The major disruptions to public transport on Saturday, meant that it took considerably longer than usual to reach Caulfield from Ivanhoe, but I did arrive shortly after my anticipated ETA , as Race 4 was in progress.
For a change, as trains were not running on the Caulfield line, I took a tram from Flinders Street to the track. It traces a scenic route through the bayside suburb of St Kilda, and stops very close to the Caulfield Racecourse, so I only had to catch two methods of transport instead of three if I’d taken the replacement bus.
On arrival I didn’t bother watching race 4, but headed to the stalls area to see who had arrived. I came across Alizee first off, standing calmly in her stall.
It was rather pointless taking stall photos with the bright sunlight making it difficult to see the subject and also adding an unwanted flare effect to my photos.
Though the sunlight was problematic in the stalls area it was welcome when taking photos trackside on the public lawn.
My step stool is blessing as I can now get a clear view over the rail, which was impossible previously. I had no trouble getting it into the course, though admittedly was not stopped at all by the security personnel at the entrance gate.
Race 5, the Group 3 H. D. F. McNeil Stakes was the first of four races I witnessed over the afternoon. Super Seth started as favourite and prevailed over race leader King of Hastings, winning by 1¼ lengths, with Sebrakate running third.
The second race in the MRC Everest Series, which qualifies the winner to run in the Schillaci Stakes was The Heath, race 6, a sprint over 1,100 metres. Vega Magic, back after a long lay off due to injury, started as the warm favourite. However, though he initially raced on the speed, he faded to finish last and may not race again. He actually won the 2017 Memsie Stakes and was regarded a top sprinter a year or so ago.
Crystal Dreamer won the race at big odds (40/1) by ½ length from Gytrash with race leader Ball of Muscle filling third place.
The speedy Pippie, on a roll of two consecutive wins, was the warm favourite for Race 7, the Group 3 Cockram Stakes, and win she did, leading from the start to record a 1½ length margin over second placed Spanish Whisper and Sylvia’s Mother, a close third.
The feature race was of course the Memsie Stakes and it was up next with Alizee starting as favourite. It was however a pretty open race, with any number of chances. Begood Toya Mother fought out the lead with Despatch, but both were swooped by the back markers, in particular Scales of Justice who seized the lead half way down the straight. So Si Bon and Alizee flew from the rear to run second and third, close to the finishing post.
Though I didn’t have to wait long for a tram and train home, it still took two hours to get there, so hopefully transport disruptions will not be too tiresome as the Spring Racing Carnival progresses.
It has been enjoyable going back to the races, and it can only get better as the equine stars come out to shine, and also pleasant to catch up with my racing photographer friends Rebecca and George.
Next Saturday is Feehan Stakes day at Moonee Valley. I’m glad that the so called Cox Plate qualifier, known as the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes since 2005, has reverted to its original name after all this time. What’s more a pretty good field has nominated for the event. But the icing on the cake is the nomination of both Sunlight and Nature Strip in the McEwen Stakes, a mouth watering prospect. Alas they’re also nominated for the Concorde Stakes in Sydney, so I suppose it all depends on weather and track conditions where they will run.