For a change from Australia Day, yesterday’s weather was warm and sunny, though when I set out for my afternoon at the races it didn’t look all that promising, being grey and overcast, threatening rain.
Covid 19 biosecurity measures were still in place at Caulfield, restricting movement as was the case on Australia Day. Fortunately we were permitted in the Media area, so we could get on the fence for photographs. General patrons were held off from the fence by security guards, so we counted ourselves lucky.
I only stayed for three races, reaching Caulfield around 1.30 pm in time for Race 3, the not terribly interesting Ned’s Toolbox Handicap, a race over 1800 metres. Good for photo practice, in other words.
It was won by War Critic who defeated race favourite Hasseltoff by a neck with long odds Five Kingdom running third.
Race 4 was the Chairman’s Stakes and the pick of the card due to the presence of Enthaar, early favourite for the Blue Diamond Stakes who impressed with her first start win in the Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes at Randwick last Spring.
She certainly lived up to expectations, leading from the start and holding off all challengers to win by 2 ½ lengths from Ingratiating, with Fortunate Kiss a further length behind running third.
Whether Enthaar will go on to win the Blue Diamond Stakes is yet to be seen, but she looks to be outstanding filly and a potential super star. I’m glad I got to see her in the flesh.
Aysar started as favourite for the other feature race, the Group 3 Manfred Stakes, but he was outclassed by 9/1 shot Portland Sky who led from the start to the finish, to win by ¾ length from Aysar, with 2020 Blue Diamond winner Tagaloa running third.
I called it quits after the Manfred Stakes, the rest of the race card not being all that alluring to stay for.
Next week at Caulfield is the first Group 1 race of the Autumn racing season, the CF Orr Stakes, which along with the two Group 2 Blue Diamond Preludes, promises to be a a classier race meeting, with better performed horses kicking off their autumn campaigns.
Unfortunately Flemington looks a no go as far as Autumn racing is concerned with apparently no individual General Admission tickets being offered for sale for the Lightning Stakes meeting in mid February, one being obliged to book a table for four or six people. That may change by the time Super Saturday comes around in March, but I’m not holding my breath. I just noticed on the VRC website that sales have been put on hold, due to technical hosting issues associated with the new COVID requirements remaining unresolved, whatever that means.
I should be grateful during these pestilent times that I can attend the Caulfield meets. It’s better than nothing. I have also purchased a general admission ticket for the All Star Mile , this year to be run at Moonee Valley, and hope to get to use it..