Due to the positively awful weather I chose not to attend the first Saturday meeting of February at Caulfield, much as I would have liked to go, so was disappointed not to see Super Seth take out the Manfred Stakes in impressive fashion. I did however watch the races on my computer, and seeing the rain bucketing down, was thankful to be home and dry.
The weather last Saturday was warm and sunny, though a stiff breeze made it somewhat less than perfect, but it was the first Group 1 meeting of the new Autumn racing season and one not to miss.
Trains thankfully were back on track, so it took less time to reach Caulfield and I arrived in plenty of time to see the first of the Blue Diamond Preludes, the Group 2 Fillies Prelude run over 1100 metres.
As the field was heading out to the starting gates, one filly, Clean Machine, ditched her jockey, Luke Nolen, and took off back to the mounting yard. She was easily caught and guided out once more without drama. I assume a slipped saddle caused her to rear as I noticed she was resaddled at the barriers.
The race itself ended in 30/1 shot Letzbeglam running away with the prize, winning by over 2 lengths from Muntaseera and Geist. Starting favourite was Fresh who finished last.
It was different story in the colts and geldings Blue Diamond Prelude with second favourite Rulership looking the winner up until the last minute when Hanseatic bolted from the tail of the field to snatch victory on the line. Raithlin finished third.
The next three races on the card were won by favourites, the first of these being the Group 2 Autumn Stakes, a race for three year old's over 1400 metres. Microphone who won the Group 1 Sires Produce Stakes last year and ran second to Kiamichi in the 2019 Golden Slipper was the class colt in the race and the natural favourite. He looked at one stage as if he couldn’t win, but rallied and tackled the leader Banquo to win by a narrow margin. Adelaide Ace ran a close third.
Race 6, the Group 2 Rubiton Stakes was up next. A sprint over 1100 metres it has been won in the past by the likes of Chautauqua, Lankan Rupee, and Nature Strip last year. The favourite was three year old filly Anaheed, who romped in to win by 1¼ lengths from Bold Star and All Too Royal.
The feature race was of course the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes, scheduled to run as Race 8 at 4.50pm, so the Group 3 Carlyon Cup was next up. A race over 1600 metres, Miss Siska, a half sister to Black Caviar’s great rival Hay List, was the favourite.
She delivered in spades, and after racing three wide for most of the race, won by 1¼ lengths from Odeon and Guizot.
It had been a long afternoon so it was a relief when the Orr Stakes field finally filed out onto the track.
As my photos of some of the contenders turned out rather well here is a selection.
Former Western Australian horse Scales of Justice started as favourite, but ended up unplaced. Hey Doc and Begood Toya Mother fought out the lead for most of the race, then were swamped by Alabama Express who had been racing handy in fourth place and sailed past to win by a neck from the fast finishing Fierce Impact and Kings Will Dream.
Alabama Express was the sole three year old in the field, so he did have a weight advantage. A son of Redoute’s Choice, he emulated his sire who won the C.F. Orr Stakes at the age of three 20 years ago in 2000.
I can’t say I’ve ever taken much notice of Alabama Express and obviously the punters didn’t give him a chance as he paid a generous double figure dividend.
Next Saturday the racing is at Flemington for the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning, starring Nature Strip. Also on the card is the C S Hayes Stakes which looks like it could be a doozy of a race with the exciting prospect of Alligator Blood taking on top New Zealand colt Catalyst and possibly Super Seth as well.