Melbourne Spring Racing review By guest reviewer Todd Burmester

Some said the Spring Carnival this year would lack depth. I think those who said that would have to now admit they were incorrect. I say this due to the fact that pin pointing the exact highlight of the carnival is a difficult task. There were a number of excellent performances. The Spring Carnival began back in September but for the purpose of this review I thought I would pick things up from Caulfield Guineas day. The Guneas itself was certainly one of the highlights of the entire carnival in my opinion. Helmet set a cracking pace and managed to just hold on from another future star Manawanui. The interesting thing about this race was although these were clearly two star performances both horses lost what was as such their grand finals. Those two races being the Cox Plate for Helmet and the Victoria Derby for Manawanui. I’ll give you some advice however – don’t hold those defeats against either horse. Neither race was all that suitable and they both have bigger things ahead. On Caulfield Guineas day we were also treated to another chapter in the Black Caviar show whilst King Mufhasa chalked one up for the Kiwi’s in The Toorak. The week after The Guineas it was more first class racing as the Caulfield Cup took centre stage. It was the well weighted mare Southern Speed who got the money here after a nice run in transit. She had been consistent and deserved her win. She was not the only star on show this day however with Sepoy continuing the picket fence next to his name. In the Norman Robinson we saw more of what was to come with Sabrage and Sangster running the quinella. The later had his revenge in the one that counted by winning the Victoria Derby. As for what is ahead for Sepoy it looks like an international career which of course is a shame for Australian Racing in terms of watching our best horses locally. On Cox Plate Day some would say we saw a shock result with Pinker Pinker getting the money. And I am not going to profess to be a genius and say I backed her but I will put out a clear warning that anyone writing off her win as a fluke is simply a mug in my opinion. She had run second in the Epsom the start prior in case you need reminding. Also on this day Black Caviar continued on her winning way and one of the worlds best stayers, Americain treated his rivals with contempt in the Moonee Valley Cup. Manawanui also toyed with the field in The Vase, cementing his place as a short priced favourite for The Derby. As mentioned earlier when the Derby rolled around the punters were happy to be on Manawanui but the task proved beyond him on this day. Sangster got the money. A warning I throw out time and time again however is to take the three year old classic form with a grain of salt. Very rarely it seems are the victorious ones in the spoils the following year in the big league. Sepoy registered another win for himself on Derby day whilst there were a trio of horses that I believe can be followed in future that won on this day also. I speak of Glass Harmonium, Hurtle Myrtle and Sister Madly. All are slightly under rated in my opinion. Derby Day signals that we are into the big week of racing and Cup Day was next. As horses fell by the way side at an alarming rate prior to The Cup I began to be a little disappointed this year, but I must say, the main event did not disappoint. Dunaden staged a great run to just get the bob in on the line and anyone who didn’t get a kick out of that photo finish isn’t a true racing fan. He’ll now try to do what Americain was unable to do and that is win back to back Cups. A middle distance horse with a lot of up side won on Cup Day and I speak of Lamasery. Barring some small niggling injuries he may have been in the main event and it will pay to follow him. Also winning on Cup Day and fitting the category of horses to be followed was Combat Kitty. The Oaks for the girls was run on the Thursday and as impressive as Mosheen was I again urge you to be careful following the three year old classic form. On the final day of the main part of the carnival Black Caviar again strutted her stuff in the Patinack Farm Classic. She is simply unbeatable as a sprinter in Australia and I am looking forward to the possibility of her stepping out over 1400m to see if she can maintain the brilliance. Albert The Fat got a narrow victory in the Emirates Stakes which proved a point to me. His trainer Chris Waller truly is a genius. This horse was not a Group 1 horse in my mind when he was racing in Brisbane and here is he collecting the cash in a Group 1 race in the most competitive carnival in the land. A great training effort. So there we have it that was the carnival in review. A disappointment? I think not. Keep an eye on some of the “second level” horses that I have mentioned that look to be on the way up – they may take the next step in The Autumn