Winter officially kicked off in Australia the other day (June 1st), which means we are deep into long distance hurdles and steeplechases in Victoria while Group racing is tailing off in Queensland with two meetings to go before the 2018/2019 season concludes.
The weekend just gone saw some interesting results, including the defeat of Japanese wonder-mare Almond Eye and the English Derby victor with a link to both Australia and New Zealand.
Let’s start with results from Queensland last Saturday, and look at two two cups contenders who also ran down in Sydney and Melbourne.
Probably the most famous horse to have won this race was four years ago when Winx used it as a springboard to commence her run of wins in succession until her recent retirement two months ago.
Youngstar, also a decent filly from the Chris Waller stable won it last year, but hasn’t really been sighted since her run in last years Melbourne Cup.
The victorious filly this time around was the 21/1 outsider Winning Ways, with two further outsiders Dawson Diva and Lady Cuvee stacking the trifecta to a mammoth A$183,652 on the local TAB! Well done to you if you had a piece of that!
The back-story to Winning Ways‘s victory also has a lot of upside but also a tinge of sadness.
The filly carried the same colours as the top galloper Starcraft from a few years ago, while owner Paul Makin only passed away two weeks ago, so would’ve been watching the race from the clouds, literally, with a joyous smile on his face no doubt
Unfortunately, Winning Ways was struck down by a bleeding attack after the race, and now has a mandatory three month stand down.
Trainer Garry Newnham reckons she could be a decent Caulfield Cup chance in the spring, but because of her bleeding, and the fact she is very well bred (out of a Galileo mare), her future might be confined to the broodmare’s paddock sooner rather than later.
Hush Writer and Beau Balmanin
The Waterhouse/Bott trained Hush Writer has had an unusual start to his racing career.
Japanese bred, early racing in France, returned to Australia, aimed at a Cups campaign last year, but was withdrawn after some unconvincing displays.
He raced fresh up after 6 months to win the W.J McKell Cup (2400m) at Rosehill last Saturday. That’s a training feat you don’t see too often, unless you’re a Japanese trainer.
Still, I’m not entirely convinced about the horse overall, plus the field wasn’t the greatest assembled for a 2400m race in Australia.
— TAB (@tabcomau) June 1, 2019
Next, we mention former German galloper Beau Balmain who is now in Australia under the care of trainer Jim Conlan who is based out of a South-East Melbourne stable down at Mt Eliza.
It was his first race in six months, and he came in third over 2000m in the last race on the card at Caulfield. He’s a grey four-year-old stallion, and at only his fifth start, it was an encouraging run, and he’s certainly one to put in your black book for the future.
— Racing.com (@Racing) June 1, 2019
Defeat for Almond Eye
It was a return to racing in her local territory, but things did not go well for the super mare on the weekend, defeated in the Yasuda Kinen (1600m) in Tokyo, for which the barrier start had much to do with the result.
In the video below, you can see the head-on footage where the horse in barrier 16 (Logi Cry) was the chief culprit, interfering with horses in barriers 15, 14, 13 and 12.
Almond Eye was in 14.
Yutaka Take given a one meeting suspension and the horse, LOGI CRY ordered to test in front of stewards before racing again after the start incident in the Yasuda Kinen.pic.twitter.com/8fEBbJ4jwI
— G for Gone (@LongBallToNoOne) June 2, 2019
I wouldn’t take the result as a shock, the 1600m is not really her go, plus she did come from a long way back to only get defeated by a nose hair to eventual winner Indy Champ.
She has much more challenging races ahead of her.
INDY CHAMP WINS G1 YASUDA KINEN 🇯🇵
— World Horse Racing (@WHR) June 2, 2019
All the action at Epsom Downs
In our last report we previewed the Investec English Derby, and the prominent horse we featured was in fact the horse that won.
Irish trainer Aidan O’brien saddled up seven runners in the event, with third choice runner Anthony Van Dyck getting up on the inside rail to prevail over Madhmoon with another O’Brien galloper Japan rallying for third.
O’Brien has made no secret of the fact that he considers the English Derby the premier race on the British racing calendar, and he’s now won it a staggering seven times!
The three-year-olds have a wealth of other prizes to race for in the coming weeks, so we’ll keep an eye out for those.
Off the record, there have been many horses that have run in the Derby and then ventured out to Australia.
In recent times, we’ve seen U.S Army Ranger, Eminent, Red Verdon, Benbatl, Rekindling, Best Solution, the ill-fated Cliffs Of Moher and Idaho, though the latter was injured and missed the 2018 spring season upon arrival and while undergoing quarantine at Werribee.
This is why this feature race now has a significant tie-in to the Victorian spring racing calendar.
Back to Anthony Van Dyck, it’s obvious his staying credentials come from his sire Galileo, while his dam Believe’N’Succeed won the 2008 Blue Diamond Prelude for Fillies when she was based in Australia as a juvenile.
She was a $300,000 yearling at the 2007 Magic Millions Premier Gold Coast Sale. Anthony Van Dyck‘s half sister is former top sprinter Bounding.
Our last report we also mentioned the Epsom Investec Coronation Cup, raced on the Friday eve of the Derby. Run over 2400m, the race was taken out by a relative outsider in Defoe (at 11/1), who got up on the inside to defeat Kew Gardens with Salouen a gallant third after being handy throughout the run.
All of the high profile Australian action takes place at Eagle Farm this weekend, with the running of three Group 1 races: the Queensland Derby (2400m), Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), J.J Atkins Stakes for two-year-olds (1600m), plus the Group 2 Brisbane Cup (2400m).
Looking at the nominations thus far, I’m not convinced that these are the strongest fields you’ll ever see assembled for a Saturday’s worth of Group 1 Racing action.
As per the Queensland weather, we’ll have to see what Brisbane dishes up on Saturday, but hopefully it will be a decent day.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
Keep checking in with Kruzey.com.au for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019