Brisbane winter horses flourishing in spring
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I like to watch the horses all year round – not just spring and autumn – and I generally follow the major racing carnivals around the country.
Australia’s best carnival during winter is held in Brisbane. The shining lights in the Brisbane winter carnival are the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m) and Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), and the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Prestigious races for 3YOs during the carnival include the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) and Queensland Derby (2400m) and for 2YOs the Group 1 TJ Smith (1600m).
More and more well performed Brisbane winter horses are bringing their form to Melbourne during the spring.
In 2008, Viewed won the Melbourne Cup after winning the Brisbane Cup by seven lengths.
In 2009, Shocking won the Melbourne Cup after being runner up in the Queensland Derby. In the same year Scenic Shot won the Mackinnon Stakes after winning the Brisbane Cup.
Apache Cat (2009), Hot Danish (2010) and Beaded (2011) all won races during the spring in Sydney and Melbourne after winning the Doomben 10,000.
This year another bumper crop of horses from all over the eastern states are making their way to Melbourne after successful stints during the Brisbane winter.
Buffering trained by Robert Heathcote at Eagle Farm has already won twice in Melbourne at Group 2 level since two strong performances as runner up in the Doomben 10,000 (won by Sea Siren) and Stradbroke Handicap (Mid Summer Music).
He steps out hot favourite in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight, with the John O’Shea (Randwick) trained Sea Siren (dual winner during winter) set to make her return in the same race.
Solzhenitsyn also trained by Heathcote was impressive in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes before upsetting More Joyous in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap last start.
During the winter, Solzhenitsyn strung together three successive wins in Brisbane and he goes around with an excellent chance in the Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Boom sprinter Howmuchdoyouloveme trained by Con Karakatsanis (Rosehill) started his streak of four successive wins in a ‘one metro winner’ race in Brisbane back in June, culminating in the Group 2 Caulfield Sprint on Caulfield Cup day.
The 4YO gelding has risen up the sprinting ranks so fast he is $5 second favourite for the Patinack Farm Classic held on the final day of the Flemington Carnival.
Whateverwhenever trained by Liam Birchley (Eagle Farm) kicked off her winter campaign in a Benchmark 85 race at the Sunshine Coast in July, before her impressive win last start over the highly fancied King’s Rose in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes on Caulfield on Cup day.
After two impressive performances on firm Melbourne tracks already this spring, with conditions to suit there could be more success to come for this mare.
One horse I have a big opinion of is the John Thompson trained Pear Tart who is based in Queensland. During the winter as a filly she won the Group 2 Queensland Guineas before upsetting the older horses in the Tiara at Group 1 level. After what was a disappointing first up run in Sydney, she struck back last week at Caulfield running second behind Streama in what is likely to be a hot form race.
Kelso Wood’s (Eagle Farm) impressive 3YO Sizzling – who was undefeated in four runs during the winter, culminating in the Group 1 TJ Smith – resumed in the Blue Sapphire almost a fortnight ago and ran home strongly to finish fourth behind star sprinter Snitzerland. Like Pear Tart, he could well be winning again soon.
While she didn’t fire in Sydney in three early runs this pre, the Peter Moody (Caulfield) trained Brisbane Cup winner Lights of Heaven was extremely brave in the star studded Caulfield Cup last week. She was keen at the start and got held up for a run rounding the home turn before finally getting out and running a strong third behind Dunaden on an unsuitably firm track. On a rain affected track with some luck at Flemington, she could be the best local hope in the Melbourne Cup.
Darley’s 4YO Mental also steps out in the Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley tonight after two impressive wins in Brisbane during the winter and an unplaced run on a heavy track behind Pear Tart in the Guineas.
Keep an eye on these horses during the remainder of Melbourne’s spring.
When studying the form guide for a winner during the carnival, don’t be afraid to part with any of your hard earned on runners with any significance to Queenslands winter form.
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