It’s been a few weeks since our last report, but things are starting to ramp up again.
Particularly over in the UK and Europe where the main races of the early summer season kicks off, starting with the Investec English Derby, which is not too far away.
2019 Tenno Sho
However, first off we are going to Japan, and recap the result of the 2019 Tenno Sho (Emperors Cup), a 3200m event raced back on April 28th in Kyoto.
In the past few years, this race has proven to be a useful guide in terms of the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Horses such as the ill-fated Admire Rahkti and last years dual Cups contender Chestnut Coat came out of the Tenno Sho’s formline.
In fact, Chestnut Coat lined up in this years edition once again.
This time around, the winner was Fierement (last years Japanese St Leger winner) ridden by Christopher Lemaire, who is the regular rider of champion mare Almond Eye.
Lemaire has now won every major Japanese race there is to win.
The winner prevailed over the plucky second place getter Glory Vaze, the pair knuckling down to a good old fashioned duel down the straight.
Perform A Promise was third ahead of Ettario, who was a long last for most of the race; a good performance, while Chestnut Coat finished fifth.
Whether any of these horses end up in Melbourne remains to be seen, but we will keep an eye on the nominations and any news coming out of Japan.
Schweppes Oaks Day
The local scene has been a bit quiet following on from the Championships up in Sydney.
Morphettville/Adelaide have commenced their two day Group 1 carnival last weekend, with the running of the SAJC Schweppes Oaks (a.k.a Australasian Oaks), which was taken out by Melbourne filly Princess Jenni, who came through with a well timed run along the inside thanks to jockey Damien Oliver, who incidentally landed both Group 1 features on the day, including Spright in the TAB Classic sprint.
As a form guide to the future, this race has not really been a reliable indicator, with only the 2016 winner Abbey Marie showing any glimpse of staying potential.
The fact that it’s run over 2000m is probably half the reason why.
This Saturday, it’s the boys turning out for the South Australian Derby, with Victorian colts Mr Quickie, Chapada, Declarationofheart and Grizinger’s Star all top rated selections.
Over at Flemington, the recent Group 2 Adelaide Cup winner Surprise Baby was lining up in the 2600m Brew Handicap carrying a top weight of 60kg.
He and his rivals are all trying to get prepared for the listed Andrew Ramsden Stakes (2800m), which holds a ballot exemption for the Melbourne Cup.
As it turned out, the race was won narrowly by the Anthony Freedman trained Irish import Steel Prince, who has been placed 1st and 2nd in his last 10 starts.
Good credentials for sure, and he’ll be lining up in the Andrew Ramsden now that he’s passed Saturdays test.
Surprise Baby finished a half length third, a good effort considering the weight impose.
The Andrew Ramsden is raced on Saturday May 25th, given its unusual timing being so late in the season, but for trainers and connections, the prize money (now $400,000) and the consequences of obtaining a ballot exemption are well worth it.
There was talk coming out of the Godolphin camp that trainer Charlie Appleby would enter his promising galloper Ghostwatch into the race, but this has since been knocked on the head, as the horse has had a setback during training and won’t be heading to Melbourne.
However, Appleby has stated that Ghostwatch will be turning up in Melbourne for the big dance later in the year.
Warrnambool Cup winner Furrion is another also reputedly in discussion for a nomination into the race.
The final line-up could end up liking like a very competitive event.
Can’t wait to see what it looks like.
Queensland Winter Carnival
Up in Queensland, their Winter Carnival has just kicked off, with the Gold Coast meeting being held last Saturday in heavy conditions.
However, from a Melbourne Cup perspective, there are only a few races we’re keeping an eye on, and they are: the Brisbane Cup, the Queensland Derby and the Queensland Oaks, all three raced over 2400m.
Now that the Eagle Farm Racecourse is back in operation again, all horse will appreciate the roomier track and much improved track conditions too, after the course was completely upgraded due to poor surface and drainage.
Lets hope the Weatherman can do his part and deliver cloudless skies and bright sunshine on respective race days!
On a sadder note, we report the passing of 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden, who was fatally injured in a paddock mishap in England last week.
He was one of the more popular gallopers to come ‘down under’ and his epic duel with another Aussie favourite; the ill-fated Red Cadeaux in the 2011 edition of the Cup remains one of the more memorable finishes in recent years.
Dunaden was a seasoned International traveller with victories all over the globe, and he’ll be much missed by those closest to him. R.I.P.
That’s all for this weeks Melbourne Cup Watch Report. Keep checking in with us for more, as we count down to the first Tuesday in November 2019.