It was one of the most unusual Group 1 races in recent racing history.
The Caulfield Stakes, with only three runners, ignited great interest and was the must see race of the day last Saturday at Caulfield and delivered the expected result with Winx winning her twelfth race in succession and eigth Group 1.
The feature race in fact was the Caulfield Guineas, run later in the day and the earlier races before the Caulfield Stakes were basically time fillers, so I won’t go into much detail about them here.
I arrived at Caulfield in time to watch Race 3, the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes.
Hear The Chant won it from My Country and Modern Wonder.
Race 4 was named in honour of 2007 Caulfield Guineas winner Weekend Hussler and run over 1600 metres.
Chetwood started as favourite and won the Weekend Hussler Stakes comfortably, by 2 lengths from Rough Justice with Sistine Demon running third.
The bizarrely named Cape Grim Beef Steaks, masquerading as race 5 was up next. It was a Group 3 race for fillies, run over 1200 metres. The number jackets worn by the strappers leading out the horses were styled as butchers aprons.
Fortunately nothing grim happened during the race, which was won by Sheidel from Silent Sedition and A Lotta Love.
With its usual lack of consideration for general admission patrons, Caulfield Racing Club had blocked off access to the mounting yard, so I spent most of the afternoon hanging out in the stalls area and concentrated on taking photos from the hill above them, of horses going to and from the barriers. Bugger trying to see over the hedge on the public lawn fence.
I took a few photos of horses in their stalls, and snapped the following photo of 2015 Melbourne Cup winner, Prince of Penzance. It’s probably the last photo of him I’ll ever get, as he was injured during the running of the Herbert Power Stakes and will most likely be retired.
Little did I know as I photographed him that he had suffered a fracture to his off fore leg shortly before.
Other stall photos of fortunately sound horses…
Race 6, the Caulfield Stakes was the one we’d all been waiting for and I snagged my position on the fence on the hill early to get a good viewpoint. A buzz of excitement reminiscent of the Black Caviar days rippled around the course as everyone jostled to catch a glimpse of golden girl Winx.
With the race being run over 2000 metres, the barrier stalls were set up on the track just after the turn beyond the stalls area…
…so the horses leaving the mounting yard were bound to gallop towards them after initially cantering up the straight and turning around.
As only three horses were involved in the Caulfield Stakes, it didn’t take long to have them loaded and off.
The race was run at a leisurely pace, Black Heart Bart setting the pace in the lead, with Winx cruising in second place ahead of He Or She. After the turn into the straight, Winx moved up level with Black Heart Bart on his outside, sailed past him, and zoomed away for an easy 2 length win, hardly raising a sweat. He Or She finished way back, 6 lengths from Winx.
And me, I decided to desert my post and go and get a drink. It was a fortuitous move as by chance I ran into Winx’s trainer Chris Waller and cadged his signature in my racebook against her name.
When I got back, it was almost time for the Thousand Guineas, the fillies Group 1.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Global Glamour, who only the week before had won the Group 1 Flight Stakes at Randwick, started as favourite and marked herself as a class act by winning the Thousand Guineas as well.
She won by a length from local girl I Am A Star with WA filly Whispering Brook running a close third.
The colts and geldings were to strut their stuff in the next race, the Caulfield Guineas. Godophin colt, Impending was the starting favourite. A blue blood, breeding wise, he is from Lonhro (2001 Caulfield Guineas winner) by Mnemosyne, who won the Thousand Guineas in 2005. However, he finished out of the placings in fourth spot.
The Hawkes trained Divine Prophet proved the winner, narrowly holding off Seaburge and Hey Doc on the line.
The final Group 1 race was the Toorak Handicap. He’s Our Rokkii added a further picket to the fence against his name in the racebook, notching up his 5th win in succession. He was the favourite and a popular winner. Outsiders Great Esteem and Tivaci filled the minor places.
Much as I was tempted, I didn’t stay for the Schillaci Stakes, the final race on the program as it was now after 5.00 pm. It was won by three year old Star Turn from Malaguerra and Fell Swoop.
In Sydney Yankee Rose made history by becoming the first filly to win the Spring Champion Stakes. She’s nominated for the Crown Oaks and Cox Plate, so we’ll hopefully get to see her in Melbourne before too long.
Next Saturday is Caulfield Cup Day – already! The Spring Racing Carnival is flashing by at the speed of light, so I’ll make the most of what’s left of it by attending the meeting. As well as the feature race, an added attraction is the return of the love horse Lankan Rupee in the Caulfield Sprint.