Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snitzerland the Brave – Black Caviar Lightning Review

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Snitzerland returns to scale after winning the Black Caviar Lightning

What a contrast it was weatherwise between Caulfield last week and Flemington yesterday.  As you can see by the photo above it got pretty soggy when the feature race was running. A heavy shower of rain passed through as the runners were parading in the mounting yard and it continued to drizzle during the race.

Earlier in the afternoon when I arrived at the track it was overcast and quite humid and sticky, but it cooled off as the afternoon progressed.

I reached Flemington just as Race 3 the Indian Summer Handicap was about to jump.  The Peter Moody trained mare Sino Eagle was the victor.

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Sino Eagle returns to scale after winning the Indian Summer Handicap

The races I was most interested in were later in the afternoon, so I plodded up the lawn to the Stalls area.  There I spotted Samaready in her stall.

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Samaready in her stall

Also cruising around was the Living Legends representative for the day, Silent Witness. Apache Cat didn’t make it as he was suffering from a sore hock. However, Silent Witness was a worthy replacement. He was to Hong Kong racing what Black Caviar was to Australian racing – he won his first seventeen races and was named the world’s fastest sprinter from 2003 to 2005.

He paraded around most of the afternoon and led out the Black Caviar Lightning field. I got to see him close up and even gave him a pat.

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Silent Witness mingling with the public.

Back on the lawn, marching down the Black Caviar Walk of Fame (which had been resurrected for the afternoon) was a three piece band, the musicians wearing Black Caviar ties and caps.

Band on the lawn – Makybe Diva statue in the background.

Race 4 was the Lawn Handicap, a sprint over 1200 metres. It was won by the Mick Price trained Mandla from Tackleberry and Tigerland.

Mandla returns to scale after winning the Lawn Handicap

The first of the Group races was the Group 3 Mitty’s Vanity for three year old fillies.  Solicit started as favourite and she won by over 2 lengths from Critical Angel. I had my money on Girl In Flight who ran third.

I watched the girls parade in the mounting yard before the race.

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Scratchy Bottom

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Critical Angel

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Spirit of Heaven

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Girl In Flight

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Solicit returns to scale after winning the Mitty’s Vanity

As you can see from the photos, the light, up to this time, was wonderful for taking good shots. A light shower passed through shortly before the the sixth race on cards.

The Group 2 CS Hayes Stakes was one of the feature races and had attracted a good field of colts and geldings. Unfortunately Polankski was scratched again, no doubt still suffering from a skin infection.  The favourite was Hucklebuck and he didn’t disappoint his supporters, winning comfortably from Prince Harada, who thankfully ran a much better race this time. The Quarterback ran third.

Hucklebuck is a most attractive young horse, the stand out in the mounting yard.

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Hucklebuck in the mounting yard

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Prince Harada on his way to the track

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The Quarterback looking fierce

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San Diego in the mounting yard

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Hucklebuck returns to scale after winning the CS Hayes Stakes

My wagering for the afternoon was very modest. I only had three bets, one of which was for Catkins in the Breeders Classic in Sydney. I watched the race on a small screen in the Bookies area, and cheered her home for a gritty win over Steps In Time. White Sage managed to finish third.

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Bookies ring at Flemington Racecourse

Placing a bet on Samaready in the feature race, I eventually made it back to the lawn and mounting yard. The rain had set in so the crowds were thin on the ground around the yard. I got somewhat damp, but as I’d made the mistake of sitting on the grass earlier in the afternoon, and got a wet behind, it hardly mattered. I was surprised that my photographs turned out alright despite the rain.

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African Pulse

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Being very much torn between backing Snitzerland and Samaready I was not in the least surprised that Snitzerland took out the 2014  Black Caviar Lightning – her first Group 1 win.  In fact the trifecta comprised the top three runners in the race – Snitzerland, Shamexpress and Samaready who finished in that order. The two and three year olds were never in the picture.

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Snitzerland being rugged after winning the Black Caviar Lightning

There wasn’t that much of a turn out for this year’s running of the Lightning Stakes as compared to the last two or three years. Black Caviar certainly drew the crowds, as the wide open spaces of Flemington racecourse were sparsely populated yesterday.

It took hours to get home as the trains were disrupted by signal failures at various stations. At least, by the time I got home my clothes had dried out completely.

Next Saturday the racing action returns to Caulfield, where the Blue Diamond Stakes features along with Group 1 action in the Futurity Stakes and Oakleigh Plate. Fiorente is expected to contest the Futurity, so I’m looking forward to seeing him again.

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