Another feature raceday at Randwick and another Chris Waller domination. The champion trainer provided the quinella in two of the three majors on the card, the Epsom and Metropolitan, along with Brazen Beau in the Roman Consul and Moriarty in the Craven Plate.
But it wasn’t just Waller who dominated the program. In the jockey ranks, the ‘Magic Man’, Joao Moreira, proved why he is one of the best in the business with three wins on the card, including a thrilling last stride win in the Epsom Handicap (1600m) on He’s Your Man, who narrowly beat home stablemate Royal Descent.
She is trying her guts out, but she doesn’t like her photo being taken. Hooked was enormous, sitting three wide no cover for the entire trip and stuck on for third, but all credit goes to the winner.
Blake Shinn also rode a treble, and he steered home a 1-2 for Waller in the Metropolitan (2400m) thanks to Junoob, carrying 58kg and being left in front 400m out, he was huge in winning. He kicked on very strongly to hold off stablemate Opinion with Araldo running a very gallant third.
Spillway hadn’t won beyond 2200m and that showed late when he stopped badly over the final furlong. La Amistad was wide most of the way and was a beaten horse 600m out. The rest simply weren’t good enough.
The other Group l on the card, the Flight Stakes (1600m), was taken out by First Seal. A hard week for John Thompson ended with a brilliant Group 1 winner thanks to the filly, who absolutely toyed with her rivals in the Flight, easily dismantling the other two favoured runners, Winx, who was out sprinted, and Thinking Of You, who just didn’t handle the occasion and will be better in the Autumn, but the winner was simply too classy and may back up next week in the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m).
Earlier in the program, we saw the two year olds in Sydney for the first time, and easily the most impressive out of the two races was Vancouver in the Breeders Plate (1000m). He produced a dominant and impressive all the way display, holding off the highly touted Sooboog. Vancouver looks a real pro who could develop into a Slipper contender given he fights, and he does have that Pierro look about him.
Hampton Court bounced back to his best form with a relatively soft win in the Dulcify Quality (1600m). He should have won by more, but got onto heels of the leader and lost momentum before Moreira straightened up and the horse went on with it. Duccio led them up and was quite good in holding on for second, while Bachman is on track for the Derby with his closing third.
Brazen Beau was crunched in betting and duly saluted in the Roman Consul Stakes (1200m), with Moreira at it again, producing another gem, defeating Nostradamus and Delectation, who was brave on speed. As for Hallowed Crown…he needs give in the ground, there is no doubting that now.
Three things I learnt from Randwick:
1. Joao Moreira is just about the best rider in the business
2. The meeting won’t last long in the memory bank of James McDonald #Generalife
3. We didn’t see a Caulfield/Melbourne Cup winner running here
Stone bruise one day, Group l glory and Caulfield Cup favouritism the next. Lucia Valentina was fantastic in her Turnbull Stakes (2000m) win. McEvoy gave her a lovely steer, sitting her worse than midfield between runners, then poking through gaps from the 600m mark, then shoving PFL out of the way before letting down and wearing down the Moody pair of Lidari and Brambles.
For the beaten brigade, forget Happy Trails went around. He couldn’t go the early speed and was further back than anticipated, then coming into the straight when he was about to burst through, he got cut for a run and held up behind the tiring a Entirely Platinum.
The Offer was fantastic and is just ticking over beautifully for the Cups. He was wide no cover from the 1000m mark, and again came off the bit a fair way from home but again was really good through the line.
As for Silent Achiever, she won’t win a Cox Plate, and won’t win a Caulfield Cup, based on her effort here. She was given every chance by Oliver but the mare simply didn’t ping when asked. Not sure where she goes.
Move aside Lankan Rupee, racing has it’s next superstar and his name is Chatauqua. He was simply breathtaking in the Gilgai Stakes (1200m) and looked every bit as good, if not better than Lankan Rupee when he races down the straight. He has the Darley Classic at his mercy and is still attractive odds in my opinion.
Given she was first up, I thought Bounding was very good fresh in sticking on for second. She was just beaten by a superstar and her reputation wasn’t dented from my perspective. Temple Of Boom was exposed throughout and was just fair, while Final Crescendo surprised all of us with his closing third, although he was six lengths from the winner.
Fontein Ruby showed really good grit and determination to lead all the way in the Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m), holding off a fast finishing Maastricht and Crafty, who was excellent late. None of these will win the Thousand Guineas, but there were some who should be followed for the Oaks, mainly Crafty.
Forever Loved won a drama stained Blazer Stakes (1400m), with the favourite Suavito staying in the gates and not taking any part. It was left to the Gai Waterhouse mare to overhaul the Queenslander Enquare, with May’s Dream working home for third ahead of Politeness, who again had no luck from the wide gate.
Who Shot Thebarman was a strong winner of the Bart Cummings (2520m). He got on the back of Sea Moon before peeling three deep 1000m out due to the slowing down of the tempo, putting sea moon in the pocket. He took a few hundred metres to wind up, but was very sharp through the line, beating home Marksmanship and Anadujawun. Sea Moon didn’t have the best of luck, but I would have liked him to have done a bit more.
Can the winner go on and win a Melbourne Cup? I’d say no, but he will run 3200m and that’s half the battle won.
Magicool was given a beaut steer by Bossy to win the UCI Stakes (1800m). The horse was exposed to the front much earlier than what he would have liked, but the horse was the better stayer and held his rivals at bay. Atmosphere ran well for second, and was coming late on the line, while War Point ran his usual honest race in third.
Mihalic travelled well and handled the straight course best to win the Maribyrnong Trial (1000m). Iceflow was strong in second, as was Lake Jackson, and Results, who caught the eye in fourth, the boom horse, Our Red Dog, showed dazzling early speed from the wide gate but was like a 300m greyhound at Healesville trying to run 525m at the Meadows and ran last, beaten 17 lengths.
Three things I learnt from Flemington:
1. Take the $3.50 for Chatauqua in the Darley Classic
2. Oliver will be very lucky to retain the ride on Silent Achiever
3. Horsham private jumpouts probably isn’t a reliable form reference.