Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Déjà Vu or Back to Form–Caulfield Guineas Day Review

race 9 _shooting to win 4
Shooting To Win does a circuit of the mounting yard after winning the Caulfield Guineas

As I expected, it was a very long afternoon at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday, but as the racing was first class and full of interest it passed quite quickly.

I got to Caulfield rather earlier than I anticipated and was able to watch the first race from the hill above the parade ring. It was a race for two year olds having their first start and is appropriately called the Debutant Stakes.

Here’s a photo of the finish just past the winning post, with Of The Brave winning by a comfortable margin. He’s by Starspangledbanner out of Runaway Jesse and is a half brother to the talented filly, Eloping.

race 1_finish 1
Race 1 finish – Of The Brave wins the Debutant Stakes

race 1_of the brave 2
Of The Brave returns to scale

Whilst I was in the neighbourhood of the stalls, I naturally checked out the horses who had already arrived. These included several of the International stayers here for the Cups.

protectionist 4
German horse Protectionist in his stall

renew 1
English horse Renew in his stall

Also already present was 2014 Blue Diamond winner Earthquake

earthquake 1
Earthquake in her stall

…and 2013 Golden Slipper winner Overreach.

overreach 1
Overreach in her stall

As race 2, the Thoroughbred Club Stakes was the next race on the agenda, I made my way to the public lawn to see if I could squeeze in on the fence. Festive race goers had spread their blankets all over the place, and seemed more interested in eating and drinking than watching the races, so it was easy to get a spot on the fence.

As Earthquake started at really short odds, and would have been my pick had I decided to back her, I didn’t bother with a bet, and watched the fillies file out onto the track.

race 2_earthquake 1
Earthquake – back in the winners circle

race 2_tawteen 1
Tawteen – ran second

race 2_more radiant 1
More Radiant – third

Earthquake proved that she was not a spent force. Racing on the speed just outside race leader Tawteen, she managed to overhaul  her in the straight to win by a length with More Radiant running third.

race 2_finish 2
Earthquake and Tawteen fight out the finish in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes

race 2_earthquake 4
Earthquake in winners rug

With that race done and dusted I ambled back to the stalls area for some tranquil horse watching, which is much more to my taste than watching the raucous partying patrons

Various contenders for the Group 1 races to come were parading, most notably the eventual Caulfield Stakes winner, Fawkner.

fawkner 3
Fawkner in the walking ring

Commanding Jewel was also being walked…

commanding jewel 3
Commanding Jewel in the walking ring

…and Rubick was waiting patiently in his stall…

rubick 2
Rubick in his stall

Race 3 was the Weekend Hussler Stakes, so I decided to watch it from the hill.

race 3_finish 2
Race 3 finish just past the post – Hosting the winner is on the far left  in the striped red & white silks.

Hosting was one of the few back markers to win on the day, as most of the winners raced on the pace.  Taddei Tondo ran second with Tango’s Daughter third.

race 3_hosting 1
Hosting returns to scale after winning the Weekend Hussler Stakes

Hosting’s win was the second of three consecutive wins for jockey Kerrin McEvoy (he was also Earthquake’s jockey).

Kerrin rode Rubick to victory in the next race, the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes.

For that race I made my way back to the public lawn, pausing in the Bookies area to place my first bet of the day on Rubick, who was at reasonably good odds of $4.50 to win.

Overreach started as the favourite, but was outsprinted by Rubick who led through most of the race, and won by a length from Platelet who rocketed into second place, relegating Overreach to third spot.

I took some photos of the contestants as they passed by on their way to the barriers.

race 4_rubick 1

race 4_platelet 1

race 4_iconic 1

race 4_finish 1
Schillaci Stakes finish – Rubick leads with Overreach outside Platelet.

I was delighted with Rubick’s win, as it’s always encouraging to have one’s first bet a winner.  His win, and Earthquake’s before that, reminded me of the first time I saw these two youngsters on Orr Stakes day in February winning their respective Blue Diamond preludes – kind of Deja Vu.

The Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes was the next race on the program and I was interested to see how the Internationals would perform in their first try on Australian racetracks.

They are a handsome bunch, beautifully turned out, with manes plaited as was the case with Lord Van Percy.

race 5_lord van percy 1
Lord Van Percy

The winner of the race was imported French horse Big Memory who held off a determined Signoff and fast finishing Let’s Make Adeal to win by a half a length. It almost looked like Let’s Make Adeal was going to win, but she ran out of time at the finish. It was however her best run for ages. I had my money (for a win) on Sangster and Protectionist, but they finished out of the places, Protectionist finishing a close fourth.

race 5_straight_finish 1
Herbert Power Stakes finish – Big Memory leads with Signoff (green cap) and Let’s Make Adeal (pink & green stripes) just behind

As the races during Spring are now 35 minutes apart it was not long to wait for the first of the Group 1 races on the program. The quality packed field of the Caulfield Stakes came out onto the track as I regained my position on the fence, after placing a bet on Fawkner who was at good odds of $5.50.

race 6_criterion 1
Criterion who finished second

race 6_dissident 1
Dissident who bled and won’t be seen again this spring finished unplaced

race 6_foreteller 1
Foreteller finished 8th

race 6_side glance
Side Glance – race leader who finished third

race 6_fawkner 1
Fawkner – the winner

race 6_sacred falls 1
Sacred Falls – finished fourth

It was a beautifully judged ride by Nick Hall on Fawkner to take out the Caulfield Stakes. Fawkner raced up on the pace in third spot on the fence for most of the race and peeled out in the straight to take the lead from Side Glance. Criterion raced from mid field to steal second place, and Sacred Falls came from last to finish fourth.

race 6_finish
Caulfield Stakes finish down the straight – Fawkner overtakes Side Glance on his inside, with Criterion (yellow silks) making headway.

race 6_fawkner 4
Fawkner in the winners rug posing for the press.

Fawkner’s next assignment is the Cox Plate. He won the Caulfield Cup last year, but will not compete in it this year. He is the new favourite for the Cox Plate, since the previous favourite, Dissident, had an unfortunate bleeding attack during the Caulfield Stakes that has ruled him out of the rest of the spring carnival. 

This post is turning into a marathon effort, but by the time the second of the Group 1 events, the Toorak Handicap, I had been at the course for almost four hours, with another hour to go before heading home.

The Toorak Handicap was won by Trust In A Gust, his third win in succession, with Speediness running second and rank outsider Desert Jeuney filling third spot. I had a small win bet on both Commanding Jewel (at great odds of $11.00) and Arabian Gold. Neither managed to place.

race 7 _finish 1
Toorak Handicap down the straight – Trust In A Gust hits the front.

race 7_trust in a gust 2
Trust In Gust parades after winning the Toorak Handicap

I will admit that by the end of the Toorak Handicap, I was feeling a tad wearied and wondering if I had the stamina to last till the Caulfield Guineas.

The crowds had thinned by the time the Thousand Guineas got underway.  My bet for this was Afleet Esprit who had won her last three races over shorter distances. Perhaps the 1600 metres was beyond her, for she finished second last. The Group 1 glory went to Amicus who beat Traveston Girl with Sabatini running third. The favourite Lumosty finished eighth after being slow to start and racing at the back end of the field for the majority of the race.  The three place getters raced on the speed, typical of the pattern of racing on the day.

race 8_finish 2
Thousand Guineas finish – Amicus leads with Traveston Girl on her inside and Sabatini on her outside with Bring Me The Maid behind her.

race 8_amicus 7
Amicus parading after the Thousand Guineas in the winners rug

Fortunately it was a pleasant afternoon weatherwise, warm and slightly overcast, so excellent for photographs.

And finally, after a long day at the track, the feature race time was nigh.

Here are some of the main contenders on their way to the starting gates. Rich Enuff went the other way round, so I failed to get a photograph of him.

race 9 _almalad 1

race 9 _chivalry 1

race 9 _shooting to win 1
Shooting To Win

race 9 _kumaon 1

It was a race in the end between the top Melbourne colt and the top Sydney colt, with Rich Enuff and Shooting to Win fighting out the finish down the straight several lengths in front of the rest.

Shooting To Win prevailed and won by a neck to Rich Enuff who was far from disgraced. It was shades of Redoute’s Choice and Testa Rossa way back in 1999 who fought out a similar battle down the straight with Redoute’s Choice being the victor by a similar margin.

race 9 _finish 2
Caulfield Guineas down the straight - Rich Enuff & Shooting To Win fight out the finish.

Outsider Wandjina ran third.

race 9 _shooting to win 5
Shooting to Win is led back to scale after his victory in the Caulfield Guineas

As  I didn’t have a bet on the race, my fancy being Rich Enuff who started short priced favourite, I didn’t linger much longer at the racetrack and headed for the station and home, with almost as much money as I started out with, my two winning bets covering the losses with a bit extra to buy a drink and a race book.

Next Saturday is the Caulfield Cup, but I am not attending it, saving myself for the Cox Plate the following weekend and the Flemington carnival thereafter.

I am however going to a few concerts next week – Lindi Ortega at the Toff In Town on Sunday evening and Ryan Bingham at Northcote Social Club on Tuesday night, both of which shows I’m keenly looking forward to.

No comments: