It is hard to believe that it has already been one year since we experienced one of the great days of racing. Guineas Day in 2017 brought us three winners at Caulfield – Aloisia in the Thousand Guineas, Gailo Chop in the Caulfield Stakes and Lord Fandango in the Herbert Power Stakes. Great memories, and if we can have half the luck this time around, we will be more than satisfied.
Our anniversary weekend of racing kicks off in the wee hours of Saturday morning, with three runners in Europe. Mr Satchmo is running in a Listed race over 1800m for Antoine de Watrigant at Chantilly, France. Despite the small field, this race looks to be highly competitive with multiple horses having travelled from the UK to contest the race. Mr Satchmo has drawn barrier 5 of 6 and will relish the conditions.
Next up at Newmarket, England is Artarmon. Up against a quality field for the Newmarket Rowley Cup (Handicap), the race offers just over AUD $140,000 to the winner. Trainer Michael Bell is very pleased with the horse’s efforts this campaign, having won 4 of his last 5 races. With race fitness on his side, Artarmon looks to be a very competitive chance.
Completing the line-up of runners is Decoration of War, who is set to run at Wolverhampton, England. He will jump from barrier 10 of 13 at 6:45am (AEDT). After his recent win at the same track, and last start second placing, he is likely to lead out the field as favourite in the race for Newmarket-based trainer Ilka Gansera-Leveque.
To Saturday, and a big day of racing at Caulfield. We begin with Fastnet Tempest in the Listed Weekend Hussler Stakes. He jumps from barrier 2 of 10 for the Hayes and Dabernig training team in a red-hot field. Looking to replicate his Caulfield winning form, Fastnet Tempest is out to make an impression and this race looks set to provide an interesting finish.
Running in the Gerry Harvey colours for one race only is Redwood gelding Night’s Watch in the G1 Caulfield Stakes for trainer Darren Weir. In peak form, he poses a considerable threat to the field having won 3 of his last 5 starts. A key member of the Weir trackwork team, Ben Allen recently galloped Night’s Watch and believes that he has come in a better horse this time around and is really starting to put things together.
After an impressive flying finish for a 2nd last start at Moonee Valley, Gallic Chieftain is set to do the same again in the G2 Herbert Power Stakes. Jumping from barrier 8 of 15 with Damian Lane on board for team Weir, the son of Tamayuz will relish in the added distance.
Joining him in the race is Lord Fandango for trainer Archie Alexander and jockey Ben Allen. Last year’s Herbert Power winner, Lord Fandango lumped 60kg to put in a solid effort for third in the Benalla Cup last start. With the increase in distance and drop in weight, we should see a strong finish.
To Randwick in New South Wales, Manangatang makes his return to the racetrack in the 1400m Highway Handicap. Previously becoming difficult in the barriers on race day, he has undertaken further education, making a positive turn around. Jumping from barrier 16 of 20 with James Innes aboard, we are hoping to see him jump well and find a decent position in the race.
To Hamilton in country Victoria, we have Master Zephyr contesting their feature race of the day, the Hamilton Cup run over 2200m. Having bounced back well from his Mornington run, the Weir stable is pleased with his progress and hope that he can work to find a decent position after jumping from the widest barrier in a field of 11.
In country New South Wales, we have Seven Falls running at Kembla Grange looking to kick off his Australian racing career. Also drawn out wide, trainer Bjorn Baker is hoping to see the last start trial winner replicate his recent form and motor home in the 1400m maiden gallopers. It is possible that Seven Falls could be held back to Monday at Orange, where he has also accepted.
Moving to Sunday and the Cranbourne Cup meeting, where two runners will line up for the Busuttin stable – namely Roc de Khaper and Angelic Spirit.
Roc de Khaper lines up in race 2, the 1400m maiden. Having had no luck from the wide gate last start, he again looks to have his work cut out from him jumping from the furthest gate.
Angelic Spirit runs in a competitive Fillies and Mares BM70 race over 1400m. Another wide barrier drawn, so Busuttin expects jockey Michael Walker to roll forward and find a good position in the race. Having plenty of gate speed and the layout of the Cranbourne track, this race tactic should suit her well.
Rounding out the day we have New Zealand bred stayer Vin de Dance in the Listed 2025m Cranbourne Cup. Jumping from barrier 3 in a field of 11 for the Forsman and Baker training team, Jordan Childs is aboard and the horse looks set to run a solid race after his first up performance at Caulfield.
Good luck to all of our co-owners over the weekend as we look forward to another successful few days.