Friday, July 25, 2014

Intimations of Spring & the State of Cat Politics

lord of the sky _stalls 1
Lord of the Sky – potential star of the turf – photographed in February 2014

This Saturday Caulfield Racecourse hosts the Bletchingly Stakes, a Group 3 sprint over 1200 metres. It is also the last Group race of the racing year, but I always see it as a harbinger of the new Spring racing season.

I miss going to the races, so even though the Bletchingly Stakes meeting is not all that interesting overall, I mean to venture to Caulfield to see young potential star Lord of the Sky race in the feature event. At his last outing he won the Sir John Monash Stakes by 4 lengths from Le Bonsir and Riziz, so he will no doubt start as hot favourite. Le Bonsir is also part of the Bletchingly field and may mount a challenge this time, that is if he can beat Nearest To Pin who narrowly beat him a fortnight ago. Others with a chance are Ready To Rip who won this race in 2012 and in form filly Thiamandi.

The first Group 1 race of the new spring season, the Memsie Stakes, is only a month away, so I don’t really expect any truly interesting competitions before then, though Puissance de Lune, who has been off the scene since suffering an injury in the 2013 Cox Plate, is expected to resume in the P B Lawrence Stakes in mid August. He won the race last year – his only win for the season as it turned out. 

I’m really looking forward to the return of Lankan Rupee, now dubbed the world’s best sprinter. He is to resume in the Group 2 McEwan Stakes in early September at Moonee Valley on Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes day, which I will surely attend as I have done for the past 10 years or so. As Lankan Rupee’s schedule includes two night meetings at Moonee Valley, I’ll miss seeing him run in them as I dislike night racing, but hopefully I’ll catch him in the Patinack Farm Classic on Emirates Stakes Day on the last day of the Flemington racing carnival .

I have not resubscribed to the Moonee Valley season ticket this year, as I found I hardly used it last season, but I have renewed my season ticket for Flemington and look forward to attending the major race days at that hallowed course, perhaps even the Melbourne Cup.

Many of the Group 1 stars of the autumn and last spring will be missing this year – It’s A Dundeel, Fiorente, Shamus Award etc. all being retired to stud – but several other old favourites will be resuming such as Super Cool and Commanding Jewel, along with new favourites like Earthquake, La Armistad, Rubick, May’s Dream to name a few. And who knows what new stars of the turf will emerge over the coming months. That’s the good thing about horse racing, there’s always the chance of something new to capture one’s fancy.


To finish this entry here are some recent photos of the resident cats.

Talya – such a pretty girl

Willy – the handsome one

The cats are not getting on any better than the last time I reported, but at least they don’t fight.  It being winter, they have been spending much more time inside wanting to sit on their human slaves laps.  No sooner do you sit down than a cat is clambering onto your lap or there’s one sitting in front of the computer trying to attract your attention.

Willy is the bane of visitors, hauling his bulk onto their knees. He weighs a good 8kg, so it’s a burden one must bear, and a snappy one at that, as he’s always been a bit of biter -  more a nipper really as he doesn’t bite hard enough to break the skin.

Winter starts to wear on a body at this time of year so I can’t wait for spring and warmer weather to arrive and the resumption of Group 1 racing of course.

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