As Australia settles into the grip of winter, we turn our attention mostly to the action over in the UK, Ireland and Europe.
Battle lines are drawn
However, before we do that, we must throw our coins into the hat, and have our say about what is going on between Racing New South Wales and Racing Victoria, and the very public spat that is now developing.
The first comment we will make is about the state of horse racing in Australia right across the board.
Both entities have said that they are accommodating their new schedules while keeping Australian horse racing in a harmonious state.
This is obviously untrue as the overall national status is far from harmonious.
It is clear that both entities are not working in the national interests of Australian horse racing; the net result being a case of cannibalisation, which effects many levels of the industry.
We won’t pick a side, both are equally at fault for the decisions that have been made.
The major issue as we see it is that Racing New South Wales have decided to overlap the Melbourne Spring Carnival with a series of new races, and potentially undermine VRC’s Cup week.
Racing Victoria have only added the All Star Mile to their revised schedule which wasn’t going to impact Sydney’s Autumn Carnival anyway.
It is obvious that NSW are going on the offensive by introducing a whole raft of race day changes.
Both to their metro meetings as well as some regional meetings like Kembla Grange, and are heading into the month of November to achieve this.
If there is that much cash being offered up then why don’t they run a 5 million dollar stayers race on Melbourne Cup day just for the fun of it?
We reckon the punters and everyday horse racing fans will be the losers and rich horse breeders, owners and trainers will be the winners.
A great way to isolate and polarise the industry.
Increased prize money
Overseas connections will be whooping for joy after hearing that the VRC have raised the Melbourne Cup prize money to 8 million dollars.
Considering it’s now a mostly international rice, very few local horses will get the opportunity to run in it as they will be too far down the order of entry/ballot.
Therefore the likelihood of prize money staying in Australia or New Zealand looks very remote.
Though it might seem all glam and pomp with all this extra cash being thrown around, the undercurrent to this stoush looks set to linger for some time yet.
What’s happening overseas?
As mentioned in our last report, it’s all go at Royal Ascot this coming week, with race days being held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Our interest centres on the third day with the running of the 4000m Royal Ascot Coronation Cup.
A field of thirteen will line up for the judge, with top gallopers from the stables of Aidan O’Brien, John Gosden and Charlie Appleby preparing to eyeball each other.
The likely favourite is expected to be Stradivarius who won this race last year, but strong challenges are expected from the likes of Cross Counter, Capri, Kew Gardens, Magic Circle, Dee Ex Bee and Southern France.
Another Cups contender: Gold Mount
The weekend before Royal Ascot saw racing action at York.
A race that was of interest to us was the 2200m To The Ebor Grand Cup Stakes (listed) won by former Hong Kong middle distance galloper Gold Mount.
Now in the care of Ian Williams (also the trainer of Magic Circle), the horse is being set for the Melbourne Cup, and may yet improve his chances by winning the Ebor Handicap in August.
That race has proved to be an excellent form guide toward Melbourne if past years results are anything to go by.
🏆He used to be Primitivo and now he’s 14/1 for the @SkyBet Ebor
— Sporting Life (@SportingLife) June 15, 2019
Old campaigners life after dual Group 1 wins
In our report last week we mentioned 2016 Sydney Cup winner Gallante, in relation to the passing of rival Libran.
The former Lloyd Williams stayer, now a rising 8 year old, was sold to Kiwi trainer Graeme Rogerson, and is now an accomplished hurdler over in the Shakey Isles, winning a 2900m hurdle race on the weekend on a very wet track at Awapuni (Palmerston North).
Combining his love for jumping and his unquestionable flat racing ability (winner of two Group 1 races), the result was never in doubt.
I wonder if a return visit to Australia at the end of the year to run in the Jericho Cup is a possibility?
— TAB Racing (@TAB_Racing) June 15, 2019
10 years old and still winning
Destiny’s Kiss, winner of the listed 2400m Winter Cup at Rosehill on the weekend was another elder statesman to pick up the chocolates.
The rising 11 year old dispatched a decent field but only just, as he just got his head in front of Yogi and Mazaz on the finish line.
Other more fancied horses such as the Melbourne Cup contender Hush Writer, High Bridge and Kiwi stayer Our Big Mike were out of the money.
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) June 15, 2019
Trainer Joe Pride was asked if the horse might return to defend his crown as a rising 12 year old. Pride said, “He will be here next year for sure. He’s a long way from being retired.”
Horse profile of the week
This week, the spotlight falls on Torcedor, who has both Australian and New Zealand connections.
His sire is Fastnet Rock, an accomplished sprinter in his time in Australia, while he was bought as a yearling in France by Te Akau Stud’s David Ellis and then sent to Ireland to be trained.
He was subsequently sold in 2018 to Australian Bloodstock, and sent to Germany to be trained by Andreas Wohler, who won the 2014 Melbourne Cup with Protectionist.
Torcedor was due to travel down under for last year’s Cup but health issues scuppered his chances.
He was expected to be a top chance, especially after he ran close up placings to Stradivarius on two occasions in Group 1 company.
A multiple Group 3 winner, he hasn’t raced for awhile so we’ll be tracking his form over the next few weeks.
Despite the breeding, Torcedor has excelled over longer distances, and is pencilled in for the Melbourne spring carnival.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
Keep checking in with KRUZEY for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019