Racing around the world, and at Doomben and Caulfield

Saturday 28 May and beyond

After Rocket Man annihilated all-comers  in the Group One KrisFlyer in Singapore on Sunday night, his supporters claimed the mantle of “World’s Best Sprinter”. It is not an idle boast as this remarkable horse has dominated the top tier in Dubai, Hong Kong and now in the Far East.

Racing is a global industry, and Black Caviar might have to do more than accrue good ratings to be able to sit comfortably (on her imposing rump) on an Aussie-hyped throne. The VRC are hoping to cash in on this by increasing the allure of the Patinack Farm Classic (1200m, Derby Day) with the potential for it to be the richest sprint in the world – a strong $AUS supports the $1m. prizemoney and a $600K bonus is there for champs like Rocket Man, J.J The Jet Plane (2010 HK International Sprint), Hong Kong trained Ultra Fantasy (2010 Japan Sprinters Stakes), and Japanese trained Kinshasa no Kiseki,( Takamatsunomiya Kinen), as well as exemptions for Ascot and other victors in the northern season. As Brucie would gush, it is a delicious prospect.

For John McNair, trainer of Hay List, Black Caviar’s spell is a delicious prospect and the giant who has been so gallant of late has been backed in to a remarkably short $1.35 for the Doomben 10,000. No one could begrudge Haylist this Group One but I always worry about taking shorts on a horse that has been stretched so fully. He does, though, look to be worthy of a clear space of his own above the other very good dashers around – in honesty, he’d probably go to Ascot and tow them down the straight.

The Doomben support races are pretty good. There’s been a really sustained push for The Hombre (R6, No9) in the Premier’s Cup and Fillydelphia (R5, No14) is all the rage in the Grand Prix. Track conditions, though, still seem to be a matter of some contention.

No such issue here in Melbourne where it is wet, but Caulfield handles it well and should present a genuine Slow track. The first leg of the Quaddy (R5, 1000m) is the pick of the card. I am watching flucs on Magical Pearl (2) from the sometimes exceptional O’Leary stable and respecting Sheedy (8) for its fresh and soft record. Both are big odds.

For the other legs I’ll suggest (with no conviction) 2 / 2,4,9 / 4.

But for those who really love thoroughbred racing, it is the European features that will soon whet the appetite and nowadays the coverage is exceptional. Extra interest will be generated not only by contestants for the sprinting crown, but also by the galaxy of other stars – in what looks a vintage year –and the performances of Horse of the Year aspirant (just!) So You Think. His romp in a Gr1 earlier this week was unexceptional. Bart, still surly from losing the champ, said he’d not bothered to set the alarm to watch such a modest race and, amongst a raft of criticism of the UK Racing scene, retorted when asked how the dual Cox Plate winner looked, Cummings was succinct. “Not as good as he did here.”

We are enjoying a prime time for Australian racehorses and our understanding of the International industry.

Stay tuned.

And good luck this weekend.

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