Cup week a story of the old and new

Cameron Rose Columnist

By Cameron Rose, 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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    The Crowd Says (14)

    • November 13th 2017 @ 6:58am
      Not so super said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      Great summary
      Interesting with Ace high – not one runner from derby last year made it into this years Melbourne cup

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 10:26am
      kv joef said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:26am | ! Report

      Cam, you nailed the carnival. It does seem an age since everyone kicked off in Sydney with Winx’s return and Vega Magic forcing recognition in the Memsie.

      But as you outlined, the highlight has been so many rising stars and we have a couple of 3 year-olds like She Will Reign waiting in the wings.

      Merchant Navy has a sprinter’s pedigree of the ages that will see stud’s open their wallets but he should be kept in work as a 4yrold not only to prove himself but as a visitor to England’s showcase sprints. Redzel’s connections are saying they are staying here so if I had him … that’s what i’d be thinking … he is the perfect type. He might be worth $15 mill now but you win one of those sprints change the dollar sign to GBP. They already like the Fastnet Rocks.

      and i really liked the oaks this year – the first four over the line show great promise. And also looking forward to see how David Payne brings Ace High along. Watch this master trainer go to work … he’s only about a third-the-way along.

      How about High Chaparral siring the Derby and Cup winners in different hemispheres and nearly clocks up the Oaks with Bring Me Roses. Big week.

      great news about JVemeer. Jane Ivil will have to keep wearing that pearl earing.

      And to end the carnival with Redzel dominating a quality line-up of sprinters, who could be disappointed with this springs racing.

      But i am looking forward to next saturday at Sandown. usually a day of good racing on a beer and pie afternoon.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 1:48pm
        peeeko said | November 13th 2017 @ 1:48pm | ! Report

        KV, why do we target the Ascot sprints rather than the better and more cash rewarding HK and Japan races?

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 3:38pm
          kv joef said | November 13th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          peeeko … at the moment there is a ban on HK travel … they could send him there but it would be 6 months in quarrantine before they get him back!.

          Japanese sprinters lack the international authority required to turn heads of big-money.

          At the moment the poms are going the crow about their current crop of sprinters. headed by the ‘world’s best sprinter’ … Harry Angel rated WR125. That’s 2 pts higher than the best from our golden crop.

          this year we’ve seen in succession, proclaimed the ‘best’ … Lady Aurelia, Caravaggio, Harry Angel, Marsha, Battash and what have they all got in common … an a-kicking at their next start. none of their form is confirmed … they have been playing musical chairs.

          I like what i seen with Merchant Navy this spring. Still raw. we’ll see whether he can take the next step in the autumn but i wouldn’t be using defeats by Red or Chau as a reason for not going.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 10:49am
      no one in particular said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

      I think Ace High will make a tough 2000m WFA horse rather then a Cups horse

    • November 13th 2017 @ 11:13am
      Aransan said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

      Excellent coverage of the carnival by the Roar Experts.

      Being lazy, can someone explain how the wfa scale is applied to Northern Hemisphere horses — by my reckoning The Taj Mahal was 1.5kg over. My attack is to just consider those horses to be 6 months older, so look at the wfa scale for May when a race is run in November.

    • Roar Guru

      November 13th 2017 @ 12:01pm
      kv joef said | November 13th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

      You have done well aransan. nearly correct about the 6 months notion but the northern hemisphere season begins Jan 1 and ours Aug 1. Most foals a born a month or two post those dates.

      Taj Mahal was born 28-01-14 but you can see on our AU ‘horses birthday’ Aug-01 he turns 1yrold when actually the poor little bugger is still a baby. For newbies, on Aug-01, all AU racehorses age one year regardless of their actual birth-date.

      It would be equally unfair with Taj Mahal born the previous January to an August rollover that he is actually zero years. Now regardless of when horses are bred, NH or SH … horses resident in australia would age a year (for race qualification purposes) every Aug01 so 2yrolds and 3yrolds can race against their own age.

      The official handicappers decided that an arbitrary 1.5kgs was a fair call after doing a lot of averaging of age performances at different times of the year and including horses actual birth dates etc.

      Example Rekindling is a March foal and in real time (birth-date), is two moths younger than Taj Mahal. If both horses were to return to England right now they would be weighted as 3yrolds having their weight reduced 1.5 kgs from our scale.

      So horses of technically the same age … moving from southH to northH would have to carry 1.5kgs more because in the breeding year our horses have ‘5 months’ start and going the other way 1.5kgs less. This continues until maturity is reached.

      you are starting to think about the WFA scale the right way 🙂 but i got some ordinary news for you … the UK scale is slightly different from the one we are used too.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 2:14pm
      Aransan said | November 13th 2017 @ 2:14pm | ! Report

      Thanks for the response kv. I was aware that the birthday for Northern Hemisphere horses was January 1 but I didn’t think many foals would be born in an English or Irish January.

      I have looked through the 2017 Inglis 2017 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale with lots 1 to 100. The birth date distribution is:
      August: 11
      September: 32
      October: 38
      November: 17
      December: 2
      Assuming birthdays are mid-month the average birthdate is October 5.

      Doing the same for the forthcoming Tattersalls December Yearling Sale we get:
      January: 3
      February: 17
      March: 25
      April: 39
      May: 16
      June: 1
      I must have counted one horse twice. The average birthdate is March 30, so in practice foals are born on average approximately 6 months apart.

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