Jockey Georgina Cartwright rode ‘Royal Hale’ to victory at Doomben despite being swooped by a magpie. The magpie coming off second best and Cartwright didn’t flinch as she focused on the home straight.
Bias, bias, bias…well, it did dominate talk at Randwick on Saturday, but a mighty grey horse gave us something else to talk about and remember forever. It was an interesting first day of the Championships, so here is my take on it.
Royal Randwick or a cow paddock?
Flemington got its whack during their Autumn Carnival, and rightfully so. Randwick and track manager Navesh Ramdani has to put his hand and say that track was not good enough for a race card shown across the world and watched by millions worldwide.
It was evident early on that horses near the inside or up on the pace were certainly advantaged, hence why we saw long-priced winners throughout the day. It was very hard to make ground. Well… it wasn’t for one horse.
The most disappointing thing about it is that Ramdani stated on the morning that the track would “Race well and play evenly.” Ouch.
— The Championships (@ChampionshipsRR) March 31, 2017
Thunder down under does it again… fair and square?
The bias and pattern said that Chautauqua had no chance of winning the TJ Smith (1200m), the market said he had no chance as all the support was for Russian Revolution, but wowee, my god. It was a win you’ll remember forever and for mine, it betters Black Caviar and her first TJ triumph when beating Hay List.
He was last 200m out and held up, but once he hit clear air, he just absolutely savaged the line, like he has done previously in his two other TJ wins, to nab English right on the peg.
Fell Swoop, ridden quite strangely by Joao Moreira, was third. The flops were the three-year-olds Russian Revolution and Astern, confirming once again that this sprint/mile crop aren’t much good.
But the talking point came after the last in the Stewards’ report where jockey Tommy Berry hit Chautauqua seven times more than allowed prior to the 100m.
It is a known fact that this horse needs encouragement, and he well and truly got it there. Given the narrow margin, and the fact that the stewards were considering a protest last week over a greater margin, it could have been interesting. But take nothing away from the grey. He proved once again he is the best sprinter in the world.
It’s Somewhat of a Doncaster shock
Take nothing away from It’s Somewhat and all concerned with the win, but it was just a bit ugly to watch. He is a good horse, yes, but a Doncaster winner? Come on.
But credit where credit is due to Zac Purton, he gave the horse a peach of a ride on speed and kicked away at the right time and that was the winning move as he clung on to beat Happy Clapper, who you have to feel sorry for. He bumped into Winx last year and bias beat him this year. He could be a dual Doncaster winner had things gone his way.
Sense Of Occasion was outstanding in third and he was one of the runs of the day considering where he was in the run. The stablemate Le Romain, well just forget he went around. He had absolutely no chance from the 600m onwards.
Magic wand left at Hong Kong
Make no mistake that Joao Moreira is the best rider in the world. But for some reason, he just can’t crack Sydney and dominate here like he has done when he has raided Melbourne. Some of his rides yesterday were ugly to watch, starting with Alizee, and the day just didn’t go to plan for the ‘Magic Man’.
In the last 12 months, Moreira has ridden just the two winners in Sydney, and they came in the Spring on Mackintosh and McCreery. Overall he has had 19 rides in the past year when visiting Sydney. As I said, he is the best in the world, but is yet to show the Sydney public what he is capable of.