Cup week a story of the old and new

Cameron Rose Columnist

By , Cameron Rose is a Roar Expert

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    The Flemington carnival is always about a mixture of old faces and new, it’s just a matter of the balance from year to year.

    Derby Day kicks off the week with three-year-olds in the two main features, yet the age group walked off with three Group 1 wins on the day.

    Ace High, Merchant Navy and Shoals won the Derby, Coolmore and Myer Classic respectively, and boast only 25 starts between them.

    Ace High will be back for a Cups campaign next year, Merchant Navy will likely retire to stud before the season is out, and Shoals is one of three fillies that ran the Thousand Guineas trifecta that seems assured of an exciting future.

    If those three were the new, Chris Waller was the old, winning the Kennedy Mile, but with a fresh face in Shillelagh. Poor Tom Melbourne, perennial second-place getter, ran true to form again. Rarely has a horse gone so well in a preparation without a win.

    The Melbourne Cup very much provided us with a balance old and new.

    Rekindling was the youngest horse in the Melbourne Cup field, Lloyd Williams as an owner the mainstay over three decades now.

    Despite his meagre experience, Rekindling had already proven his staying credentials, and is clearly a rising talent that will lay claim to best stayer in the world at some stage. Lloyd Williams’ obsession with winning Melbourne Cups knows no bounds, and nor does his fortune that enables him to do so.

    Corey Brown Rekindling

    (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

    Johannes Vermeer was second, continuing his run of outstanding performances. Come to think of it, he has been even more impressive than Tom Melbourne while not winning. Unlike Rekindling, Johannes Vermeer will stay in Australia and bolster our weight-for-age ranks. The Australian Cup and BMW look at his mercy in the autumn.

    Aloisia was the only Group 1 winner in the Oaks field going in, but Pinot joined her coming out, both fantastic prospects for next season and beyond.

    Gai Waterhouse, who has been the most recognizable lady in racing for many years, had a chequered history with the Melbourne spring carnival in the initial decades of her career. She has gone about rectifying that in recent years with a series of major wins. In partnership with Adrian Bott, they won the training performance of Cup week.

    Redzel stamped himself as the best sprinter in the land after his win in The Everest, but there were still a few doubters unwilling to cede him the crown.

    Chautauqua has been our sprint champ in the years since Black Caviar and has dazzled all of us with his spectacular feats. But the beauty of sport is that the next generation is always knocking at the door, and they can not be held at bay forever.

    Chautauqua - horse racing

    (Photo: AAP)

    Redzel is the opposite of Chautauqua in that he takes up the running and defies all others to get past him, but the beauty of each is that punters and opposition riders and connections know exactly what both are going to do. Knocking them off is another story.

    Darren Weir keeps on keeping on, and had a winner on each of the four days of Cup week, culminating in taking out the Emirates Stakes with Tosen Stardom.

    An enigmatic galloper, he ended his spring campaign with two Group 1 wins and a Group 1 placing, a worthy preparation in anyone’s language. He needs the right circumstances to produce his best but his wins in the Toorak and Emirates were both with authority.

    It seems a lifetime ago that Winx won her third Cox Plate, but it seems like only yesterday she wowed us at Flemington in the Turnbull Stakes. Spring carnival is like that. Cup week is long. The rest of it feels short.

    Cameron Rose
    Cameron Rose

    Cameron Rose is a born and bred Melbournian, raised on a regime of AFL, cricket and horse racing. He likes people who agree with him but loves those that don't, for there's nothing better than a roaring debate. He tweets from @camtherose.

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