Friday, September 30, 2011

Spring Racing 2011 – Manikato Stakes and more…

More Joyous will start her Spring campaign in the Manikato Stakes on Friday night

A whiz banger of a weekend as far as racing goes, will start with the Friday night meeting at Moonee Valley. The first of six Group One races to be competed over the weekend in various venues, the Manikato Stakes (a sprint over 1200 metres) is the feature event at the Valley.  I intend to be there to witness it.

It has attracted a fabulous field, the leading lights being super Sydney mare More Joyous and top colt Sepoy -  a mouth watering prospect. Pitted against these two is in form Sister Madly, the classy Kulgrinda who failed to run a place last start in the McEwan Stakes, which was won by Buffering who is also a contestant as is Atomic Force who ran third on that occasion behind Crystal Lily who tragically died suddenly of a heart attack in track work last week.  Happy Zero who impressed with his looks when I saw him last at Moonee Valley is mooted as a top chance. I’ll be torn between More Joyous and Sepoy, so I hope one or other of them win.  Sepoy will be competing in open company for the first time and ditto at Moonee Valley, so if he does win there can be no doubt as to his ability. Very few 3 year olds have won this race, but if any youngster was going to, Sepoy has to be the one.

The Group Two Stutt Stakes for 3 year olds over 1600 metres adds more interest to an evening of fine racing. Chase The Rainbow is the top pick in this, closely followed by Whisper Downs and Sabrage, though you’d think if I was choosing by name I’d go for Rock Musician, who on form is not totally without hope- for a place at least.

Also on the card on Friday evening is the Group Three JRA Cup a middle distance race over 2040 metres. With the scratching from this race of Rekindled Interest, Linton and Southern Speed in favour of running in the Turnbull Stakes on Sunday, the dwindled field is as open as it can be. Carnero who won me a tidy sum last time I attended the Valley, may be the one to beat, if he can run the distance. I rather fancy the Bart Cummings trained Cosmonaut who certainly should cope with 2040 metres. Domesky is favourite at the moment, but anything could win.

There’s also the Group 3 Champagne Stakes for 3 y o Fillies where Satin Shoes has a chance to redeem her recent losses. This is a much easier race for her than her last start in the McEwan Stakes, and she is the standout filly. Emerald Downs and Glissade are her main opposition, but mindful of lightly raced country track winners with hardly any form to judge, a challenge may be issued by Victoria Street or De Lilly Lightful.

The track is likely to be rated slow this evening, after a big downpour on Wednesday with further rain today threatening.

The AFL Grand Final will be dominating Victorians on Saturday, so the racing interest switches briefly to Sydney at Randwick, where a total of four Group One races is set to stir the blood of the racing fan. Flemington in Melbourne will feature the Group One Turnbull Stakes on Sunday to top it all off.

The first of the Group One races at Randwick is the Spring Champion Stakes, a 2000 metre race for 3 year olds. Top picks as far as I can work out are Darci Be Good, Rekindled Alliance, Doctor Doom, Ambidexter and Strike The Stars, who have all either won or have been the runners up recently.

The Epsom Handicap (1600 metres) has a large (16 runners) and interesting field with the likes of Sincero, who won the George Main StakesPinker Pinker who is in great form,  as is Foreteller despite his last run, and Pinnacles who ran second to Toorak Toff in the Rupert Clarke Stakes last Saturday.  Also, as the track is likely to be heavy, one cannot discount Sacred Choice who has won in these conditions on a number of occasions.

Three year old fillies get their chance to win a Group One in the Flight Stakes (1600 metres).  Top fillies like Streama who has won her last two outings, Hallowell Belle who has run three consecutive seconds, Roma Giaconda who was eye catching last week running second to Manawanui in the Stan Fox Stakes, Pane In The Glass always competitive, and New Zealand filly Dowager Queen, who may finally break through for a win in Australia, especially if the track is on the slow to heavy side.

Run over 2400 metres, The Metropolitan is a Group One race for stayers. There are 19 acceptors and Trusting , Tullamore and Lamasery appear to be the top picks with Sydney Cup winner Stand To Gain  and Hawk Island maybe in with a chance.

I’m also interested in the Gimcrack Stakes, the first race on the card at Randwick on Saturday. It’s a 1000 metre race for 2 year old fillies, and one of the runners, My Shabella, is the daughter of my former favourite horse Haradasun, and is the first of his progeny to hit the track.  She did very well in a trial recently and looks very promising, so I’ll be keenly watching her progress.

It has been raining in Sydney as well so tracks all round will be slow to heavy, and unpredictable results are to be expected.

In France early Monday morning our time, former Aussie champ So You Think will be contesting the Prix de L’Arc  De Triomphe at Longchamp in Paris. Of course it is to be hoped that our boy can win this prestigious event.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Cat Politics Update

Nothing much has changed within the household as far as the resident moggies are concerned, but the local neighbourhood feline population has mutated. These days we are surrounded by cat owners, and all the cats are female.

Normally with the arrival of Spring young Willy would be out and about and looking for a fight, or more likely encountering another male cat looking for a brawl. It’s happened every Spring that he would at some stage come home with wounds, which generally resulted in a visit to the Vet.  Not so this year. I put it down to the female cats deterring visits from local males, Willy excepted.

He actually gets on quite well with the girls. Young Piccolo (Pinto) next door goes out of her way to flirt with him.

cats 005

As for Lizzie, she seems hardly fazed by this influx of fellow lady cats – she sort of tolerates them, even Pickle who has been the bane of her life for years. Pickle and Piccolo had a falling out some months ago which resulted in the kitten having to visit the Vet for a scratched eye. It was Piccolo’s fault – she was stalking Pickle and got her comeuppance. You don’t mess with old lady cats, as she should know as she lives with one next door who is named after Simone de Beauvoir’s cat and is also a tortoiseshell. We don’t see much of her.

cats_300511 _pickle

Lizzie is feeling her age these days, and despite being occasionally off her food, still appears spry and healthy.

cats 006

She and Willy coexist more or less peacefully, with very few tiffs. Willy seems to have slowed down and is much more likely to be home than out and about these days.

cats 016

And the cat on the lap is of course Willy; he is my feline companion when I read in bed of a morning.

Speaking of cats and books, check out the wonderful Writers & Kitties, a blog that features photos of famous writers and their cats.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Spring Racing 2011 – Underwood Stakes & George Main Stakes

Efficient (2007 Melbourne Cup winner) returns in the Underwood Stakes

A fine Spring day is forecast for the racing at Caulfield this coming Saturday.  It will feature the Group One Underwood Stakes (1800 metres) and has attracted a very fine field of stayers. It’s great to see old Efficient back on the track after being out of action since his Turnbull Stakes win in October 2009.  He’s top weight and isn’t expected to win; the Underwood is a sort of practice run for him.

So who are the likely chances in the Underwood? Well, Lights of Heaven who was very disappointing in the Makybe Diva Stakes, is the current favourite. It seems it was fortunate that she didn’t win the Makybe Diva Stakes as the curse has struck again with the 2011 winner Littorio’s racing career being declared over due to yet another injury. Classy New Zealand stayers Lion Tamer, who won the Victoria Derby last Spring and Scarlett Lady who won the Queensland Oaks over autumn are part of the first rate field as is Western Australian star Playing God. Throw in the consistent Heart of Dreams – he won this race in 2009 – and Maybe Diva Stakes placegetters Glass Harmonium and Midas Touch, not to mention the wonderful mare Shamrocker and you have a very interesting line up. Any of the above can win. 

Rosehill in Sydney has the Group One George Main Stakes as the feature of its race card. It’s a standard WFA over 1500 metres. The top pick is Sincero who opened his Spring campaign with a win in the Tramway on September 3rd and also won the Stradbroke Handicap in Brisbane over winter. Ilovethiscity winner of the Randwick Guineas in autumn could mount a challenge, though he has not shown anything like his autumn form so far this Spring.  Sacred Choice is also too good to totally dismiss. Both she and Ilovethiscity will be wearing blinkers for the first time which may make all the difference to their performances.

There are several other interesting races happening on Saturday, the Group 3 Thousand Guineas Prelude  at Caulfield for 3yos and the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes at Rosehill for 3yo fillies, not to mention the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes  (Caulfield) for stayers desperate to qualify for the big cups, and Group 2 The Shorts (Rosehill)  where I’m pleased to see the return of Love Conquers All -  all worth watching in the light of what’s yet to come.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Cool Afternoon at Moonee Valley

Rekindled Interest sashed after winning the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes

The weather on Friday in Melbourne was wet, windy and cold, but it brightened considerably yesterday, so going to the races promised not to be such a bad idea after all. So forth I went, suitably garbed to weather any climatic conditions, to Moonee Valley race track.

I arrived a quarter of an hour  before the fourth race, the AJS Corporation Handicap for mares, over 1200 metres, so had plenty of time to have a quick look at the parade and place a bet.  I selected Irish Dream and Annlea and had $2.00 each way bets on both. Happily Irish Dream brought home the bikkies, paying quite reasonable odds of $4.80 for the win, so I got my money back and a slight profit, a successful start to the day.

Irish Dream after winning the AJS Corporation Handicap

The next race on the cards was the Spotless Handicap, over 1600 metres. The field looked uninspiring, so I had a few dollars on the top weight Philda who appeared to have likely form. Then I had a change of mind, and by a serendipitous mistake placed a bet on horse number 11. I’d actually meant to bet on number 15.  Would you believe, number 11, Carnero won, after leading throughout and holding off a late charge by Extra Zero. He paid a very handsome $10.50.

Carnero after winning the Spotless Handicap

My luck changed after that, my selections in the next two races failing to run a place.

The first of the group races was Race number 6, the Group Three McEwan Stakes, a sprint over 1000 metres. I went out and cased the runners in the parade ground.

Kulgrinda who was one of my selections

Happy Zero, former champion of Singapore - a beautiful looking beast, he was my other selection.

Atomic Force who ran third

The pretty Satin Shoes

Buffering – the winner of McEwan Stakes sashed

The feature race of the day was the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes and everyone expected Whobegotyou to make it three in succession. It was not to be, as Whobe was blocked for a run when it mattered and only managed to run into third place. Rekindled Interest who I disparaged in my preview, was the winner with Alcopop running second. I had my money on Linton who uncharacteristically was forced to lead early in the race, and ended up boxed in with no place to go.

Rekindled Interest

Well, my luck had to change and it did in Race 8 , the Stocks Stakes, a Group 2 race for mares over 1600 metres.  I put my money on New Zealand mare King’s Rose and she delivered, with a narrow win over Pinker Pinker with good old Lady Lynette running third. I remarked to my friend R, that the above girls were the ideal boxed trifecta. A pity I didn’t take my own advice, as the trifecta paid $38.00 which is nothing to sneeze at, despite what others may say.

Kings Rose being unsaddled after winning the Stock Stakes

I didn’t stay for the last race, so after collecting my winnings on Kings Rose, I headed home, my finances intact. I broke even on the day, so it was a cheap day out at the races.

It wasn’t all that cold at the track, though the occasional shower had racegoers running for cover, and the sun peeped out of the clouds several times.

As usual I’m on the lookout for unusual costumes. The most outrageous was this bloke in a dress, who graciously posed for the photo…


…and the Moonee Valley promotional team – a person dressed in a horse costume accompanied by two sweet young things dressed as jockeys, were handing out cards granting the recipient a free glass of sparkling wine at Legends, the gambling establishment just up the hill from Moonee Valley racecourse.


As I intend to make use of my seasons ticket, I’ll be attending my first night race  on 30 September. The feature race then will be the Group 1 Manikato Stakes with  the likes of Sepoy and More Joyous apparently scheduled to run in it.

Friday, September 09, 2011


Life’s pretty dull if you haven’t got anything to look forward to. I was going to say, not worth living, but then I thought of all the people in the world who really haven’t anything to look forward to, but no doubt appreciate being alive.

I count myself fortunate that I live in a free and reasonably well off society, where there are many pleasures to relish in advance.

Such is the case at present, where I am keenly anticipating both things of a musical nature and things of a literary nature, not to mention the Spring Racing Carnival.


Ryan Adams. as I have mentioned before, is my all time favourite music artist. I’ve got all his CDs and even some memorabilia ( t-shirt and poster) and have seen him perform live five times.

I must admit I have not liked some of his music, his CD Rock N Roll for instance, but in the main I’ve loved most of them.

What I am keenly anticipating is his latest musical offering Ashes & Fire, especially after listening to a couple of tracks that are freely available on the Internet.  You can listen to his first single, Lucky Now here, and watch Ryan playing an acoustic version of the title song here.  They both sound really beautiful to me; Ryan Adams is back with a vengeance.

Ashes & Fire is his first solo record since he took a break from making music after his 2009 tour. So, it has been quite a wait, but judging from what I have heard so far will be well worth it.

Strangely enough, next week I am going to a concert by the similarly named artist Bryan Adams, famous for such songs as Summer of 69 and Cuts Like A Knife.  Yes it’s pop, but I’m certain it will be very enjoyable, despite the  horrible seat I was allocated at the booking office. People have suggested that I should yell out a request for Come Pick Me Up, one of Ryan Adams’ most requested songs, seeing as how at Ryan Adams concerts in the past, rude persons in the audience were wont to yell out “Play Summer of 69!” Of course I wouldn’t do anything of the kind.

A curious coincidence between Ryan and Bryan Adams is that they have the same birthday – 5th November, 1974 and 1959 respectively.


On the book front, I’m waiting for the publication later this month of Neal Stephenson’s new monster (in size, not subject) novel Reamde, purportedly a hi tech thriller.

You have to be somewhat nerdish to be a Neal Stephenson fan, or have the patience and fortitude to read through 1000 plus pages of a novel. But Stephenson generally fills those 1000 plus pages with cool stuff, and he has a racy style of writing that has you turning the pages excitedly. He  also explains complex ideas with engaging simplicity.

I have a shelf of Neal Stephenson novels in hard cover. They’re all pretty hefty tomes, but look impressive lined up together. I’ll have to clear a 60mm space to fit Reamde in alongside.

As well as having Reamde on pre-order, I’ve also placed orders for the new Haruki Murakami novel 1Q84, apparently Murakami’s masterpiece and his take on Orwell’s 1984, due out in October, and the new Umberto Eco novel The Prague Cemetery, which is due in November.

I purchased all the above books, redeeming a gift voucher I received from my brother for my birthday. I regard it as a good haul and will have the pleasure of anticipating new exciting books for the next three or so months.

I’m also still waiting – after six years – for the publication of the 25th Anniversary edition of Little, Big by John Crowley. Whether it will be published this year is up in the air. I’m not holding my breath.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Spring Racing 2011 – The Golden Rose Stakes

Whobegotyou after winning the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes 2009

The first Group One race of the 2011 racing season is to run at Rosehill on Saturday, namely the Golden Rose Stakes, a million dollar, 1400 metre race for three year olds.  It has only attracted six starters, composed of three  colts and three geldings, no fillies. Smart Missile will no doubt start as favourite, considering his recent stunning, come from behind win, in the Run to The Rose. On that occasion he beat Foxwedge by a neck with Helmet 1.3 lengths away in third spot.  So, these three you would think are the top picks, but actually there are two others, Manawanui and Aeronautical, who have not raced against the aforementioned, but have excellent winning form that may tell at the winning post.  It’s a field big on quality if not quantity.

At Moonee Valley on Saturday the feature race is the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes formerly known as the Feehan. It is a Group Two, 1600 metre standard WFA competition and regarded as a Cox Plate preview.

Whobegotyou won this race in 2009 and again in 2010. Can he score the hat trick this year?  He started his Spring campaign with a good win in the PB Lawrence Stakes a month ago, so is very likely to make history with a third victory in the Dato Tan and is the short priced favourite, naturally.  The competition is not much chop and the likeliest challengers are Linton who I witnessed winning at Moonee Valley back in 2010 over the same distance, Alcopop who recently signalled his return to form winning the Penny Edition Stakes at Morphettville,  Spacecraft who has also won over the distance at this track. The mystery horse Unusual Suspect, a former American galloper, could surprise us all. And I suppose I should mention Rekindled Interest who is in the second line of betting, though looking at his form, I’m not sure why.

There are a couple of other Group Two and Three races at Moonee Valley on Saturday, firstly the McEwen Stakes, a Group 3 sprint over 1000 metres. It has first rate field that includes former Singapore speedster Happy Zero, Atomic Force and Shrapnel both last start winners.  But the most interesting runners in the field are classy mares Crystal Lily who has been the bridesmaid to Black Caviar on two occasions, and  also won the 2010 Golden Slipper, Kulgrinda, a super sprinting mare from the Peter Moody stable, who won at Moonee Valley when I last attended, and the tough filly Satin Shoes who won the Quezette Stakes against her own age group back in August, but may be outclassed in this race despite her weight advantage.

The Group Two Stock Stakes, also over 1600 metres for mares, is also worth a look. King’s Rose, the former champion New Zealander who won the Memsie Stakes a few weeks ago, is the top contender. She’s up against the likes of Pinker Pinker who scored a nice victory last weekend in the Let’s Elope Stakes, and old Lady Lynette who occasionally cracks a win, but will most likely be outclassed in this.

I intend to go to Moonee Valley on Saturday to witness the above events. Hopefully my luck will have improved from my last visit. The weather is likely to be pretty awful, cold and wet -  a return to winter. Who knows what the track conditions will be like -  dead or slow I assume. If slow, anything could happen.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Currawong and Cat

I witnessed the most extraordinary thing this evening involving a Currawong and a cat. The cat was Pinto aka Piccolo, (her owners address her by both) an adolescent tortoiseshell cat who lives next door.

She was in our back garden, prowling around as is her wont, when all of sudden I noticed her having a go at a Currawong as it swooped over her head.  The bird landed in the fig tree and sat there a while before launching itself once more, swooping on the cat then soaring up onto the fence opposite. Pinto being a feisty young thing, chased it and leapt for it in vain.

Then the bird did it all again as if it was a game. This continued for some time, the cat running after the bird, with the bird swooping deliberately low over the cat, from fence to fence, from fence to tree, until the cat lost concentration, whereon the Currawong flew off.

Pied Currawong

For those who don’t know what a Currawong is, they are a largish black and white native bird with a jolly, melodious call. There is also a grey type and a solid black type. You don’t see them much in the city, but they’re quite prevalent in rural areas and put on a deafening morning chorus of chortles and trills.

Unfortunately I didn’t have a camera handy when all this was going on. Besides, I couldn’t tear myself away from this amazing scene, watching the behaviour of these two creatures. It reminded me of that video that was making news some months ago of the owl and cat playing together.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Detective Fiction

Crime fiction is one of the literary genres in which I dip my nose quite regularly.

Recently I was contemplating how varied and wide ranging are the locations and historical eras in which detective fiction is set. You have series of them set in the oddest places, like Nazi Germany in the case of  the Berlin Noir novels of Philip Kerr, Vespasian’s Rome in the Falco series by Lindsey Davis, Bombay in the Inspector Ghote novels of HRF Keating, Amsterdam in Jan Willem van de Wetering’s wonderful Grijpstra and de Gier novels,  Medieval England in Ellis Peter’s Brother Cadfael Chronicles, and so on.

This train of thought came as a result of a book I received recently for my birthday. It was Killed at the Whim of A Hat by Colin Cotterill, an author I had not previously encountered.


Was I in for a surprise! Killed At The Whim Of A Hat is a delightful book. It’s an unusual crime novel set in Thailand which is where the author resides.

The heroine as described by the author is Jimm Juree…”a feisty Thai lady journalist with relatives that make the Adams family look like  Alexander McCall Smith characters”

Colin Cotterill does write his books in the above tone, so they’re humorous and witty. For instance, there are quotes from George W Bush at beginning of each chapter, which are strangely relevant.

As well as being entertaining, Killed At The Whim Of A Hat is also a first rate crime mystery.

The book was my introduction to the detective fiction of Colin Cotterill.

Why haven’t I read him before!

Colin Cotterill,  I have discovered, is best known for his Doctor Siri series of detective novels that are set in Laos in the mid 1970s, shortly after the Communist takeover of the country. Dr Siri Paiboun’s investigations start in The Coronor’s Lunch, which of course I hastened to acquire (in ebook format) as soon as I’d finished Killed At The Whim Of A Hat.

cotterill_coroners lunch

When we first meet him in The Coronor’s Lunch, Dr Siri is a 72 year old former communist rebel, who is appointed by the new ruling party as State Coroner because he is the last doctor in Laos. This honour, Dr Siri is none too keen to accept, having a yearning for retirement after years of struggle and hardship in the jungle. However he does assume the responsibilities of the position and undertakes post mortem investigations with the help of his staff of two, an odd pair who are Nurse Dtui, who wishes to advance her learning, and Mr Geung a simple fellow who knows the ropes in the mortuary, despite his mental deficiency.

Dr Siri however is not one to toe the line; he is curious, curmudgeonly and also blessed, or cursed, with an unusual ability to see the dead, who provide him with pointers and clues in his crime investigations.

There are seven books in the Dr Siri series to date, with an eighth to be published later this year, so I intend to read all of them. In fact, they’re addictive. 

I really like Colin Cotterill’s jaunty style, and his ability to create endearing, all too human characters. It’s refreshing to find a novelist with such a light touch. That doesn’t mean there’s no violence or horror within the novels; in fact you get quite a bit of action along with a touch of the supernatural, and cliff hanger chapter endings. Also you learn quite a bit about the history and folk lore of Laos, which I admit I had not previously bothered to inform myself of.

Highly recommended if you like entertaining novels set in unusual locations, or even if you just enjoy a good page turning read.

Also check out Colin Cotterill’s website – it’s great fun and he’s also a talented cartoonist.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Spring Is Here – The Makybe Diva Stakes

Maluckyday resumes in the Chelmsford Stakes

Another fine day of racing to look forward to this Saturday at both Flemington and Warwick Farm with a number of intriguing Group Two competitions on the cards.

First among them is the Makybe Diva Stakes, a WFA race over 1600 metres.  Most of the acceptances are tried and true stayers, but the ones that interest me the most are *Maluckyday, who is finally starting his build up to the big Spring cups in this. He was disappointing in the autumn, but Spring might the season where he finally finds his form. Lights of Heaven, is another.  She resumed in the Lawrence (Liston) Stakes three weeks ago with a narrow second to Whobegotyou after being badly hampered in the straight, and will be out to redeem her record and at this distance could well win. Also in with a chance is the Western Australian Horse of the Year, Playing God. He kicked off his Spring campaign in the Goodwood at Belmont, running a very creditable second.  Also worth consideration is Glass Harmonium, and Littorio, a good horse in his day – he won the BMW back in April 2010 - might scrape a place. There’s somewhat of a hoodoo on this race in that, in the previous 25 runnings, only 4 horses (Northerly, Sky Heights, Marble Halls & Weekend Hussler) have managed to win another race in the carnival following success in this race. Still, jinxes are there to be overcome, and an outstanding performer will do so.

* Maluckyday was nominated for both the Makybe Diva and the Chelmsford. He will now start in the Chelmsford Stakes in Sydney.

We welcome back star colt Sepoy in the Danehill Stakes, a race for 3yos over 1200 metres. It’s pretty well a forgone conclusion that he will repeat his winning performance in the Vain Stakes three weeks ago. His only defeat so far in his career was in the Manfred Stakes in autumn when he was pipped at post by Smart Missile. Smart Missile proved last weekend that the Manfred Stakes win wasn’t a fluke with a stunning victory in the Run to the Rose, beating Foxwedge and Helmet.  Whether we’ll ever see Smart Missile and Sepoy head to head again is uncertain. Sepoy will be restricted to sprint races, whereas Smart Missile is Golden Rose and Guineas bound.

The Group Two Let’s Elope Stakes for mares over 1400 metres, has classy field of well credentialed mares like Brazilian Pulse, Parables, Mid Summer Music, Zaira, Pinker Pinker etc.  Mid Summer Music has won her last two starts and is the obvious pick, despite a query over the distance, along with Parables, who will be out to avenge her defeat by Mid Summer Music in the Cockram Stakes two or so weeks ago.

Bel Sprinter, so far unbeaten in his short four race career, adds interest to the Group 3 Bobby Lewis Quality. Can he do it again? It’s a much tougher field than he has faced before, with a number of Group One winners also entered. For instance Toorak Toff, who won the 2010 Golden Rose, though admittedly not much since, Coolmore winner Aloha , three time Group One winner, Yosei and other smart sprinters like Dubleanny and Response.

The Sydney meeting was originally scheduled to be run at Randwick, but it has been switched to Warwick Farm due to safety concerns in relation to the grandstand roof.

The feature race is the Group Two Chelmsford Stakes, a standard WFA  race over 1600 metres. The surprise import of the autumn, My Kingdom of Fife resumes in this. He will be hard to beat as he goes well fresh. Old trouper Black Piranha may be in with a chance, and if the track is heavy Sacred Choice may race better than she did last start. 

Last spring’s star performer, So You Think, has his fourth start in the Northern Hemisphere in the Irish Champion Stakes early Sunday morning our time, so it’ll all be interesting to see how he fares – i.e. by how many lengths he will win.

And Black Caviar is the feature of Australian Story on ABC TV on Monday night. It is the first time, in the history of the program, that a non human is the subject of a story. Click the link to view the preview.

On the subject of Black Caviar, she now has a website and - believe it or not - a blog, which is highly amusing.