Right Royal Racing

It’s been a Right Royal Week wherever you look – even in the racing columns!
Appropriately, then, I’ll follow the theme and look at Triple Crowns, at our Queen of Turf heading to The Diamond Jubilee Stakes and finally at Queensland’s best race day of the year, the Straddy/Derby/Cup extravaganza.
The fabled AmericanTriple Crown deserves world racing’s focus this weekend as I’ll Have Another, an unfashionably bred $11,000 yearling sale, heads to the longest dirt track race, the 1 1/2 mile Belmont Stakes, for a date with US racing immortality. A warning though – getting to this stage is hardly unusual, but the final step is, as they’d say, a doosy! Affirmed in 1978 is the last one on the honour roll. (“hoofnote”: …this race is in Saratoga for those who remember the lyrics of “You’re So Vain”).
Is there such a Holy Grail here in Australia? Sydney would claim that, just this year, Gai’s wonderful colt, Pierro, swept the Blue Riband juvenile riches. For three year olds, the AJC Derby is the jewel and thus it has been the endpoint of various versions of a Triple Crown, these days comprising the Randwick (1600m) and Rosehill (2000m) Guineas as the pathways to the big mile and a half Derby finale. It’s a big ask – the mighty Octagonal (1996) was the last horse to achieve this feat. Maybe RVL could look at the Gr1 challenges of the Caulfield Guineas, the Vase at the Valley and the The Derby at Flemington? But it is not the same.
A lesser publicized, certainly rarely remitted, Triple Crown is also alive in England after Camelot’s authoritative Epsom Derby triumph followed an equally impressive 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. The St Leger (not run until September) is the final leg of a treble not achieved since the famous Nijinsky (1970).
For more on Triple Crowns read here.
Australia’s racing (and, indeed, mainstream) media won’t be waiting until then to acclaim a champ in Britain – our own “royalty”, the undefeated Black Caviar, steps on to the world stage (and live on Fed Sq’s big screen!) in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on June 23. In a blaze of publicity, reminiscent of Ashes tourists of old, she leaves this week. Her progress, no doubt, will be keenly followed here and elsewhere. Pleasingly it should increase the local focus on the wonderful Ascot and Newmarket Carnivals and thus be “good for racing”.
As Ma’am would expect during her Jubilee week, Australia’s pre-eminent meeting this Saturday is in Queensland. This is always a fantastic card, featuring the Stradbroke Handicap, with the G1 T.J. Smith, G1 Queensland Derby and the G2 Brisbane Cup (2400m!) completing the Quaddy legs.
The “TJ” (BR5) lacks glamour this year and Sizzling (1) will go around in the red.
1,2,4 (Zabeelionaire, Brambles, Vatuvei) look the obvious options in the Derby.
The Straddy is always a good race but a lot of these have been around a few times. The interest, of course, is in Sea Siren’s bid to set a weight record for a filly. She’s bloody good and has a good gate.
The Brissie Cup is nowadays a G2 2400m Handicap and largely inconsequential. This is a pretty good field and Mawingo and Lights Of Heaven should fight it out.
Watching the action from Eagle Farm will be the main interest for me at Flemington, where the cold weather and a long weekend will keep the crowd numbers down.
I’ll probably drift off to my “Wish I was” game again, especially as several of my usual banter buddies will be away at the Swan Hill Carnival, which they rate very highly. It’s one of the few remaining “3 dayers” and the nicer daytime temps have some rating it up near the ‘Bool! Tony Vasil has launched the decorated careers of Elvstroem and Haradasun up on the Murray Down and this is more than just an average country meeting. Many enthusiasts head up for golf on Thursday before the big Golden Topaz card on Friday. Doug Harrison’s It’s Crunch time looked the one to beat in the main sprint – now scratched so maybe box 1,4,5. The Cup is on Sunday.
Reality, though, has me back at HQ. If you want to come down I’d recommend looking for an upgrade to enjoy the warmth and comfort of the Members’ facilities…there are reciprocities and guest passes quite easily obtained during the winter months.
And the racing looks like being pretty good also.
The first Leg of the Quaddy (MR5) is the Listed A.R. Creswick Stakes, the day’s highlight. Zamorar (1) is highly rated and has given punters palpitations. I’m looking forward to seeing Lady Melksham (9) step up to this class and underline the quality she’s shown in lower grades, most recently in her emphatic Sandown victory last week. Be brave. One out the 9.
In the last of the Winter Champ Heats (MR6) the main fancies, Chosen To Fly and Any Dream Will Do, have drawn very wide. This, as has been documented, is tough at the 1400m. Look at speed charts and find an on pacer you like – I’ll have a sneaky saver on 15.
The 2000m race (MR7) is your Field leg and then come home on Darren Weir’s Hurdy Gurdy Man (MR8,No7) in the last.
It’ll be a low key day at HQ but our “world game” is still very much in the spotlight. It never really stops. Brissie, The Belmont and Black Caviar should be enough to keep ardent fans fascinated.
Any comments or tips are, as always, welcomed.


  1. Skip of Skipton says

    The Belmont Stakes is run at Belmont Park on the outskirts of NYC. Saratoga is a famous summertime track in upstate New York.

  2. Swan Hill must be something special as Yendall has opted to ride there for the three days of the “Carnival”
    Interesting to note a lot of Vic trainers are now bringing horses and Vic jockeys to Adelaide and their strike rate isnt too bad
    An interesting fact I dug up during the week is that there are more racecources in NSW (ok some are once a year meetings) than the whole of the USA (says something about Oz eh?)

  3. Peter Flynn says


    Belmont Park is situated on Long Island. You can drive past it coming in from JFK .

    Saratoga is in regional NY state.

    Aqueduct is near JFK.



  4. One goat boys! Thanks for the heads up! Now, what about finding some winners?

  5. Skip of Skipton says

    Cool song with lyrics that gave much conjecture, crio. I’d say that the horse winning at Saratoga, flying the Lear Jet to Nova Scotia for the eclipse, the apricot scarf, and the wife of a close friend is ample information to identify a specific individual; so it’s obviously a composite of characters.

  6. The demise of Sam Stosur last night, had me thinking of her as Let’s Elope in Volleys. Both were impressive physical specimens with all the attributes to be great champions. When I read this morning about Stosur’s 49 unforced errors and how she struggled on a heavy track and windy day at Roland Garros, I thought of Bart’s mare. She was a bleeder who wouldn’t go a yard in the wet. Both ended up in the US (Stosur won there, not sure about the mare). Maybe we should try Sam on lasix.

  7. She’d be more of a front runner than Bart’s bonny mare.
    Pressure gets to her.
    Struggles at home. Unbeatable when winning the first set. But big problems after any setback.
    Best Bets might comment with, “Avoid”

  8. Skip of Skipton says

    A 300k purse and Group 2 status for the Brisbane Cup vs. 500k and Group 1 for the two-year old race.

  9. Crio,

    Still early, but I am always on the lookout for a Kiwi in Qld at this time of year. 1st Emergency in the Stradbroke has some credentials at a Brazillion to one. Good form over 1400 to 1800 metres behind the likes of Veyron and Shez Sinsational. John wheeler is a crafty old bugger and not just a trainer of jumpers. I can read Sundays copy now about Rough Habit.

    Funny story. I was going through its form and noticed it won a race at Otaki in Nov last year. 2nd was BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN and 3rd was BASES LOADED. Now there was a quinella for the slim hipped and neat.

  10. That is very funny….even lol!
    Mantal declared.
    Is the track good in Qld?

  11. Skip of Skipton says

    Phelan Ready is still leaping off the page at me. The outside gate and extra 50 metres will suit. A double into old Scenic Shot for around 200/1; sweet.

  12. I see that Moonee Valley is still not ready to resume racing…June 16 now Flemington and June 30 at Caulfield. We’re being weaned off!

  13. Skip of Skipton says

    What’s the ‘weaned off’ conspiracy theory regarding the Valley, crio? Fill us in if you can.

  14. Just being silly Skip. Everyone knows how much developers want to grab the land and I sometimes reckon the “plans” are so poor to be rejected…blah, blah…I need to believe in the goodness of human nature. Don’t start me on jockeys!
    Winners please.

  15. Skip of Skipton says

    That’s OK. What I thought anyway. There is $1.30 fixed odds for Black Caviar on offer. I’ll Have Another is touching the red, which is fair enough, but Bodemeister the dual runner-up and pacesetter is not competing. That changes the dynamics somewhat.

  16. David Downer says

    Boys, I’ll Have Another has been scratched from the Belmont and retired immediately.

    Succumbed to some sort of injury in track-work. Doesn’t appear overly serious but they are “doing the right thing” by the horse.

    I wish I was joking. What a shame.

    More bizarrely I read they are still having him lead the field out.


  17. Thanks for that Dave. What a shame!

    Slow 6 at Brisbane. Slow horses here.

  18. Oges, a double to your boy Yendall at Swan Hill yesterday. Also a treble to J.Mott, including the obligatory A.J.Vasil 2y.o.plunge winner of the Elvstroem Classic! Note too that the Wildes had another winner at odds…the ‘Bool trainers are on fire still, with Matty Williams having another victor.

  19. Im on his mounts today at Swan Hill today Crio and having a look at Gordon Yorkes at the Gold Coast
    Too hard in Brissy Melbourne and Adelaide
    By the way wheres Budge? Gone to Ascot?

  20. Nah I’m here. Finding it difficult to get too enthused but leaning towards Skip’s tip for Phelan Ready though he “doesn’t win out of turn”. Given that he is at the right odds to have a crack.

  21. Ive missed your imput as you always are near the mark or give me something to think about

  22. Missed your imput of late . You picks give me food for thought.

  23. Skip of Skipton says

    Terrible news. I was getting excited about the Triple Crown going off. I was going to buy Monday’s Australian to put it in the scrap-book. The Colliwobbles didn’t last this long. Barack Obama was in High School in 1978.

  24. Treble to the “on fire” Nick Hall at an empty Flemington today.

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