Travelling on public transport these days seems like taking your life in your hands what with the spread of the corona virus causing generalised panic.
Though I’m not panicking I do however feel a tad apprehensive when taking a train or tram and try to avoid sitting too close to anyone.
This was not enough to discourage me from attending Super Saturday at Flemington last weekend.
It was a pleasant day, warm and occasionally sunny, a perfect day to be out in the open air trackside.
As trains to Flemington were running all afternoon, I took my time getting there, arriving before the fourth race on the program and staying until after the Australian Cup.
The light was lovely for photography, but the inside rail was out by 8 metres making it difficult to get rail free shots even standing on my step.
Race 4 was the Group 3 Schweppervescence Trophy, for fillies and mares, run over 1600 metres.
Paint The Town Two, a 26/1 shot won the bickies from Bam’s On Fire and Fidelia.
The feature races were the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap and Australian Cup, programmed as races 6 and 8.
Wild Planet was hot favourite for Race 5, the Listed March Stakes, a race over 1400 metres. Racing on the pace in third spot, Wild Planet won easily by a length from race leader Sirius Suspect with 2019 South Australian Oaks winner Princess Jenni running third, three lengths behind.
As the Newmarket Handicap was up next, I transferred myself and step to the mounting yard fence to watch the big screen action from Randwick where the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes was about to run. New Zealander The Bostonian won from Savatiano and Mr Sea Wolf.
It was ripper field for the Newmarket, hard to pick the winner out of 11 runners. Three year old Exceedance was the starting favourite, but another three year old colt, Bivouac, ended up the outstanding winner.
Here are some of the main runners parading in the mounting yard.
As is mostly the case at Flemington with sprints down the straight, it is hard to get photos of the finish if the field splits. This time they raced in a bunch down the middle of the track towards the grandstand side.
Bivouac raced near the lead then charged at the 200 mark to win by 2½ lengths from Loving Gaby. Gytrash finished third.
Sandwiched between the Newmarket and Australian Cup was the Kewney Stakes, a Group 2 race for three year old fillies over 1400 metres. Rubisaki started as favourite and didn’t disappoint her backers winning by 1¼ lengths from Pretty Brazen and Fascino.
With the Australian Cup impending I made my way back to the mounting yard fence. The roses along the straight were blooming profusely, perfectly timed as usual for Flemington’s big Autumn finale.
The other Sydney Group 1 race, the Randwick Guineas was played on the big screen after the National Anthem was sung. Shadow Hero beat Microphone, and Brandenburg ran third.
Soon enough the Australian Cup field were parading in the mounting yard, then making their way to the starting gates.
As with the Newmarket Handicap, the field for the Australian Cup raced down the centre of the straight. Fifty Stars raced wide at the back of the field then charged to win on the line, a half length in front of West Australian horse Regal Power with Vow and Declare close behind, running third.
Normally, the Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival would have ended last Saturday, but next Saturday at Caulfield is the All Star Mile, where a classy field has accepted to run, so it’s a bonus for us Melbourne racing fans.
Alligator Blood is the current favourite, but he faces a really tough field, several multiple Group 1 winners such as Melody Belle, Kolding and Fierce Impact will really test his mettle.
Whatever eventuates, it looks a fascinating race, not to be missed.