Tuesday, February 12, 2019

The First Group 1 of Autumn – Orr Stakes Review

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Manuel – Orr Stakes winner returning to the stalls after the  presentation

In startling contrast to the last race meeting at Caulfield, last Saturday was cool and overcast as opposed to searingly hot and sunny, which was a welcome respite and made it much more pleasant to spend an afternoon at the races.

I arrived at Caulfield fairly early in the afternoon in time to watch the third race on the program. This was the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes, a race for mares over 1200 metres. The favourite was Princess of Queens and she didn’t disappoint, winning by a narrow margin from Fuhryk and I Am A Star.

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Bellmaine Stakes just past the post 

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Princess of Queens strolls back to scale

In Race 4, the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes, there was great interest in seeing how Nature Strip would fare in the 1100 metre race. He was one of the former Darren Weir horses racing on Saturday. He is now with Chris Waller, whom I’m sure would have been pleased with the speedster’s performance in the Rubiton Stakes. Nature Strip blitzed the field, leading from start to finish and winning by 3½ lengths from Jungle Edge, with Thermal Current running third a further 2 lengths behind.

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Nature Strip corners like a greyhound just past the post

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Nature Strip returns to scale

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Jungle Edge returns to scale

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Thermal Current returns to scale

The colts and geldings Blue Diamond Prelude was the first  to run and was up next.  Blue Diamond Preview winner I Am Immortal started as favourite and prevailed, again leading from go to whoa to narrowly defeat Shotmaker and Hawker Hurricane.  He is the first colt to accomplish the Preview/Prelude double since Sepoy in 2011. Whether he can go on to emulate Sepoy and take out the Blue Diamond Stakes is yet to be seen.

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I Am Immortal still ahead after the post

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I Am Immortal returns to scale

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I Am Immortal – head shot returning to the stalls after the presentation

In the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude, it was expected that previously impressive fillies Catch Me and Brooklyn Hustle would be prominent and fight out the finish, but neither featured and ended up out of the places.

Godolphin filly Lyre won the bickies at big odds from Vinicunca (also at big odds) and Athiri.

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Just past the post in the fillies Blue Diamond Prelude – the first three home- Lyre (blue silks, white cap) Vinicunca (inside) & Athiri (blue silks, blue cap)

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Lyre returns to the stalls after the presentation still in her winners rug

As far as the actual Blue Diamond Stakes goes the picture is somewhat unclear after the fillies Prelude. The great white hope for a filly to win is now Loving Gaby – a big strong girl who could well take the prize.

Regarding Brooklyn Hustle, the early favourite for the Blue Diamond, she could still be in the picture. She’s a lovely looking filly, quite the head turner, being a bright chestnut with blonde mane and tail, rather reminiscent of Miracles of Life, the 2013 Blue Diamond Stakes winner. I managed to get a lovely photo of her as she was being walked in the stalls area.

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Brooklyn Hustle

There was only one more race to run before the feature Group 1 event, and that was the Group 2 Autumn Stakes, a race for three year olds over 1400 metres.  Hawkshot, a handsome son of 2013 Melbourne Cup winner, Fiorente, ran a similar race to former stablemate Nature Strip, leading from the start to win by 3½ lengths from Dealmaker with Ringerdingding running third,

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Hawkshot in the pre-parade ring

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Hawkshot returns to scale

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Dealmaker on his way to the barriers

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Ringerdingding on his way to the barriers

Another who ran and won setting the pace was the long odds surprise winner of the feature Group 1 Orr StakesManuel trained by Tony McEvoy. Kementari was the hot favourite for the race, but as seems to always be the case, he was relegated to second place, dead heating with Land of Plenty.

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Orr Stakes just past the post – Manuel still has a good lead.

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Manuel on his way to the barriers

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Kementari on his way to the barriers

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Land of Plenty on his way to the barriers

Much as I would have liked to, I didn’t stay for the Group 3 Carlyon Stakes as it was getting late. It was won by Avilius, who is now favourite for the Australian Cup.

It remained overcast most of the afternoon,  challenging for properly exposed photos, but it only rained briefly shortly before the Orr Stakes. I had dressed for wet weather, and expected to be overly warm. A brisk breeze kept it cool, so I was never uncomfortable.

The absence of Darren Weir was noticeable, but his former horses performed very well for their new stables.

Next weekend the Melbourne racing moves to Flemington which features the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, wherein super filly Sunlight will hopefully shine. In Sydney at Randwick, the mighty Winx will be kicking off her final campaign in the Group 2  Apollo Stakes – a must watch race.  Go Winx!


Ann ODyne said...

Winx is lovely and so is the NU Country CMA awards nomination, so congrats on your contribution I hope you all win
I have loved
since the 70's.

Anne S said...

Yes, David Dawson certainly deserves the nomination after all these years promoting country music. It's long overdue in fact.

BTW are you aware that Google are shutting down Google+ and reverting any blog comments that used Google+ back to blogger.

iODyne said...

after I foolishly joined Guggle+, most of my usual Blogger commentors could not comment.
Yes, David deserves a medal, an AO at least, for his passion & consistent promotion of Australian music