Monday, September 05, 2022

The Brightside of Life

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Mr Brightside wins the Feehan Stakes

Last Saturday dawned overcast, threatening rain, not  a promising prospect for an afternoon at the races at Moonee Valley.

However all turned out well, as a fine sunny afternoon eventuated that had everyone smiling at the track.

In the past for well over twenty years I have been attending the Feehan Stakes meeting at Moonee Valley and have witnessed some champions of the turf  in action, such as Sunline and Northerly. in 2001, Makybe Diva in 2004 and 2005, Apache Cat in 2006, among many others over the years.

I wouldn’t say that the 2022 meeting was up  to the quality of those of the past, but was of interest none the less.

The Group 2 Feehan Stakes was scheduled as Race 4 on the program, so that also encouraged me to attend as it wouldn’t be a long afternoon trackside.

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Winx Statue (detail) near the main entrance to the track

My aim was to arrive in time to see the feature race, but I reached Moonee Valley in time to watch Race 3, the Inglis Ready2Race Sale October 11 Plate,  and get some photo practice before the main event.

A race for three year old colts and geldings it resulted in an all the way win for race favourite Shalaman, who defeated Meridius and Millane.

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Shalaman burns up the straight to win Race 3

As there was a bit of time before the Feehan Stakes, I decided to check out the stalls area and see if I could find the grey flash, Chautauqua who was present as a special equine guest.

He was easy to find and being paraded in the stalls, attracting a small crowd of fans. He famously decided to end his racing career by refusing to jump from the gates on several occasions, but previously was a scintillating sprinter who specialised in nail biting last to first finishes.

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Chautauqua in the stalls

The Feehan Stakes had attracted only  a small field of five contenders, and Mr Brightside was the warm favourite. He won convincingly by over four lengths from Inspirational Girl and Spanish Mission.

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Inspirational Girl and Spanish Mission fill the placings

Next  to run was the equally interesting Group 2 McEwen Stakes, a sprint over 1000 metres which had a good field that included classy sprinters In The Congo, The Inferno and three year old speed machine Coolangatta who started the hot favourite.

All were outclassed by Rothfire who won narrowly  from Zoustyle and Coolangatta.

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Rothfire (pink checks)  about to overtake Zoustyle as they thunder up the straight

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Rothfire on his way to the barriers

As it was still early in the afternoon I stayed for the Atlantic Jewel Stakes, a 1200 metre race for three year old fillies.

I’mlovin’ya was the fancied runner, but Godolphin filly Troach ended up the winner, beating Lady Laguna and relegating I’mlovin’ya to third place.

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Troach (blue silks) fights out the finish with Lady Laguna

By this time it had grown quite chilly and as usual the shadow of the Grandstand was encroaching on the track, so I called it quits for the afternoon.

Before I left, a couple of young blokes wanted their photo taken, so here they are – Cannon and H.

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It was pleasant to be back at the Valley and quite a contrast to the last time I had attended on All Star Mile Day in March 2021 where the rain bucketed down all afternoon.