What we’ve seen so far
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that Spring had sprung, and that Memsie Stakes day was enough for any racing enthusiast to be salivating about what was to come. Well last Saturday’s Makybe Diva Stakes day from Flemington delivered in spades. Memsie Stakes day was simply the pre-dinner canapés, Makybe Diva day has served the Entrée…just think what is to come for main course and dessert!
In my previous piece I outlined those that I felt would be major players this Spring. I am pleased to say that those previously highlighted have come to the fore and confidence levels of them delivering during the main course are high.
I named Royal Symphony as the bet of the Spring in the Caulfield Guineas, and after his first up win at Flemington it’s hard not to be even more confident about that. The ability of this horse to keep finding the line from a seemingly hopeless position around the home turn was that of a horse that is the next big thing. The stable continue to hint that they feel the same, without boasting too much. They have also indicated the horse has plenty of improvement to come. The only downside I can find is that he found trouble throughout the run yet again. You’d like him to have a trouble free run in the Guineas, but Caulfield has brought many a good horse undone. Going there for the Prelude next start I think will be a masterstroke to tune him up.
The Caulfield Cup picture has taken further shape since penning my last piece. Hartnell, who I confidently named as the winner has been beaten, and Bonneval who I named as a horse that was over the odds has been impressive first up and now tightened up to the right odds for the big race. The other big firmer has been Humidor.
I named Humidor as a Melbourne Cup horse. I still feel that is the case, as the scene of his two biggest wins, including the Makybe Diva have been Flemington. The other win coming in the Australian Cup in the Autumn. The horses issues of being a bit wayward have been well documented, and I feel the open spaces of Flemington give him the best chance to be on his best behaviour. There’s no doubt he is going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Caulfield Cup, but the first Tuesday in November is more the suitable race I feel. Hartnell, although beaten at odds-on by Humidor won’t be fully wound up yet, and is still a major player for the Caulfield Cup.
The Melbourne Cup has had the Lloyd Williams stamp put on it once again. I mentioned the stable would find it special to go back-to-back with Almandin, and his win in the Japan Racing Association Trophy was simply breathtaking. His sectional split between the 400m and the 200m was identical to Humidor in the much shorter Group 1 on the day. This is a serious stayer in a stable that wants to win one race only and that’s the Melbourne Cup. What will they use as the next lead up run? It could well be the Caulfield Cup, and he can definitely mix it with the aforementioned runners. I wouldn’t be surprised however to see them give him a Cox Plate run, which is a race that has proven to be a good lead up race for the Melbourne Cup in the past couple of decades.
Speaking of the Cox Plate – Winx took another step towards it with her win in the George Main. In my opinion, she’s a middle distance horse, with a brilliant enough sprint to beat the best from 1400m and over. They’re running her off her legs of late, but her ability to run faster for longer is getting the job done early in her campaign. When she steps to the 2000m off a slower tempo, we’ll see more effortless wins, and one of those will be The Cox Plate. If there’s a little rain around at the time that will enhance her chances even further, although the more cushioned Strathayr surface at the Valley will be further in her favour regardless
Keeping an eye on
The other run of note since my opening piece was that of Catchy in the Danehill Stakes. She beat the boys on this occasion showing what a class 3yo she is. In the same race, the other filly Booker put in another quality performance. The jury is now out as to whether Catchy runs in the Caulfield Guineas or the Thousand Guineas against her own sex on the same day. There’s a big difference in prizemoney, but also a big difference in opposition. If they send her to the Caulfield Guineas, it’s very likely she’s going to take on Royal Symphony. If they send her to the Thousand Guineas, she’s the superior filly and wins barring bad luck
Without Catchy, I think Booker can win the Thousand Guineas. A betting opportunity presents itself here to back both in the all-in market. If Catchy runs, I am sure she will start shorter the $4.60 currently available, if Catchy doesn’t run, you’ll lose your money there, but have a nice ticket on Booker at $10, who is sure to start shorter on race day without Catchy.
Just like I said last time, there is nothing quite like Spring racing. So far, it is going to script, but there’s always a surprise package to enter the picture at some stage. What will it be this year?