalls…


…where I wandered as usual to catch the equine stars in their stalls or perambulating in the Parade Ring.

I was delighted to see that old favourite, Apache Cat had ventured from Living Legends to be present for the occasion. I even got to give him a pat this time.

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Apache Cat hanging out in the stalls area

Whilst in the area I took a few photos of the Turnbull contestants

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Dear Demi in her stall

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Fiorente in the parade ring

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Hawkspur in his stall – he has an interesting white crescent  moon on his forehead.

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Hawkspur’s stablemate Royal Descent in her stall

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Super Cool in the Parade Ring

Knowing how unreliable the form is betting on horses at Flemington, I refrained from wagering most of the afternoon and only outlaid on the Turnbull Stakes on my two favourites, Super Cool and Puissance de Lune, though I did watch several races before the feature event out of interest.

Race 5 was the listed Tavern Stakes for four year olds and up over 1410 metres.  It was won by Molto Bene from British General and Goldslick.

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Molto Bene returns to scale after winning the Tavern Stakes

The next race on the cards was The Bart Cummings, one for stayers over 2520 metres, and of interest due to the general curiosity on how Sea Moon would go. He finally won, but lost out to an upheld protest from the rider of the second horse Araldo. Gotta Take Care ran third.

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Sea Moon returns to the mounting yard after technically winning The Bart Cummings

The Edward Manifold Stakes – race 7 on the card - was the first of the Group races to be run. It’s a Group Two race for three year old fillies run over 1610 metres.  Politeness was the hot favourite, but she ended up unplaced. Se Sauver won it from Star Fashion with Solicit taking out third place – all were at double figure odds.

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Se Sauver returning to scale after winning the Edward Manifold Stakes

Race 8 was the one we’d spent all afternoon waiting for, so I grabbed myself a good possie on the mounting yard fence to see the parade…

Saddlecloth no 1 – Manighar

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Saddle cloth no 16 – Royal Descent

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Saddle cloth no 14 – Dear Demi

…then moved to the side to see the field file out onto the track.

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Puissance de Lune and Glen Boss

fiorente 3 Fiorente and Nash Rawiller

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Happy Trails and Dwayne Dunn

jet away
Jet Away and Daniel Moor

silent achiever my
Silent Achiever and Stephen Arnold

glencadam gold my
Glencadam Gold and Vlad Duric

It was somewhat of a messily run race, with some horses being blocked for a run when it counted. When Puissance de Lune flashed past down the straight, those of us watching thought he had it won. But Happy Trails overtook him just before the post, and the glory was all his. Fawkner beat the rest of the field home into third place, though there was a protest raised against him from somewhere behind claiming interference.  The protest was eventually dismissed, so I could  collect my winnings on Puissance de Lune and head home.

Spending an afternoon at Flemington racecourse seems to be much more exhausting than at the other racetracks. When you consider that the straight is 1200 metres long, and you walk that distance several times during the afternoon, you probably clock up a couple of miles.

I’m still tossing up whether I’ll go to the Derby, but before that there is a fabulous race card at Caulfield next Saturday with three Group One races, featuring the Caulfield Guineas. I pre-booked a ticket a couple of months ago and saved $20.00 on the gate price, so I’ll be there with bells on.

Atlantic Jewel and It’s A Dundeel may clash again next Saturday in the Group One Caulfield Stakes. It’s A Dundeel is under an injury cloud with a hoof abscess, so he may not start. The news today was that the abscess had burst, so fingers crossed, I hope he recovers quickly.

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