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.
British gelding Polarisation is out to capture one of Australian racing’s rarest feats, the Cups double, after galloping home in the controversially re-run Sydney Cup on Saturday.
The Group 1 win over the weekend has earned the five-year-old a trip back home as trainers and owners look to rest him up for the spring, with one major race right on the cards.
“He’s had two hard races in a row, so we’ll take him home, and we won’t worry about a future just yet,” James Ferguson, assistant to trainer Chris Appleby, said.
“He’s proven that he suits Australian racing more than he suits English… the way he won, you’d almost have to bring him back for a Melbourne Cup.”
Following a dramatic and incident-filled first attempt at the Cup that saw a runner euthanised and the race called off mid-way through, we finally have a winner from the prized event.
The rescheduled run on Saturday saw the Appleby-trained Polarisation take the cake, a $2 million cake at that, ahead of Who Shot Thebarman and Big Duke.
“(Polarisation) ran a personal best yesterday, he got into a dogfight and came out on top,” Ferguson said.
Interestingly, as half the field continued to take on the two-mile race amid the chaos, Polarisation actually passed the post first in the original Sydney Cup run.
“Polarisation went and won the first time… you have to take these situations as they come, that’s racing for you,” Ferguson said.
One negative to come out of the whole two-race debacle has been the strain on the horses in the field, who have had to take on a pair of two-mile races in quick succession.
For Polarisation, Ferguson knows the importance of rest after such a heavy few weeks on the legs, especially for an English horse that is very foreign to long races in a short amount of time.
“We had never been in that situation. At home [England], you’d never run two miles two weeks after running a two-mile race, so it was a bit of an experiment,” he said.
“We stepped their work up that last week going into the Cup. It was very important to freshen things up. It’s very important to let these horses get back to enjoying themselves. They did everything right for us.”
The plan is now to take the plane back to the UK and let Polarisation rest up in the stables before coming back hard for the Australian Spring carnival.
“If he’s fit and well and giving us all the right signs when it comes to choosing our Melbourne Cup team,” Ferguson said in regards to the gelding’s future schedule, “then we’ll definitely bring him back.”
The Melbourne Cup would be a massive notch on Polarisation’s belt, joining the elite company of the likes of Makybe Diva as one of the very few horses to win both Cups in one year.
Polarisation has seven wins and six place finishes from 20 career starts, including the Sydney Cup, which was the gelding’s first Group 1 victory.