Thursday, August 28, 2014

Super Cool–The First Group 1 of the Spring Racing Season

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Super Cool at Caulfield - Memsie Stakes Day 2013

The excitement of first class racing builds this weekend with the running of the first Group 1 race of the 2014 Spring Racing season.

The Group 1 Memsie Stakes is the feature race at Caulfield on Saturday and is run over 1400 metres. Also on the card are several Group 3 races with classy fields.

You will have gathered from the photo above, that my old fave Super Cool returns to racing this Saturday. He’s had a long spell after his gruelling spring last year, so I’m curious to see how he runs in the Memsie Stakes, which has attracted an excellent field of contestants with no less than six Group 1 winners in the mix.

Atlantic Jewel won the race last year by three lengths, but it is harder to pick the winner this time round. A top chance is Boban, who is avoiding the currently heavy tracks in Sydney and has two Melbourne wins on his CV. His  fellow Sydneysider Sweet Idea started off her spring with a bang, winning the Group 2 Missile Stakes and could possibly repeat that feat. There’s also Caulfield specialist Moment of Change, running at his favourite distance and with the Peter Moody/Luke Nolen factor and Messene who was runner up in the Missile Stakes. Super New Zealand mare Silent Achiever kicks off her spring campaign and cannot be ignored – after all she has beaten the likes of Carlton House and It’s A Dundeel . Then you have others like Puissance de Lune, Happy Trails and Super Cool - all of whom have a chance to take home the prize. It looks to be a fascinating race, which I intend to witness first hand.

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Atlantic Jewel winning the 2013 Memsie Stakes

Atlantic Jewel’s little sister Commanding Jewel returns to the track after a long injury induced lay off in the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200 metres). She faces stiff competition from the likes of Dear Demi, Gregers, Thiamandi, Bonaria and Sino Eagle, but class could well prevail.

The Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes looks interesting as well. For three year olds it is also run over 1200 metres and has familiar contestants from a fortnight ago – Cornrow and Jabali for instance -  but also the very promising Nostradamus who won the San Domenico Stakes at his last outing. Other interesting runners are Chivalry, Tan Tat Diamond and Moonovermanhattan.

Melbourne is enjoying a warm and sunny break this week and these pleasant conditions are expected to continue into the weekend, so the track at Caulfield will be in good shape.

I’m keenly looking forward to getting to the track on Saturday to soak up the sunshine with the racing action, as well as seeing my favourite race horses competing again.

Spring has finally sprung!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Moon On The Rise Again–Caulfield Racing

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Puissance de Lune in the mounting yard prior to winning the 2013 P B Lawrence Stakes

The impending spring racing carnival gathers momentum this coming Saturday with the most interesting race card for some time.

Caulfield is the venue and the feature race is the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes. Last year it was won by Puissance de Lune at his first start for the spring. After not being seen since Cox Plate day last year, where he was injured, he makes a welcome return to the track to defend his title.

Of course it’s not a foregone conclusion that Puissance de Lune will win this year, but if he has recovered from his injury and is back to his best, the opposition shouldn’t be too hard to beat as not many of them are running first up at a suitable distance. The field does contain his nemesis in the 2013 Makybe Diva Stakes, Foreteller, who is kicking off his spring campaign in this as well. Others resuming are Queensland Derby winner Brambles, Let’s Make Adeal, Blamey Stakes winner, Lidari, among others. I reckon in form mare Gig who ran second in the Bletchingly Stakes behind Thiamandi could be a main contender and will possibly run a place.

The Listed Regal Roller Stakes appears to have a classier field. It is run over 1200 metres as opposed to the 1400 metres of the Lawrence Stakes, so has attracted a good field of sprinters that include dual Group 1 winner Moment Of Change. He’s the top pick, but South Australian mare Thiamandi, who  sensationally won the Bletchingly Stakes at her last start, could well give him a run for the money. Others in contention are Pillar Of Creation, Electric Fusion, Hard Stride and the other mare Jemerica.

Overall the entire race card looks pretty good, and of special note are the two Group 3 races for three year olds – the Quezette Stakes for fillies and the Vain Stakes for colts and geldings – run over 1100 metres.

The fillies race looks the pick between the two with a field of smart fillies that include London Lolly and Royal Snitzel as the top contenders. They are both returning from a spell with two consecutive wins on their CVs.  Also in the picture are Sunset Rock, Empress O’Reilly and Down The Hatch who have all won city races.

Cornrow and Jabali are the top chances in the Vain Stakes. Cornrow ran third in both the Blue Diamond Stakes and the Sires Produce Stakes at Group 1 level, whilst Jabali ran second in the Blue Diamond. Both have yet to win a race, but they get their best chance here.  Other runners with a good chance are Nordic Empire and Reigning Meteor who both have won in lesser grades in the past.

The weather is expected to be fine tomorrow, so the light should be good for photos and a bit of fresh air and sunshine will do me good as I take in the sights and watch some excellent races in the process.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Wide Open Spaces of Flemington

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Beluga Caviar – a close relative to you know who

Psyching myself up for the Spring racing carnival, which will take off in earnest in two weeks, I decided to test if my Flemington season pass was working, so headed off to the big track yesterday.

By no means first class racing, it was however a moderately interesting meeting with the feature race being the Group 3 Aurie’s Star Handicap, run over 1200 metres.

It was scheduled as Race 7, but as I arrived in good time to place a bet on a runner in the third race, the Trevor Dray & William Nield Handicap, I was obliged to stay for several hours to witness the main event. The time flitted by pretty fast.

Race 3 was for fillies and mares and run over 2000 metres. My selection Reckless Assassin romped home the winner 1½ lengths from Zazparella with Anfitriona running third, so I was pleased to see my afternoon at the races start on a winning note, even though my luck went down from then on.

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Reckless Assassin being paraded after her win.

I was interested in witnessing the next race, the Joyann Erskine & Philip Carroll Handicap (1400 metres) due to the presence of Beluga Caviar, a three year old colt who is a close relative to Black Caviar. His dam Scandinavia is Black Caviar’s grand dam. Beluga Caviar was having the second start in his career. At his debut he ran third and yesterday he scored that placing again. So. he’s no Black Caviar or All Too Hard, but it’s early days yet. He’s a big boy and quite a good looker.

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Beluga Caviar in the mounting yard

The race was won by the sole filly Fontein Ruby from Coram.

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Fontein Ruby returns to scale after winning the Joyann Erskine & Philip Carroll Handicap

The fifth race was an open sprint over 1200 metres. I had my money on Hot Mama who only managed to run sixth. The race was won by Play Master, who I must admit I hadn’t even considered as a chance.

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Hot Mama on her way to the track

I didn’t bother having a wager on the next race, rather I was more interested in the Sydney races at Randwick where two much more interesting races were featured. The first of these was the Listed The Rosebud for three year olds over 1200 metres. It had a crack field of classy colts and fillies that included the unbeaten Inkling, Sarajevo and Nayeli who I had witnessed winning the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes in Autumn. The race was won by long shot Scissor Kick, from Better Land with Inkling running third.

The other Sydney race, the Group 2 Missile Stakes was the pick of the afternoon with a fabulous field of Autumn and last Spring stars resuming, including Boban, Hawkspur, Rebel Dane, Kirramosa, Sweet Idea and Weary. Sweet Idea led from start to finish and managed to hold off a challenge by Messene to win, with Rebel Dane (who started as favourite – again!) running third.

Back at Flemington, the Aurie’s Star was about to start and the runners were assembling in the mounting yard.

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Tiger Tees the winner

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Mr Chard – ran second

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Sino Eagle – ran fourth

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Shanghai Warrior – ran ninth

I didn’t wait for the horses to return to scale after the Aurie’s Star, but left for the station. As I’d had my money on Shanghai Warrior , I didn’t have to wait for a collect.

Despite not being an overly successful afternoon at the races , it was pleasant being back at Flemington. In case you’re wondering, the weather was overcast and the track was rated good. However a very chilly wind was blowing over the wide open spaces of the public lawn.

Next weekend a much classier race meeting is scheduled at Caulfield with the Group 2 P B Lawrence Stakes (formerly Liston Stakes) as the feature. Also on the cards is the Group 3 Vain Stakes (for colts and geldings) and the Quezette Stakes (for fillies), which always make for interesting viewing in terms of Golden Rose/Guineas prospects.