Another landmark day dawns in Sydney with, to be honest, an obscene amount of prizemoney on offer, especially in the $4m QE2 (SR8, 2000m, WFA, G1) – it is hard not to surmise that the same mob would be running around if the stake was quartered! Similarly, the Queen Of The Turf (SR5, 1600m, F+M, WFA), terrific race that it is, has much the same field as we’ve enjoyed in recent weeks, this time with a $1m purse. Still I guess it would otherwise just be wasted on fashion and funk so we just hope that “The Championships” have a trickle down effect to boost an Industry which is struggling at grassroots.
The aim, I guess, was to make a big statement – and money is the most likely attention grabber in Sin City. The meeting itself has some great races as the traditional fixtures are once again rejigged. Easter Monday, once a huge Cup date in the diary, is now a modest Kensington meeting and Saturday’s listing includes:-
SR3- Royal Randwick Stakes (1200m, 2yoF, SWP, G3, $500k)
SR4- Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m,3yo, SW, G2, $500k)
SR5- Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m, F+M, WFA, $1m)
SR6- Australian Oaks (2400m, 3yoF, SW, G1, $1m) – amazed it’s not called the Empire Oaks!!
SR7- Sydney Cup (3200m, H’cap, G1, $1m)
SR8- Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m, WFA, G1, $4m)
Far from reaching to the masses, “Royal” Randwick is schmoozing the top end of town and clinging to its colonial roots. The big money on offer and the attendant Group status will warm the rich cockles of bloodstock magnates – from RacingNSW boss, Arrowfield’s John Messara, right across the Hunter Valley and other wealthy bastions of Thoroughbred breeding.
That notwithstanding, the races are good.
The QE has lost some of its anticipated quality because Fiorente has retired and Dundeel and Boban have been disappointing. The sloppy tracks have undoubtedly affected preparations and form but Silent Achiever has been wonderful and Carlton House served notice last start.
Despite my criticisms, I’d love to be up there but, instead, will have an alternatively excellent time at Oakbank.