When I left home to go to Caulfield Racecourse, the rain was bucketing down, and the weather promised to be iffy for the rest of the afternoon.
There’s nothing worse than feeling damp for the stretch of an afternoon, so I’m glad B obligingly gave a lift to Ivanhoe station.
By the time I finally reached Caulfield the rain had abated and the sun was emerging from the clouds, though a stiff breeze was blowing directly head on to horses racing down the straight.
I stuck to the public lawn for all five of the races I watched over the afternoon, having taken my step to facilitate snaps from the fence near the finish line. Besides, I take far fewer photos from that postition than if I was on the hill above the stalls area, so it’s less tedious to sort the photos next day.
The first of the races I witnessed was Race 3, the Living Legends Plate for three year olds, run over 1000 metres. I was interested to see how I Am Immortal would fare. In autumn he won both the Blue Diamond Preview and Blue Diamond Prelude, though finished 7th in the Blue Diamond Stakes. This was his first start since then, and he started as favourite.
The race was won by South Australian trained Garner who won by a nose from race leader Sartorial Splendor with Lucifer’s Reward half a length running third. I Am Immortal missed the start and ended up finishing seventh.
Haut Brion Her, last seen at Moonee Valley on 7 September where she narrowly lost to Tofane, again started as favourite for the Fight Cancer Foundation Handicap, but despite fighting out the finish with Fabric, lost by overa length at the post. She is not as comfortable running the Melbourne way (anti clockwise) as she is the clockwise Sydney way. One More Try finished third.
Race 5 was the Group 3 How Now Stakes, a race for mares over 1200 metres. Pippie was the hot favourite, but she failed to feature in the finish after leading early in the race. Godolphin mare Manicure was the eventual winner, defeating Angelic Ruler by 1½ lengths. Dawn Dawn ran third.
The MRC Foundation Cup (formerly known as the Naturalism Stakes) was the next race to jump. The winner gains a ballot free entry into the Caulfield Cup and the Chris Waller trained Brimham Rocks achieved this quite impressively, winning easily by 1¼ lengths from stablemate So You Win with Sikandarabad 2 lengths behind in third place.
The afternoon had grown considerably darker by this time and the lowering clouds looked ominous, threatening a downpour for the feature Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes.
However, the rain held off and the race was run without drama.
Begood Toya Mother was the warm favourite and didn’t disappoint his many fans, winning by 1¼ lengths after racing on the speed in second place behind Iconoclasm, taking the lead at the top of the straight. Age Of Chivalry finished second and Widgee Turf ran third.
I called it quits after the Rupert Clarke Stakes and made it home without getting drenched by the rain that eventually arrived in the late afternoon.
Next Saturday is AFL Grand Final Day in Melbourne, so the feature Group 1 Underwood Stakes meeting at Caulfield is held on Sunday.
Moonee Valley kick off their night racing season on Friday night with the Group 1 Moir Stakes, which has attracted a super field that includes Sunlight and Nature Strip.
In Sydney the feature race is the Group 1 Golden Rose at Rosehill.