There is less than a fortnight to go for the first Group 1 race of the 2016 Spring racing season, so on Saturday I headed back to Caulfield to take in some racing action and psych myself for the upcoming carnival.
It offered a reasonably interesting race card and featured the Group 2 P.B Lawrence Stakes (formerly Liston Stakes), a race over 1400 metres.
Also on the program were the Group 3 Vain Stakes and Quezette Stakes for three year old Guineas bound colts (Vain) and fillies (Quezette) which are usually worth seeing in light of the future Group 1 events.
I arrived at Caulfield in plenty of time to watch race 4, the MRC Foundation Handicap, a sprint for mares over 1100 metres.
The favourite was Ocean Embers and she romped in by a length to Cana with Glenbawn Dame running third.
It is practically impossible to take photos of horses running down the straight these days at Caulfield as the height of the fence does not allow a clear view, the outside rail blocking one’s point of view. So I took all of my action shots from the hill above the stalls area.
The afternoon was overcast, not the best light for taking photos, especially as I’m still trying to figure out the best settings for the Nikon camera.
In the stalls area several of the contenders for the feature race were waiting in their stalls. It was great to see Group 1 winning mares Jameka and Suavito again, and The Cleaner having his first start for the spring. He was scratched from the Bletchingly Stakes.
Race 5 was the Vain Stakes for colts and geldings and run over 1100 metres.
The hot favourite was the attractively named Russian Revolution, gunning for a third consecutive win in his short career.
He was successful, just, beating Highland Beat and Hardham by a little over a length.
The fillies equivalent of the Vain Stakes is the Quezette Stakes, now named the Winslow Group Stakes.
It was good to see that the So You Think filly Conscious was part of the field. I last saw her at Flemington in February at her first start, where she ran second to Weatherly in the Blue Diamond Prelude.
It was an evenly matched field with Modern Wonder, who had won her only start being the 5/1 favourite, but ended up finishing last.
I Am A Star lived up to her name and was victorius, coming from the rear of the field to beat Leotie and race leader Athena Lass on the line.
The feature race was up next on the program and the contenders were being saddled up and paraded in the pre parade ring…
The P.B. Lawrence Stakes was run at a rattling pace, The Cleaner and Lord of the Sky fighting out the lead. Miss Rose De Lago was handy on the pace in fourth spot, but came wide to beat home Jacquinot Bay and Entirely Platinum by a half length.
I did not hang around for the last two races, with the light deteriorating and the late afternoon chill making it less pleasant to be outdoors.
Next week I’m looking forward to going back to Moonee Valley for the Nissen McKenzie Stakes meeting. However the classy racing action will be in Sydney at Randwick racecourse, where Winx will be making her first racing appearance for spring in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes.
Last week it was revealed that Winx had minor surgery on a bone chip in her fetlock after her Doncaster win. So all eyes will be watching her in the Warwick Stakes to see how she goes. Hopefully all will be well and that she comes back to racing as good as ever.
If all goes to plan we’ll see her in Melbourne twice – in the Caulfield Stakes and the Cox Plate.