Wednesday, May 22, 2024


After waiting 19 years, my long ago ordered copy of John Crowley's Little, Big arrived today. It's HUGE! And heavy, but beautiful. Goodness knows how I will manage it when reading it in bed, but I dare say I'll manage somehow with the judicious use of pillows. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to rereading Little, Big in this gorgeous illustrated edition. After such a long wait for its delivery it's marvellous to finally have the physical object in my hands.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Imperatriz–Queen of the Valley

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Imperatriz on her way to winning the Group 1 William Reid Stakes

The better races were scheduled later in the afternoon last Saturday, so I took my time getting to Moonee Valley, arriving in time to witness the running of the 5th race.

This was the Group 2 Sunline Stakes, a race over 1600 meters for fillies and mares.

Eternal Flame won narrowly from Rumbled Again and Campionessa.

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Eternal Flame winning the Sunline Stakes

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Eternal Flame on her way to the barriers

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Campionessa (orange) and Rumbled Again on their way to the barriers

The Alexandra Stakes was next, a race for three year old runners over 1600 metres, and was won by Vibrant Sun from Grinzinger Belle. Vivy Air ran third in front of Socks Nation.

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Vibrant Sun

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Grinzinger Belle

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Socks Nation

Moonee Valley  was in party mode, with a band playing on the public lawn…

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Portion of band

…and a peculiar music machine pumping out doof doof type rhythms throughout the afternoon.

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Music Machine – the Kombi Cart

The big screen was split in two, one side showing the horse racing, the other playing footage from the Melbourne Grand Prix car racing – a peculiar combination to say the least, echoed by the signs around the track, advertising the Pit Stop Party scheduled after the horse racing.

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Pit Stop Party sign

Back trackside, the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes was next to run.

This was won by 50/1 shot Antrim Coast from New Zealand mare Quintessa with Zipaway running third.

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Antrim Coast (blue cap) about to overtake Quintessa in the Alister Clark Stakes

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Antrim Coast poses for the photographers after winning the Alister Clark Stakes

Of  course the feature Group 1 William Reid Stakes was the race we were all there for, to see super sprinter Imperatriz in action.

The Merchandise Store was selling an Imperatriz stubby holder, which naturally I purchased to add to my racing memorabilia.

Stubby Holder Design

Imperatriz was the hot favourite to win, and win she did, withstanding  a challenge from 71/1 shot Johnny Rocker to claim victory by a narrow margin. I Am Me ran third.

She has now won 10 Group 1 races most of them at Moonee Valley. This was her second victory in the William Reid Stakes as she won the race last year as well.

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Another photo of Imperatriz winning the William Reid Stakes

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Opie Bosson all smiles returning to scale on Imperatriz

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Imperatriz in the winners rug with her devoted strapper Jason Levin

I didn’t hang around for the Pit Stop party (perish the thought), heading home after the William Reid Stakes, glad to have witnessed Imperatriz win once again.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Jenni by a Mile

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Pride of Jenni on her way to winning the 2024 All Star Mile

It wasn’t what you would call a top class field contesting this year’s edition of the All Star Mile, but worth attending nonetheless as an outing away from home.

The sun was shining and the wind was gentle as compared to the ghastly weather at Flemington on Newmarket Handicap Day.

As the All Star Mile was scheduled to run at 4.15pm, I took my time getting to Caulfield, arriving around 2.15pm.

After locating my friend Rebecca,  I discovered that we were permitted in the Members area, which was directly in front of the winning post; something of a bonus.

Race 5, the Listed Quayclean Anniversary Vase, run over 1600 metres was handy for photography practice before the better races following.

First Immortal who raced on the pace in second place overtook race leader Keats as they approached the winning post to win narrowly from The Summit with Nugget running third.

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First Immortal charges to the finish up the straight

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The Summit on his way to the barriers

The next race was the Redoute’s Choice Stakes for two year olds, and hot favourite Bold Bastille won easily from Immortal Star and Yes Lulu.

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Bold Bastille wins the Redoute’s Choice Stakes

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Immortal Star (pink)  overtaking Yes Lulu to run second

I was pleased to see that Race 7 was named for Mystic Journey, the inaugural winner of the All Star Mile.

The 2024 edition featured a field of pretty smart three year old fillies.

Waltz On By, a grand daughter of former star mare  Miss Finland who won the Golden Slipper and ran second in the Blue Diamond Stakes in 2006, won the bickies in the Mystic Journey, beating Lady Jones by a length with Seonee running third.

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Waltz On By wins the Mystic Journey from Lady Jones

The next race was the feature event, that is The All Star Mile, but before that happened there was a modicum of entertainment in the form of a singer in the stands accompanied by a trumpeter, singing the Tina Turner classic Simply the Best…

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Then the All Star Mile field emerged onto the track.

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Desert Lightning

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Mr Brightside – favourite

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Mr Brightside was the warm favourite despite having to start from gate 11. This in the end defeated him with Pride of Jenni leading from the start to the finish, running at a solid pace that he was unable to match in time.

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Pride of Jenni  burns up the straight to win the All Star Mile

Mr Brightside came dashing  from the rear of the field to finish second and Cascadian ran third.

And so ended yet another All Star Mile, after which I headed for the station and home.

Next Saturday I’m heading to Moonee Valley to see Imperatriz run in the William Reid Stakes.

Sunday, March 10, 2024

Newmarket Handicap Review

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Cylinder (blue) on his way to winning the 2024 Newmarket Handicap

As the Media emphasised over and over again,  it was a stinking hot day last Saturday, fierce sunlight and a blustery wind making the conditions at Flemington pretty awful.

However, I didn’t let that put me off attending, when my current favourite racehorse, Imperatriz, was set to contest the feature race.

Racing Victoria had rejigged the time line of events with the first race being put back to 10.45 am, meaning it would not be a long afternoon trackside.

I reached Flemington around 11.45am and was in time to practice photography in the 4th race, the Group 2 Sires Produce Stakes.

Also having time on my hands I briefly visited the stalls area for a photo of Imperatriz

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Imperatriz in her stall

Traffic Warden was the victor in the Sires Produce Stakes, leading from the start, beating race favourite Rue De Royale by 1.75 lengths.

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Traffic Warden wins the Sires Produce Stakes

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Rue de Royale

Race 5 was the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap and Imperatriz was the hot  favourite.

Alas, it wasn’t to be with lightweight three year old Cylinder upstaging the mare to win by 1.25 lengths. Imperatriz carried the top weight of 58kg, giving Cylinder, who carried 51.5kg an enormous advantage on weights.

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Imperatriz battling up the straight overtaking race leader The Astrologist

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Imperatriz returns to scale

As trains from Flemington to the city were running all afternoon and feeling the heat, I departed after the Newmarket Handicap and got home early for a change.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Blue Diamond Stakes Day Review

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Hayasugi on her way to winning the 2024 Blue Diamond Stakes

Last Saturday I set out for Caulfield around 12.40pm and arrived at the track 40 minutes later, in time to locate my friend Rebecca and practice photography on Race 4, the Group 3 Zedative Stakes, a race for 3 year olds over 1200 metres.

Raikoke led from the start, and despite a late challenge from Brave Mead, won by over a length. Scully ran third.

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Raikoke wins the Zedative Stakes comfortably

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Brave Mead in hot pursuit

The Group 2 Autumn Classic, over 1800 metres was next to run and was won by over 3 lengths by Immediacy. Caracas finished second with Our Couver a further length behind in third place

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Immediacy wins the Autumn Classic easily

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Caracas and Our Couver run second and third

It was a sunny day with a cool breeze offsetting the heat of the sun,  pleasant to be in the open air.

Race 6, the Group 2 Peter Young Stakes was of interest due to the presence of highly regarded New Zealand mare Campionessa taking on the likes of past Melbourne Cup winners Vow and Declare and Gold Trip.

The mare proved her metal with a gritty win over a very short margin (a nose) from Vow and Declare. Gold Trip finished third.

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Campionessa wins the Peter Young Stakes from Vow and Declare

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Campionessa on her way to the barriers

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Vow an Declare on his way to the barriers

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Gold Trip on his way to the barriers

There were three Group 1 races on the cards last Saturday, the first to run being the Futurity Stakes. Star miler Mr Brightside was the hot favourite and he didn’t disappoint, winning by over length from Pericles with early leader, Buffalo River, hanging on for third.

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Mr Brightside burns up the straight to win the Futurity Stakes

With feature Blue Diamond Stakes up next, Rebecca and I stuck to our spot on the fence, rather than jostling for position with other racing enthusiasts.

Coleman started as the favourite, but 14/1 shot Hayasugi, given a lovely ride by Jaimie Kah, won the prize narrowly from the highly favoured Lady of Camelot, with Kuroyanagi running third, completing a fillies trifecta.

Hayasugi became the first horse since Sepoy in  2011 to win the Blue Diamond PreviewBlue Diamond Prelude and Blue Diamond Stakes – quite an accomplishment!

I also recall that I saw her racing on Cox Plate Day last year, where she ran second to Bold Bastille in the Group 2 Inglis Banner.

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Hayasugi returns to scale after winning the Blue Diamond Stakes

I didn’t stay for the final Group 1, the Oakleigh Plate which was won in my absence by Queman, opting for home after a pleasant afternoon trackside.

Next Saturday I will probably attend the Australian Guineas meeting at Flemington.