Day Two of The Championships was the focus point for racing on Saturday, but really, it was all about Winx and Chris Waller. All that and more in this weeks edition of ‘The Good, The Bad and The Ugly’.
Thank You Winx
A packed out Randwick went to the track on Saturday to farewell the champion mare Winx, who won her third Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in dominant fashion under Hugh Bowman, beating Japanese raider Kluger by 1.5L. The mare won her 33rd straight race on the bounce, her 25th Group l and ended her career with 37 wins, the same number as Phar Lap. Bless her.
Verry Elleegant Confirms Superiority
With Winx off the scene, who is the heir apparent? Some are in the corner of Mystic Journey. But Verry Elleegant is certainly not one to be dismissed in that discussion. She was stunning in the ATC Oaks, seeing out the 2400m strongly and her class coming to the fore when it counted, winning like a horse destined for better things. Both Chris Waller and James McDonald stated that the best is yet to come.
Waller Raises The Bat
It was a special day for Chris Waller and Winx, not because it was her farewell and another feature win, but it was indeed Chris Waller’s 100th Group l win, with 25 of those coming courtesy of the great mare. But the day didn’t stop there for the champion trainer as made it 101 in the Sydney Cup via import Shraaoh, who is now heading towards the Melbourne Cup and would be a live chance with natural improvement.
PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK:
Forgive a good horse for one defeat…nope I didn’t do that with Classique Legend and he showed what a star he is with a dominant win, beating up some of the best three year old sprinters in Australia/NZ with absolute ease, running 33.57 for his final 600m and that stride of his is just something else. Thankfully some cold water has been poured on him going to Honkers immediately because this is only his first prep and surely there’s natural improvement to come. If that’s the case and he does indeed improve, he could easily measure up in either the Everest or Golden Eagle, or both.
DEBUT OF THE WEEK:
Devil’s Temptation debuted without a public trial (Yes, it’s 1974 we are in), but those in the know certainly let the public know what they thought as she was backed into $8.50 after being near $20 earlier in the week, and she justified that confidence with a commanding all the way win thanks to brilliant gate speed. Tony Sears said post race that the horse had four jumpouts and last week worked well with his above average three year old Rock Beat.
RIDE OF THE WEEK:
Gee it was a sweet steer from Jay Ford on Shraaoh in the Sydney Cup. This horse can get a bit further back in the run but Ford used the gate to have him closer in the run and that was the difference between winning and losing, as well as saving ground nearer the inside and poking through needle eye gaps instead of coming wide. That was his first Group l win since Monaco Consul in 2009 and hopefully it won’t take as long for his next one.
SLAUGHTER OF THE WEEK:
There were a couple of ordinary steers at Caulfield, including Luke Nolen on Hightail and Jordan Childs on Saccharo, but Lachie King on Leiter gets the nod. I’m not sure who made the decision to restrain the horse but that just didn’t work. He was allowed to let stride in the jumpout on Monday, the debut win back in November…why take away the best asset the horse has, sustained speed? Got close regardless and will be winning shortly.
HORSES TO FOLLOW:
Napoleon Solo – Follow him as he heads towards the Queensland Derby
Lean Mean Machine – Think he wants further now, maybe the Hawkesbury Guineas for him?
Invincibella/Zumbelina – Pair of Waller mares totally unsuited in the Sapphire but both were ticks heading towards Brisbane
Temple Of Bel – She wants a mile and possibly Flemington, and that could well be the case on Anzac Day
Steel Prince – Not sure where they head with this horse, whether its Wagga Cup, Warrnambool Cup or 2500m on Anzac Day. I think he’ll win wherever he goes
Tarwin – Interesting to see if he goes down the Chairmans/Derby path in SA, go through his grades or potentially head to Queensland. Either way, an exciting prospect
Leiter – Tactics beat him yesterday. Butter up and you’ll be collecting
Liapari – He’s ready to win now. Just beaten by a better horse but can win with the right placement
Gold Ambition – Just a run short at Eagle Farm yesterday. If placed right, he looks a coming winner
ONE MORE CHANCE:
Spright…I say, everyone says, she’s a Group l winner in waiting…is she though? She gives herself very little chance with her racing pattern and everything needs to fall into place for her. Best last 600m of the day clearly, but that’s easily done when flopping out the back. Sangster does look her race…but gee she needs to show some form of early toe. Invincibella and Zumbelina were okay from a Brisbane Carnival perspective.
NEVER EVER AGAIN:
Eduardo (This Prep) – Think it’s been underestimated how much that Oakleigh Plate run took out of him. I couldn’t touch him this prep. IMO he needs a good long spell
Steel Frost – Had the race run to suit on speed at Morphettville but didn’t find much when asked and beaten comfortably by a horse who was still eligible for benchmark racing
La Bella Diosa – Hasn’t fired a shot in a while. She’s a fresh horse only. Even then, she struggles to win