The first Group 1 race of Melbourne’s Autumn Racing Carnival is less than a fortnight hence, so I decided last Saturday to psych myself up and head to the races at Caulfield.
It wasn’t a terribly interesting meeting other than the two Blue Diamond Previews, where one is afforded an early opportunity to see Blue Diamond bound babes in action. Several winners of the Previews have gone on to win the Blue Diamond Stakes, most recently Sepoy (2011), Reward For Effort (2009) and Miracles of Life (2013).
I did not make a long day of it, arriving at Caulfield in time to watch Race 3, which was the Le Pines Funerals Handicap run over 1400 metres. The Hawkes trained Groundbreak started as favourite but finished out of the placings. Critical Thinking, a son of So You Think, led from the start and held on to win narrowly over Simply Invincible and Indian Thunder.
The first of the Previews to run was the colts edition and I Am Immortal started as favourite even though this was his first start, though he had impressed recently in a trial at Pakenham. He also led from the start and held on to win by a length from second favourite Microphone with Alburq running third another length behind.
I managed to get photos of most of the field in the pre-parade ring, and the standout good looker was Brazen Brando who looked the spitting image of his sire Brazen Beau, also a stunner. He ran fourth, racing from the rear of the field with an impressive turn of foot.
In the fillies Blue Diamond Preview, Catch Me’s win was the more impressive and hard won, as she ran three wide for most of the race, then broke through to defeat race favourite, and leader, Jedastar by a length, with Shih Tzou following for a narrow third.
Interestingly both Catch Me and I Am Immortal were sired by I Am Invincible. Whether either are good enough to win the Blue Diamond is yet to be seen.
I called it quits after the fillies Preview and headed home, the heat of day putting me off staying longer.
Next Saturday’s race card at Caulfield looks somewhat more interesting with a possible clash between classy speedsters, the handsome chestnuts, Written By and Nature Strip in the
Listed W J Adams Handicap, and Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut is nominated for the feature Group 3 Manfred Stakes.
The equine stars are emerging at last as the racing scene builds up to Group 1 action.
And of course there’s Winx, who will kick off her final season of racing in the Apollo Stakes on February 16.
I’ve been contemplating going to see her in Sydney again for the last time and tossing up between Golden Slipper day and Queen Elizabeth Stakes day. Golden Slipper day, at Rosehill, where Winx, all going to plan, will be running in the George Ryder Stakes, has won out. I would prefer to go to Rosehill rather than Randwick – it’s better for photos. Anyway, my flight to Sydney is booked, as is accommodation, so I can’t change my mind.