For a change it was a warm and sunny day at Caulfield last Saturday and crowds were once again welcomed back trackside – if you were fully vaccinated that is.
As I hadn’t been to the races since All Star Mile Day back in March this year ,and was disappointed to miss the Spring Racing Carnival, I took the opportunity to finally use my Caulfield Casual Membership card and headed off to the Eastern suburbs.
This wasn’t without difficulty as trains from the city to Caulfield were not running due to the Victorian Government major works blitz that affected the Frankston line.
So I had to bus it from the city (or rather Burnley Station) to Caulfield and was obliged to stand the entire trip, which made it doubly tedious.
It probably didn’t take that much longer than usual, but seemed so, but I arrived at Caulfield in plenty of time for Race 2, the Sandown Cup which was my intention. My friend Rebecca was also there, so it was good to catch up with her. We last met on Blue Diamond Stakes day in autumn.
Though the race card was not that interesting there were a few horses I was looking forward to seeing, notably Spanish Mission in the feature race, the Zipping Classic where Glen Boss was set to ride in his last race. This race was later in the day, scheduled for 4.20pm, so there were six races to watch and practice photography on before that event.
It’s rare to see a race at 3200 metres, so I guess you could say it was a treat to watch the Sandown Cup which is run at the Melbourne Cup distance.
The winner, Dragon Storm who raced at the rear of the field, came into contention a short way from the winning post to score a narrow victory over True Marvel with Sweet Thomas running third.
Dragon Storm is New Zealand bred, a son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking, and started at big odds, his form being nothing to write home about.
Race 3 was the Twilight Glow Stakes, a race over 1400 metres for three year old fillies.
Lady of Honour led from the start and held on to win by half a length from fast finishing race favourite Decent Raine. Lavish Girl ran third.
Enthaar, whom I had last seen running in the Blue Diamond Stakes, started as favourite for Race 4, the Doveton Stakes, a sprint over 1000 metres, and didn’t disappoint winning comfortably over Streetcar Stranger with Yulong Command running third.
It was a bright sunny day which you would think would be good for photos, but I was testing out a new camera (D5600 Nikon) and hadn’t quite worked out the controls. If I could have found a way to turn on Active D Lighting, my photos, especially facing back towards the winning post may have been better. But it has always been problematic at Caulfield facing into the sun.
There was a fairly big crowd in attendance, quite like a normal pre Covid race day, but Bec and I had no trouble getting to our preferred fence position for taking photos.
Even the stalls area was accessible though it had changed quite a bit with new stalls areas making it confusing to find a particular horse. We did however manage to get a photo of Melbourne Cup third placer, Spanish Mission, in his stall.
Race 5, the Group 3 Summoned Stakes, was up next. Run over 1600 metres, it is a race for mares four years old and upwards.
Steinem started as favourite and prevailed in the end fighting out the finish with Quantum Mechanic to win by a head. Perfect World was third a length behind.
By this time there was only one race to run before the feature, and this was the Group 2 Sandown Guineas, run over 1600 metres. I can’t say I’d ever heard of most of the field, so the win by 20./ shot Blue Army meant little. He won by half a length from Blazerro , another 20./1 shot with race favourite Festival Dancer running third.
The feature race was heralded by a band and singer and old Zipping, special guest from Living Legends, led the field into the mounting yard. The Zipping Classic (2400 metres) used to be named the Sandown Classic and run at Sandown until this year, the week after the Flemington Spring Carnival and was won by Zipping four years in succession from 2007 to 2010, hence the name change.
Spanish Mission was the hot favourite and Glen Boss was booked to ride him. Everyone was hoping that Glen Boss would go out a winner in this, but it was not to be. Sound, who won this race last year, made it back to back victories, narrowly winning from Dr Drill and race leader Wentwood.
Spanish Mission failed to fire in the straight and finished fourth.
Despite Spanish Mission failing to win, the crowd cheered Glen Boss back to the mounting yard., where he paraded for an enthusiastic audience.
Glen Boss will always be remembered as the rider of Makybe Diva in her three Melbourne Cup victories, as well as many other notable wins over the 36 years he has been involved in racing.
I left the course shortly after this so missed Glen Boss stripping off and throwing his various garments to the crowd.
Rather than face another bus ride back to the city, I caught a tram and enjoyed a relaxed scenic trip through St Kilda to Flinders Street.
It was enjoyable being back at the races, and I must admit you do get plenty of badly needed exercise to and froing around the course. I was quite foot sore when I finally got home.