Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Showdown–Chills & Thrills at Caulfield

Prince of Sussex wins The Showdown
Normally, I would not attend a race meeting at Caulfield in April, but the prospect of witnessing the first running of the The Showdown was an attractive proposition, worth braving the chilly weather and the vagaries of public transport.

I was looking forward to seeing star filly Sunlight’s little sister Sisstar in the flesh and also keen to obtain the signature of Mystic Journey’s trainer Adam Trinder on my All Star Mile racebook.

 Adam Trinder was making a rare trip to the mainland from Tasmania with former Darren Weir trained mare, Twitchy Frank, who was entered into the third race, the Blue Gum Farm VOBIS Gold Distaff, a race for fillies and mares over 1400 metres.

With this in mind, I reached Caulfield in plenty of time to hang around the stalls area and catch the Tassie trainer’s attention.

Twitchy Frank, according to the racebook was supposed to be accomodated in Stall 87, but failed to arrive at that location, so we (my friend Rebecca & I) had to cruise the rest of the stalls and try and find her. As the runners for race 3 were being saddled up it wasn’t that hard to track Twitchy Frank down and attract Adam Trinder’s attention.

He obligingly signed our racebooks and also told us of his future plans for Mystic Journey, who possibly will kick off her Spring campaign in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes at the end of July.  Her main target for the Spring will be the Cox Plate.

It wasn’t a wasted trip to the mainland for Adam Trinder,  as Twitchy Frank leading from the start to the finish, won the Gold Distaff by half a length from Spannerhead with River Jewel running third.
Twitchy Frank returns to scale
Spannerhead on her way to barriers 

River Jewel on her way to the barriers
As The Showdown was scheduled as Race 6, there were two races to watch before it was set to run.

The first of these, the Spendthrift Australia VOBIS 3YO Sires was a race over 1600 metres and resulted in a very impressive win by Tarwin, who raced at the tail of the field, then stormed to the finishing post to win by three quarters of a length. Wham ran second with Duke of Magnus third.

Had we just seen a future star of the turf? At least, being a gelding, he might be around for a while and not be packed off to stud after winning a few races.

Tarwin in the pre-parade ring – a handsome son of
2011 Melbourne Cup winner 
Tarwin returns to scale

Wham running second
Duke of Magnus returns to scale
It was a day for favourites or second favourites to win with most of the nine race card delivering a popular victory, and such was the case in race 5, the Gold Dash, a sprint over 1100 metres.

Halvorsen was the punters second pick and he didn’t let them down winning by two lengths from Divine Mr Tycoon and Fine Dane.

Halvorsen still ahead just past the finishing post 
Prince of Sussex was the early favourite for The Showdown after impressing at his last start in Bendigo,  but the splendidly named Sartorial Splendor was the popular pick of the day. Though racing on the speed, Sartorial Splendor faded to finish fifth. 

Prince of Sussex did it harder, racing wide for most of the race, then bursting through a gap to storm home and win by 1.75 lengths from Hightail and Mishe Mokwa.

Sisstar was disappointing, certainly not as talented as her big sister so far.  She finished way back, over racing bringing about her failure to feature in the finish.

Prince of Sussex in the pre-parade ring
Sisstar in the pre-parade ring 
Hightail in the pre-parade ring

Mishe Mokwa in the pre-parade ring
The Showdown finish just past the post
Prince of Sussex returns to scale 
The afternoon was overcast and grew darker as the day progressed, which made taking photographs challenging, so I called it quits after the Showdown and headed home.

The focus of Group 1 racing switches to Morphettville this coming weekend with the Australasian Oaks and TAB Classic (formerly Robert Sangster Stakes) being the feature races.

Sunlight was nominated for the TAB Classic, but has been sent for a spell instead, which decision I applaud as she has had a hard campaign this autumn and probably needs a break.

I won’t be going to the races again until late winter/early spring, unless a special horse piques my interest

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