After a pretty tough first day of the Championships, we return to Randwick for an absolute belter of a card for day this Saturday, featuring a ripping Queen Elizabeth and very open Sydney Cup.
Moonee Valley did such a good job hosting this year’s All-Star Mile that the race should remain as a permanent fixture on the club’s calendar.
The race has now been rotated among the three big clubs in Melbourne and there’s something magical about the Valley.
For starters, spectators are much closer to the action than Caufield and Flemington, which creates an amphitheatre-type environment.
Secondly, the Valley needs one more big event. Flemington has more than enough, while Caulfield has just enough as is.
The racing at Moonee Valley can be a little hit and miss, but there’s rarely a boring feature event at the track.
Think about the Cox Plates, Manikatos, Moirs and the like. Big fields and hot racing.
I understand that typical races can be jump-and-run with a lot of leader bias, but you don’t typically see that in the feature races at Moonee Valley.
The rain certainly added excitement, even if it did kill a few punters, including yours truly.
That’s the beauty of racing. The variables are what makes the great game so wonderful.
When the heavens opened up, the whole dynamic of the All-Star Mile changed.
Horses that were favourites were drifting, while the winner Mugatoo relished the slop, as did runner-up Russian Camelot.
Both of these would be expected to be in this year’s Cox Plate.
A special shout out to Queenslander The Harrovian, who hit the front approaching the bend but just tired late to finish fifth.
It was a great performance for a horse who was still racing in provincial Cairns this time last year.
The big change the All-Star Mile needs to make is the timing. It needs to be switched with the Australian Cup so that genuine 2000-metre horses can contest both.
With the Group 1 classic held a week beforehand, it makes it hard for the elite horses to compete in both.
Get the calendar right and this race will become a cornerstone of Victorian racing for years to come.
While there’s a decent card at Mornington on Saturday, the real action moves to Sydney at Rosehill Gardens with a number of cracking Group 1 races.
Join me here on Friday for a preview of the main events.