Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Sun in Splendour – Caulfield Guineas Day Review

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The Autumn Sun - winner of the 2018 Caulfield Guineas

Melbourne weather put on a spectacular warm and sunny day for the races on Saturday, and two races were won by horses with names reflecting the star that rules our galaxy.

Sunlight won the prize in race 3 and The Autumn Sun was the outstanding winner of the feature event, the Caulfield Guineas.

As mentioned in my previous post, it was a long day, but flashed by quite fast with plenty of racing action to stave off boredom.

I arrived at Caulfield in plenty of time for Race 1 the Debutant Stakes, where the star attraction Utzon, the pure white filly, was having her first start.

A fair crowd of interested spectators was outside her stall when I got there, but it was easy to get photos of the exceptionally pretty young thing.

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Utzon in her stall being saddled up for the first race

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Utzon in the pre-parade ring

Though she did not look likely to win, it didn’t help that she was stopped in her tracks when another horse careered across her path halfway down the straight, so she ended up finishing ninth.

The race was won by Champagne Boom from Biscara and Wedgetail.

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Champagne Boom wins the Debutant Stakes

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Utzon in action just past the the winning post

Utzon certainly stands out from the crowd with her pure white colouring and turned pink when she was hosed down after the race.  It must cost her connections  a fortune in sun screen as well as shampoo to keep her looking sparkling.

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Utzon being hosed down

Fast forwarding to race 3,  the Group 3 Thoroughbred Club Stakes, it was pleasing to see speedy filly Sunlight win again, after leading from the start to the finish, despite drawing a wide gate.  She’s one tough filly having now won seven of her ten starts.  She won the Thoroughbred Club Stakes by over a length from Humma Humma, with Meryl a further length away in third place.

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Sunlight returns to scale

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Humma Humma returns to scale

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Meryl returns to scale

The first of the Group 1 races, the Thousand Guineas was scheduled as race 6, so there were two races to watch before it ran. In race 4, the Cape Grim Beef Steaks, Queensland based filly Winter Bride registered her second win on the trot down south. scoring narrowly from Booker and Our Crown Mistress.

And in race 5, the Group 2 Schillachi Stakes, Ball of Muscle led from start to finish to win by ¾ length from Spirit of Valour with Missrock running third.

Smart Melody was the hot favourite for the Thousand Guineas, and though she raced on the speed for most of the race, she faded to finish 7th.  There was some doubt about her ability to run a solid 1600 metres, which was obviously the excuse for her failure.  Amphitrite, the eventual winner, on the other hand, came from last to first down the outside to win narrowly from 100/1 shot Fundamentalist with Seabrook a further length away running third.

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Thousand Guineas just past the post – Amphitrite is the widest runner

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Amphitrite on her way to the barriers

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Fundamentalist on her way to the barriers

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Seabrook (all four feet off the ground) on her way to the barriers

Over all, I’m really pleased with the photos I snapped last Saturday, especially those I took of horses heading for the barriers. My vantage point was the small section above the pre-parade ring , which I basically had to myself. It was however disadvantageous for getting photos of the finish, being a bit too far away from the action.

The second Group 1 to jump was the Toorak Handicap which was won by Land of Plenty, another who swooped from the back of the field to win by over a length from old trooper Hartnell and Siege of Quebec.

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Just past the post in the Toorak Handicap

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Land of Plenty on his way to the barriers

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Hartnell returns to scale

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Siege of Quebec on his way to the barriers

International invader Benbatl demonstrated that he could be the horse to test Winx’s mettle in the Cox Plate, his win in the Ladbroke Stakes causing a flutter in the hearts of Winx fans everywhere. Will he be the one that spoils her attempt at a fourth win in the famous race?  I fervently hope not.

The Chris Waller trained D’Argento and Unforgotten shared favouritism for the Ladbroke Stakes, but both finished unplaced, the firmish track being blamed for their uncharacteristic performance. Benbatl raced on the speed along with Homesman and fellow International Blair House, and fought the latter to the line to win by a whisker. Humidor came from the back of the field to score third place.

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Just past the post in the Ladbroke Stakes

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Benbatl on his way to the barriers

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Blair House in the pre-parade ring

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Humidor on his way to the barriers

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D’Argento on his way to the barriers – a handsome grey!

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Unforgotten on her way to the barriers

Having been at Caulfield since the first race, it was relief when the Caulfield Guineas was finally set to run. The afternoon had not been wasted as my friend Rebecca and I did manage to catch up with Chris Waller and get our Winx racebooks signed – it adds to their value should I wish to sell them (god forbid!)

Anyway, The Autumn Sun, another of Chris Waller’s stable stamped himself as a potential champion of the turf with his stunning win in the Caulfield Guineas. He raced three wide for most of the race, then overtook the leaders at the top of the straight to win by 4½ lengths from 100/1 outsider Vassilator with the filly Oohood running third.

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Just past the post – James McDonald celebrates The Autumn Sun’s victory

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The Autumn Sun still in full flight around the corner

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Left to right – Oohood, Good ‘n’ Fast & Vassilator

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The Autumn Sun returns to scale

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Vassilator on his way to the barriers

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Oohood on her way to the barriers

I did not stay for the final race on the program, the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes, which was won by Yucatan from Brimham Rocks and Prince of Arran – all imports.

We did take time out to watch The Everest, run at 3.15pm, that resulted in Redzel winning it for a second time. Trapeze Artist and Osborne Bulls ran second and third.

Next Saturday is the first of the big Cups, the Caulfield Cup, which I’ll be attending of course, then it’s only a week to the Cox Plate.

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