Saturday, March 30, 2019

Sydney & Winx Invincible 32

Winx in full flight after winning the George Ryder Stakes
It has taken some time to settle down and write an account of my venture to Sydney for the Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill, but various distractions, not mention the cold I managed to bring back from Sydney, have made me disinclined to post.

I’m also discouraged by having to use the clunky Blogger editor for composing posts since Open Live Writer, the nifty software I’ve been using to create blog posts, has not been updated to cope with Google’s new photo application. I can post text from Open Live Writer but not images. I’ve been using Open Live Writer and its predecessor Windows Live Writer since 2006 and it has simply been the best WYSIWYG blog editor around.

Anyway on to Sydney…

There were no transport issues this time, planes leaving pretty much on time, and trains easy to catch from Central Station and running limited express to Rosehill Racecourse and back again.

As I’d arrived on Friday evening I was up early and after breakfasting, I headed out to Rosehill and got there before the first race, so I had time to look around Rosehill in more detail. Looking at the Rosehill racecourse map, I was curious about a building called the Grand Pavilion situated next to the Members Stand beyond the winning post that appeared to have a grassed area in front of it.

So heading off that way I came across the Golden Slipper Trophy

Golden Slipper Trophy
…and Todman’s statue in a little courtyard, with a wreath of flowers around his neck.

Todman Statue
Though there appeared to be a corporate event in the lower part of the Grand Pavilion, there was access to the lawn at the top end of the straight.  The only people present were track workers who didn’t object to me occupying the space and nobody showed any inclination to turf me out.

It wasn’t a bad spot for taking photographs, as for every race all the horses passed by on their way to the starting gates, and returned to scale the same way after the race. The light was excellent.

The early part of the day was hot, humid and sunny, though it grew overcast later in the day, affording some relief from the sun. The track was a heavy 8 even so.

I tested photography conditions in the first race of the day, the Birthday Card Stakes, a race for fillies and mares over 1200 metres. New Zealand filly Avantage, beat Resin and Star Reflection.

Avantage returns to scale
In between races I sought the shade close the Grand Pavilion ground floor entrance, where there were a few chairs to sit on. I liberated one of the chairs to stand on for the next race, to overcome issues with rails intruding on shots.

Melbourne filly Krone was victorious in race 2, the Darby Munro Stakes. She defeated Wild Planet and race favourite, Classique Legend.

Krone returns to scale

Wild Planet returns to scale

Classique Legend returns to scale
After race 2, I wandered back to the main section of the course to get a bottle of water and also check out the stalls area. Though Winx had not yet arrived at the course there was a large crowd of Winx fans surrounding her stall.

Winx fans surround her stall waiting for her arrival
This was quite a change from last year, where there was hardly anyone in the stalls area.  But as her winning streak grows ever longer, Winx’s popularity has expanded exponentially.

The race meeting was practically a sell out and the grandstands were packed to the rafters.

Crowded Grandstands
Back on the Grand Pavilion lawn, race 3, the Group 3 N E Manion Cup was next to run. For Sydney Cup  bound stayers it’s a race over 2400 metres.

The Lloyd Williams stayer, British import Midterm won from Big Duke and Shraaoh.

Midterm returns to scale

Big Duke returns to scale
Shraaoh returns to scale
One of the good things about being up the Grand Pavilion end of the course was that for 2000 metre races, the starting gates were placed just next to the lawn on a track extension.

As the next race was the Rosehill Guineas (2000 metres), starring The Autumn Sun,  I had an excellent view of the start.

Rosehill Guineas start
The Autumn Sun and Arrogant fought out the finish up the straight, with The Autumn Sun prevailing to win by  a narrow margin. Chapada finished third  2½ lengths behind.

The Autumn Sun & Arrogant still head to head past the finish line
The Autumn Sun returns to scale
Arrogant returns to scale
Chapada returns to scale
Of course I was missing out on the electric atmosphere that infects a racecourse when Winx is running, but knowing the propensity of today’s young racegoers to use their iPhones for photos, I was glad to be out of the scrum on the fence near the mounting yard, which would have been very difficult for decent photos.

Winx in the mounting yard
As ever, I was hoping for the perfect shot, and though I did get some good photos of Winx, the fact that she raced on the widest part of the track meant that a lot of them are head on shots.

Winx on her way to the starting gates
Winx returns to scale
Winx heading back to scale - iPhones at my end of the track
Winx naturally won her 4th successive George Ryder Stakes and 32nd consecutive race by 3½ lengths from Brutal with Dreamforce a further 3 lengths behind in third.

In the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes, Avilius returned to form registering a two length win over He’s Eminent and New Zealand mare Danzdanzdance.

Ranvet Stakes finish
Avilius returns to scale

He's Eminent returning to scale
Danzdanzdance heading back to scale

The feature race of the day was of course the Golden Slipper Stakes and it was next on the program.

The royal blue silks of Godolphin were prominent in the Golden Slipper finish, with Kiamichi, Microphone and Lyre running the trifecta with Bart’s grandson James Cummings training the first two.

Golden Slipper finish just past the post
Kiamichi returning to scale
Microphone returns to scale
Lyre returns to scale
After the Slipper I decided to move back to the main area of the course to be closer to the exit for trains. A lot of people had departed after the Golden Slipper, so it was easy to get a position on the fence near the mounting yard to watch the final Group 1 race of the afternoon.

This was the Galaxy and  Nature Strip started as favourite.  He led for most of the race and looked to have it won as he approached finish line, until challenged by a flying Pierata. It looked like a dead heat between Nature Strip and Pierata, with Nature Strip in the end being declared the winner.

Nature Strip leaves the mounting yard for the track
James McDonald celebrates Nature Strip's narrow victory in the Galaxy

James McDonald commiserates with Tommy Berry on Pierata
As by this time I’d been at Rosehill for five hours, I didn’t stay for the last race or the free Jimmie Barnes concert that was happening afterwards.

On Friday night I watched the running of the Group 1 Willaim Reid Stakes on my iPad and was delighted by Sunlight’s commanding win, where she led from the start to the finish to beat a fast finishing Spright and Ellicazoom by three quarters of a length.

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