Now we’re talking. The big guns are beginning to come back in Sydney, and we have three Group 1 races in Melbourne to get into.
Mystic Journey is going to be awfully hard to beat this preparation based on her first-up performance at Caulfield on Saturday, but I wouldn’t be rushing in to back her in any futures markets.
For starters, backing favourites in all-in markets is rarely a good idea, but this mare is not as bombproof as Winx was.
If the rain falls in Melbourne this spring, Mystic Journey is going to find the going a whole lot tougher.
And while Caulfield, Flemington and Moonee Valley drain better than most tracks, it is not unreasonable to think we could get a rain-affected track or two over the next few months.
I found it interesting post-race on Saturday that trainer Adam Trinder noted that she didn’t like the wet surfaces.
“She’s one of these fillies who really appreciates flint-hard ground and shows a massive acceleration,” he said.
I noticed that she wobbled around the bend in Saturday’s Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes, suggesting that maybe she wanted it a bit firmer.
Still, class goes a long way and Mystic Journey showed plenty in the 1400m event.
Yet to win an open class Group 1 – the All Star Mile in the autumn didn’t count – Mystic Journey will likely get her chance in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in a month’s time at Flemington.
“My ideal preference is to have a month off and go to the Makybe Diva,” Trinder said.
“There’s the Memsie in a fortnight, which is a Group 1 target, but we will do what’s right by the filly and my feel is a month between runs.”
Exciting times indeed for a mare that cost connections a meagre $11,000.
It’s not often a Group 2 race in New Zealand gains a lot of attention in Australia, but the return of Te Akau Shark at Te Rapa on Saturday had the racing world talking.
The brilliant Kiwi settled well back in the Foxbridge Plate (1200m) and did his best work late to storm home on a wet track to finish second.
While it wasn’t the best run I’ve seen, it’s worth noting that he resumed over an unsuitable distance and was simply too far back to win at the 400m mark.
He’ll come to Australia now and he’ll be one to watch once he starts to race over further. In case you missed it, Te Akau Shark was one of the 10 horses I wrote about to watch this spring
Pippie too slick
A Benchmark 78 race isn’t always a great form reference, but the clock doesn’t lie in Pippie’s case.
This four-year-old mare was simply too quick for her rivals in the opening race at Caulfield on Saturday and I dare say we’ll be seeing her in Group races in the not-too-distance future.
Ridden a treat by Ben Melham, who posted quick sectionals on the speedy mare, Pippie broke the hearts of her rivals and went on to record a comfortable three-length win.
“She has always had good ability but she was really immature in her first preparation,” Melham said post-race.
“She just did it all on raw ability but as soon as she started to show signs she had enough, they stopped with her and gave her a good break.
“Now they have brought her back she has really matured and filled out.
“She has got really good tactical speed and was able to use it to her advantage, she kicked away and won really impressively in the end.
“She has got a long stride and she’s a fast horse.”
Co-trained by John and Chris Meagher, it was suggested by the stable that Pippie could be headed to the Group 3 Cockram (1200m) at Caulfield on August 31.
I dare say she’ll be hard to beat that day.
We are going to see a lot of James Cummings on the TV this spring. The young trainer has plenty of talent at his disposal.
Be wary backing the Godolphin three-year-olds though because you might just find yourself on the wrong horse.
If you, like me, invested on Lyre in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes, you would have been frustrated from both the ride of Luke Currie and the fact she was beaten by two stablemates, Exhilarates and Pin Sec.
In the colts and geldings race, Bivouac showed a tremendous turn of foot to put his rivals to the sword in the Group 3 Vain Stakes.
And there’s plenty of others out there, too.
It will be tough picking which Godolphin horse is going to win on any given Saturday. Not a bad problem for the stable, however.