Golden Slipper, Wet Shoes
It was the Golden Slipper weekend and all the action was up at Rosehill, on what was another heavy track, rated a heavy 8.
Though the overhead conditions was clear, the state of the track looked deceiving good, but once horses run on it at speed, the track turns to glue as the jockeys soon found out.
Reading through all the weekend reports, the two key races from a Sydney and Melbourne Cup perspective – being the N.E Manion Cup and Ranvet Stakes, offered up some insight as we head toward future staying races coming up over The Championships at Royal Randwick in a few weeks time.
N.E Manion Cup
The Liam Howley trained Midterm won the Manion Cup (2400m) thanks to a perfect ride by Jamie Kah. All three placegetters (including Shraaoh and Big Duke) are entered for the Sydney Cup and feature high up in the prelim betting following the running of this race.
Meanwhile down in Melbourne, the Mornington Cup (2100m) for $350,000 and offering automatic qualification to the Caulfield Cup, could have seen some of the Manion Cup contenders line up, but you can only be in one place at the one time. However, you have to wonder how a race with a dangly carrot such as a Caulfield Cup nomination can draw a lesser quality field?
We spoke about former English galloper He’s Eminent in our last report, and I have to eat humble pie after a brave front running performance, only submitting to winner Avilius in the last few strides.
However, there were more questions raised than questions answered about the winner’s performance following his lack lustre run in the Australian Cup.
Does Avilius start in this weekends Tancred Stakes? Will he give Winx a run for her money in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes? Does he prefer the Sydney way of going or Melbourne? Has he now dispelled the notion that he is a genuine wet tracker? Can he get a true 3200m distance?
Surely He’s Eminent’s run was the training performance of the day, considering this was his first race since August last year. How he will fare in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes will make for journalism fodder in the weeks to come, competing with all the stories surrounding the Winx retirement.
Of the other horses, Danzdanzdance, Unforgotten and Nettoyer all had encouraging runs. The rest struggled in the heavy gluey going.
Up and coming stayer Sikandarabad did not finish the race, suffering cardiac arrhythmia. At some stage we will hear the latest about his health from the Hayes, Hayes and Dabernig camp. Hopefully he recovers in time for future assignments.
We’re not quite sure what the story was, but after two poor runs into his Autumn campaign, the plug has finally been pulled. Team Williams have decided to retire the 2016 Melbourne Cup winner after the weekends Ranvet Stakes, with a eye on the Sydney Cup deemed to be a touch too far. I wonder whether he will find a new home at Living Legends? Let’s hope so. Enjoy your retirement champ.
At his best there has been none better, fast and genuine with an attitude you simply can’t buy.
To his strapper @joel_flannery, a massive well done, never an easy horse but handled with care and passion.
— Liam Howley (@lhowls) March 24, 2019
Early Sydney Cup Betting
Ladbrokes have given us an advance look at the top contenders for the Sydney Cup, as per their All-In betting page.
Leading the list is the Charlie Appleby trained Dubhe, with recent Sydney winners Midterm and Red Cardinal also toward the top.
Group 1 winners also prominent include: Ace High, Hiyaam, Glory Days, Patrick Erin and Vin De Dance.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report. Keep checking back in with with us for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019.