Day 2 of the 2019 Championships saw the curtain close on the career of superstar mare Winx.
But there were three other Group 1’s up for grabs, two of which are of interest to our latest edition of the Melbourne Cup Watch Report.
2019 ATC Australian Oaks
There was a clear dominating favourite for this race; the ultra-talented filly Verry Elleegant, hot on the tote at $2 even.
She proved that she was equally adept on top of the ground as well as swimming through it, with an emphatic victory, also consolidating her staying credentials in the process.
One observation I noticed is her high head stance when galloping, reminding me of the Grey Flash Chautauqua in his prime.
The two placegetters Scarlet Dream and Frankely Awesome both added Group 1 credentials to their respective CV’s, the latter galloper handles the softer going more than the firm, it would seem.
So further clashes with Verry Elleegant look likely later in the year, as Spring beckons, with the W. S Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup on the radar.
Or maybe (slight curve ball), the rich Golden Eagle over 1500m at Rosehill in late October could be a potential target.
Only four-year old’s are valid entrants for that race, so whatever the case, the Waller camp and VE’s connections have a few decisions to make between now and then.
Whatever is the case, there is a seriously good crop of looming four year olds coming through the system.
2019 Sydney Cup
This year’s big two-mile feature was a story of seduction gone wrong, with all the professional pundits ending up with egg on their face.
I’m talking about the spectacular failure of British Godolphin galloper Dubhe.
He was the only horse blinkered pundits could see winning the race, and by a country mile it would seem.
Trainer Charlie Appleby needs to be packing more punch if he’s going to be sending horses down under to win these big cup races and steal them under the noses of the local Aussies and Kiwis.
All the talk leading into the race was Dubhe.
Never sighted in Australia beforehand, raced only 7 times, including a weak 2 mile field in Meydan.
The Godolphin seduction was in full swing, and oh how it went horribly wrong. Dud not Dubhe, I’d say.
To be fair, the race was a muddling pace, many of the jockeys quizzed after the race said their mounts pulled their way throughout, which didn’t help their chances when the heat went on.
Take nothing away from the three placegetters.
Shraaoh, Vengeur Masque and Glory Days all doing their best work at the end.
The Good 4 track and being on speed paid dividends for the first two, less so for Glory Days who was the only one emerging from the pack but she needed to be two lengths closer to the lead to be any chance of winning, because she did come from the back of the field as is her usual style.
While we’re on the subject of the Kiwi mare, her three year old stablemate Beyond The Fort is a staying star on the rise.
Second in the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks some weeks back, she stepped out on Saturday to win the Warstep Stakes (2000m) at Riccarton, Christchurch, NZ.
Trainer Bill Thurlow is considering a start for her in the SAJC Australasian Oaks in two week’s time.
The race was won by Sopressa last season.
There is also the possibility of a campaign in Queensland, depending on how his filly pulls up.
Watch this space.
Over in England, Melbourne Cup placegetter Marmelo returned to the winners circle winning a Group 3 event at Newbury over 1 mile, 4 furlongs (2400m) in an impressive come from behind win.
The early talk from trainer Hughie Morrison suggests another trip to Melbourne could be on the cards.
Form and weight considerations (as always) will be taken into account.
Somehow I don’t think he’ll be escaping the attention of the VRC Handicapper this year.
We will be covering all the European form from now until late summer, so expect to see a bevy of potential Melbourne candidates being highlighted in our future reports.
In the next few weeks, staying races will be taking a backseat in Australia, with South Australian Group 1’s being the next cab off the rank in two weeks time.
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.