“Going to the races”, perhaps more so than ever before, is now an umbrella term for an assortment of possibilities. Look at some of this weekend’s offerings for example…
Friday is the final Valley Nights for the season and the meeting has been swamped by a media blitz surrounding Black Caviar’s “appearance” (MVR8, 9.55pm and live on Ch7, G1, 1200m) – it is more like a Madonna concert than a William Reid Stakes and I expect the demography will reflect that. Given the paucity of attendees to the night series, let’s hope the MVRC puts on a great show for the bumper crowd and that at least some of the patrons will, as a by-product, return for another taste of racing in the future.
Other than “her” Royal Parade, there are a couple of races of note. The last of the 955m scurries (MVR5, 7.45pm) will be red hot. I assume they’ll manufacture a front runners’ track but even that might challenge the gut busters who’ll set a hectic tempo here. If Kulgrinda gets across for a sit he could be the one. The best contest of the night is the Sunline Stakes (MVR6, 8.20pm, G2, 1600m, mares). These girls are maybe half a notch off the best but good earners and top prospective breeders. Maybe 3,1,6.
We should cherish the attention while it lasts because, as of Sat’dy arvo, it is back off-Broadway for the Melbourne metro fixtures. Robust prizemoney will ensure competitive fields for a while but there’ll be little spark for those venturing to the track. (oges – “The Impaler” and Smiling Stevie should be in the market for Shane’s Jockey Challenge!)
Caulfield MR Quaddy considerations for habitués :-
MR5- 6,10, + take your pick
MR6- good race. Try 1,5,4. I want to back Speediness – why the 20/1 first up?
MR7- maybe 10, E/W 12, big query 5.
MR8- 2 and 3.
The real focus on Saturday must be on Rosehill where the Sydney Carnival hits top gear with a fantastic meeting – crowds failed to materialize for the excellent Warwick Farm “preludes” so it is now or never for the Autumn showcasing of clockwise classics. On a wonderful card there is a standout race – The Canterbury Stakes or, more specifically, the unexpected clash of Gai’s champions More Joyous and Pierro (SR8, G1, 1300m, WFA) – they are far from good things for the Quinella either, with Moment of Change the best credentialed of a host of genuine G1 challengers. Can’t wait.
The ATC card is littered with highlights so I’ll mention a few and expect comments on those and others.
The 2yr olds have their gender specific lead ups in Group 2 affairs over the Slipper course. The fillies’ division (SR2) is called the Moet and Chandon – is this the old Riesling Trial? Here we get to see two of the booms meet again – Villa Verde (1) landed an old fashioned plonk on debut at Caulfield and both it and the runner up, Overreach (2), have improved towards their April goal. This will be a fascinating battle but a 6 horse race is hardly match practice for the capacity skelter in a few weeks’ time. 1 from 2 again, though bookies have it clearly the other way around.
The boys meet in the Todman Stakes (MR4).They are not considered as strong a batch as the girls but, amongst an even field, G.A.Ryan’s Charlie Boy (5) is expected to stand up for Slipper promotion. 7 and 1 for minors.
A duo of Group Ones precede the Canterbury Stakes, kickstarting the NSW Quaddy which, disappointingly, closes with a modest Handicap.
The Ranvet Stakes (SR6, G1, 2000m, WFA) presents another opportunity for this 3yr old crop to show its superiority as VRC Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar (13) holds favouritism over perennial topline performer Silent Achiever (12), which is ridden by “hot” hoop James McDonald. For Manighar, Mawingo and others of the “older brigade” it is time to show a bit of form.
The Coolmore Classic (SR7, G1, 1500m, fillies and mares) is the “Myer” of the Sydney Carnival – a cracking collection of females over, in this case, a trip that tempts both dashers and potential stayers. As usual it is a really good, wide race. Box up Norzita (5), Dear Demi (6) and Flying Snitzel (11) – and be prepared to not land a placegetter!
There’s also the G2 Phar Lap and a Listed 3yo race amongst the “support” card – clearly one of the best days of the season. The ATC are pushing it as Ladies’ Day and they must be praying for a positive response from the fickle Sydney public.
Picnic crowds are more reliable, though the weather can, of course, impact on the day’s enjoyment. Regular contributor Glen is amongst a posse heading up Wagga way for the Ardlethan picnics http://www.coolamonshire.com.au/events/event-calendar/ardlethan-picnic-races.aspx
Get a start with R1 No4 – trial form against Dame Claire! Then tackle the bookies with in with Bayonet Charge in the Cup – another success for Bel Esprit’s stock!
Amongst a swag of alternatives – the Streaky Bay Cup(home of the McEvoys) on the cusp of the Bite, Cloncurry (Qld) in the Gulf Country, Pingrup (WA) south of Albany http://www.pingrup.crc.net.au/our-community/events/pingrup-races ,Canberra, Darwin, Casino etc. – I want to mention the QuarterHorse Cup races and festivities to be held in Birchip (VIC) on Saturday (http://www.birchipracingclub.com.au/). It is a unique form of racing and the community presents a full programme, culminating in the “Catch the Sun” evening music festival. It comes highly recommended and some tickets may still be available.
So, as usual, there’s a fantastic mix of options for those wanting to enjoy a racing fix… whether an “event” under the lights, a Classic Day at Rosehill or the plethora of alternatives calendared.
I’m looking forward to reading some tips and reviews on site. I also want to know which, if only given the choice of one, you’d like to attend – Moonee Valley Friday or Rosehill on Saturday? …both exciting options.
It promises to be a weekend to remember. Good luck!