Tuesday, February 27, 2018

A Gloomy Day with a Sparkle of Diamonds

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Written By returns to scale after winning the Blue Diamond

When I set out for Caulfield on Saturday the weather was warm and humid, but with a cool change sweeping in during the journey, a brisk chill greeted me as I stepped into the course. It was also raining slightly, and did so on and off throughout the afternoon, though fortunately didn’t bucket down.

So I was underdressed, but resigned myself to enduring the chill for the remainder of the afternoon.

It was challenging light for taking photos the heavy cloud cover barely lifting at any time, so I’m grateful that the nifty plugin filter Perfect Exposure did its job of enhancing the light in the photos that came out too dark.

I spent most of the afternoon out the back in the stalls area, which I had pretty much to myself and was pleased to discover that the Young Members were not accommodated on the hill as I had feared.

Loitering through the stalls area, I didn’t bother watching Race 3, but caught Race 4, the Group 2 Angus Armanasco Stakes, for three year old fillies run over 1400 metres.

I can’t say I’ve ever heard of the winner Summer Sham but she romped in to win by half a length from Palazzo Vecchio  with Miss Wahoo running third.

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Summer Sham wins the Angus Amanasco Stakes

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Summer Sham on her way to the barriers

Race 5 was the Group 3 Mannerism Stakes for mares also run over 1400 metres. Silent Sedition, who won the Mannerism last year, started as second favourite and didn’t disappoint, leading from start to finish to win by over two lengths.  Samovare finished second and Montoya’s Secret ran third.

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Silent Sedition is still well ahead after the turn

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Silent Sedition returns to scale

The first of the Group 1 races was up next, the Futurity Stakes.  It resulted in a Darren Weir trained Japanese bred quinella with  Brave Smash beating stablemate Tosen Stardom, with three year old  Showtime running third.

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Just past the post in the Futurity Stakes

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Brave Smash returns to scale

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Tosen Stardom returns to scale

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Showtime returns to scale

Having witnessed most of the build up races, I still had no idea of who the winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes would be, but I’m pleased that four of the nine horses I mentioned in my preview post finished in the first four, with Written By proving the star of the show, winning the Blue Diamond Stakes by a good two and half lengths from Enhibaar and Oohood. Prairie Fire finished fourth.

I watched the pre-parade before the field headed to the mounting yard. 

Here are the main contenders…

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Written By

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Prairie Fire

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Ennis Hill

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Kinky Boom

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Lady Horseowner

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Plague Stone

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Long Leaf

Written By was the starting favourite and gave his rider, the young Jordan Childs, his first Group 1 win. Jordan is the son of Greg Childs, famous for his association with Champion New Zealand mare Sunline.

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Blue Diamond Stakes just past the post – Written By still leads

In the final Group 1 of the day I was interested in getting some photographs of Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign, having not seen her in the flesh before. A fair crowd of interested racegoers were gathered around her stall most of the latter part of the afternoon, but my best photos were of her parading in the ring before the Oakleigh Plate. Despite the fact that it had started to rain, my photos actually turned out alright, though are slightly noisy and misty due to the fine rain falling at the time.

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She Will Reign

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She Will Reign head shot

The other runner I was keen to see was Russian Revolution who is rarely spotted on a racecourse. He paraded last and spent some time in the pre-parade ring when the others had all departed for the mounting yard.

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Russian Revolution in the pre-parade ring

The Oakleigh Plate was the final Group 1 race of the day. A field of 18 runners dashed down the straight with Russian Revolution winning by a neck from race leader Snitty Kitty with Hellbent a close up third.

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Oakleigh Plate finish – Russian Revolution & Snitty Kitty side by side on the fence

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Russian Revolution returns to scale

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Snitty Kitty in the pre-parade ring

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Hellbent returns to scale

She Will Reign was never in the picture, racing at the tail of the field with no hope of catching the leaders.

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She Will Reign returns to scale with Sword of Light

After the Oakleigh Plate I headed home and welcomed the chance to get warm on the train, after enduring  overly cool air for three hours.

There are only two Saturday Group 1 race meetings in Melbourne to go, before we bid farewell to another Autumn carnival. Both meetings are at Flemington.

Next Saturday features the Australian Guineas in Melbourne, and in Sydney at Randwick Winx will be starting her autumn season in the Chipping Norton Stakes and gunning for her 23rd consecutive win. 

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