Monday, October 06, 2014

The Sun, The Stars & Romance of Racing

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Lucia Valentina rugged after winning the Turnbull Stakes

Astrologically it’s not all that surprising that Lucia Valentina won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes last Saturday. The current zodiac sign is Libra and some of its attributes are love, romance and partnerships, its ruling planet being Venus, goddess of Love.

I made a note of last Saturday’s winners, and several of them could be said to have Venusian names. Lucia Valentina is one as is Blazer Stakes winner Forever Loved. In Sydney, He’s Your Man and Brazen Beau both won their respective races and Rising Romance narrowly lost out on winning the Craven Plate to Moriarty, whose name is almost the antithesis to Venus, being Sherlock Holmes arch enemy and more associated with Scorpio.

Though I am a believer in the power of Astrology, I don’t really put much faith in choosing winners based on the zodiac sign active at the time of year. But it is quite interesting to note what names the winners of races bear in relation to the astrological aspects, and surprisingly there are always a few horses who fit the bill.

Enough on Astrology, and on to my day at the races.

It was a splendid warm and sunny day on Saturday – t-shirts and sandals weather – so it was a pleasure to be outdoors at the beautiful Flemington racecourse even though the roses are not yet in bloom.

Arriving just after the running of Race 2, the UCI Stakes which was won by Magicool a half brother to Super Cool, who wears the same silks as his older brother, I headed as usual to the stalls area to see who had already arrived.

Living Legends Efficient and Zipping were parading in the walking ring as I got there, both former winners of the Turnbull StakesEfficient won it in 2009 and Zipping won in 2010.

efficient 2

zipping 3

Also walking around were several contenders for the feature race…

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Happy Trails

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Silent Achiever

the offer 2
The Offer

And others were waiting in their stalls…

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Puissance de Lune

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Let’s Make Adeal

As it was almost time for Race 3, the Group 3 Bart Cummings, I hastened back to the public lawn to watch it run.

The starting gates for this 2520 metre race are placed just in front of the mounting yard, but I failed to get a photo of the start as a couple of owners (presumably) blocked my view.

The race was won by Who Shot Thebarman by 2½ lengths from Marksmanship with Anudjawun running third. I did not have a bet on this race, in fact I only bet on three races all afternoon, for a win and a third place.

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Who Shot Thebarman returns to scale after winning the Bart Cummings

I was pleased Who Shot Thebarman won as he was one of my Star Stable horses, so scored me points in the competition.

My Star Stable did very well on Saturday with a few of them winning the major races – He’s Your Man (Epsom Handicap), Lucia Valentina (Turnbull Stakes)

Back at Flemington, the next race on the cards was the Vintage Stakes, a 1400 metre race for three year olds.

The Darren Weir trained Stratum Star was the winner, with Manhattan Avenue and Kapset filling the minor places.

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Stratum Star returns to scale after winning the Vintage Stakes

Chautauqua, the sensational winner of Race 5, the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes, seems to have come from out of the blue into the spotlight. He first came to notice in the Bobby Lewis Quality on 13 September, a race I didn’t witness as I’d left the course before it was run. Anyway, Chautauqua won that race by a couple of lengths and created a positive impression, but he won the Gilgai Stakes by four lengths, confirming that he is a sprinting force to be reckoned with.  We can look forward to him taking on Lankan Rupee and Buffering in either the Manikato Stakes or the VRC Sprint Classic.

Chautauqua was my first bet of the day, and even though he started favourite his odds were a reasonable $3.00, so I made a fair profit on my outlay, which basically financed the other two bets I placed. He’s also in my Star Stable.

New Zealand mare Bounding ran second with Final Crescendo filling third spot.

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Bounding in the mounting yard

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Chautauqua in the mounting yard

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Spirit of Boom in the mounting yard

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Chautauqua returns to scale after winning the Gilgai Stakes

Returning to the stalls area -  a fair walk up the public lawn, I noticed two small ravens sitting on the Makybe Diva statue – a good omen perhaps as two ravens are for joy, according to the old rhyme.

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Ravens perched on Makybe Diva statue

In race 6, the Edward Manifold Stakes I decided to put my money on Pittsburgh Flyer, mostly because she was in my Star Stable.  I should have forgiven Fontein Ruby her last loss, for she redeemed herself with a vengeance and Pittsburgh Flyer ended up running fourth behind Maastricht and Crafty who ran second and third.

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Fontein Ruby heads for the track

One filly, I’m A Flying Star didn’t want to leave the mounting yard, and had to be persuaded to go to the barriers.

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I’m A Flying Star baulks at leaving the mounting yard

She did however compete in the race, which is more than can be said of  Suavito in the Blazer Stakes (race 8) who refused to leave the barrier and missed the race entirely.

As the next race was the Turnbull Stakes, I decided to catch up with Super Cool and his strapper Jade to whom I’ve been supplying photos via Dropbox.

He was being saddled up when I reached his stall, so I lingered until he was ready. While Jade demonstrated his sweet and laid back temperament by getting him to kiss her…

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…I overheard his trainer Mark Kavanagh telling another bystander how he came to be called Super Cool. Apparently before they had named him, they noticed one day that he had three kids sitting on his back and he was completely unfazed by this attention. As Mark Kavanagh remarked, he couldn’t give a shit...

Returning trackside I got a good position on the mounting yard fence to get photos of the main contenders…

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Brambles – ran third

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Lidari – ran second

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Green Moon – second last

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Happy Trails with Super Cool following

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Puissance de Lune – finished fourth

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Silent Achiever – finished ninth

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Lucia Valentina – the winner

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Stipulate – finished fifth

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Super Cool – a disappointing eleventh

Lucia Valentina became the first mare to win the Turnbull Stakes since Devil Moon took it out in 2007.  Before her Makybe Diva (2005) and Sunline (2001) also won the race.

Here’s an old photo of Devil Moon taken at Moonee Valley on Manikato Stakes Day in 2007 after she won the Group 2 Cranes Stakes (now known as the Stocks Stakes). 

Devil Moon – Moonee Valley 15 September 2007

Anyway it’s rare for a mare to win the race, and Lucia Valentina, after being under an injury cloud for most of the week, won it by ½ length from Lidari and Brambles who raced up on the speed for most of the race with Lucia Valentina swooping from mid field to deny them victory. She is now outright Caulfield Cup favourite, and she quite possibly can win it.

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Lucia Valentina returns to scale

I did not wager on the Turnbull Stakes, being unable to make up my mind on a selection, so was delighted with Lucia Valentina’s win.

Deferring leaving the course after the feature race, I stayed to watch Race 8,  the Group 2 Blazer Stakes, where I fancied May’s Dream who had a good record of winning second up. The Gai Waterhouse trained Forever Loved won comfortably from Enquare with May’s Dream finishing third.  The big drama was the favourite, Suavito, refusing to leave the barriers, which was only noticed by race caller Greg Miles half way through the race.

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May’s Dream leaving the mounting yard

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Forever Loved returns to scale after winning the Blazer Stakes

Throughout the afternoon I caught up with the Sydney racing action.

He’s Your Man pipped his stable mate Royal Descent at the post to win the Epsom Handicap with outsider Hooked running third.

First Seal won the Flight Stakes in dynamic fashion by 3 lengths from Winx with Thinking of You running third. The top three fillies in the race a natural trifecta.

And in The Metropolitan Junoob made it two wins in succession, beating home Opinion and Araldo.

After collecting my place winnings on May’s Dream which were a pretty good $2.25, I headed to the station and home.

It was a very enjoyable day at the races, and I was pleased to witness two possible new stars of the turf in Chautauqua and Lucia Valentina in action. Also I wouldn’t be surprised if Who Shot Thebarman was somewhere in the finish in the Melbourne Cup.

Next week is Caulfield Guineas Day at Caulfield. I pre-purchased an early bird ticket ages ago, so mean to attend. There are four Group 1 races and an excellent support card to boot.

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