SATURDAY’s racing provided a mountain of evidence that we are in for one of the best spring carnivals in recent memory, with the bar being set a very high level as horses establish their credentials for the rich Group 1 races set to be decided over the next eight weeks.
It’s hard to remember a weekend of racing where so many established stars stood up to be counted.
Throughout Saturday afternoon, Randwick and Flemington traded blows in a bid to find the most outstanding performance of the afternoon.
Winx made it 20 on end in the George Main Stakes but by the end of the day’s racing, had to share top billing on our WPR charts with the devastating win by Melbourne Cup winner Almandin at Flemington. Here’s a quick synopsis of some of Saturday’s most notable performances.
Winx – 107
She has elevated from 103.5 last start and as we suggested after the Chelmsford, she’s right on track. This was a strongly run race and the way she raced, suggests she may now be looking for more ground.
The interesting aspect of her current preparation is that she’s going into the Cox Plate with an extra run under her belt. In her last three preparations she’s had her grand final run 4th up then spelled. Prior to that her first Cox Plate was just third-up, although off the shorter spell having come through the Brisbane winter. After last Saturday the Cox Plate is still 6 weeks away, so she’ll have at least one more run and go into the race 5th up.
Happy Clapper – 104.8
A new peak, up from 104. He’s been given 56.5kg in the Epsom, but looks like ending up the top weight when those above him come out. The Epsom looks a lower rating edition this year so even with top weight he will be hard to beat.
Redzel – 105,
Repeated his first up rating. Moderate pace and sprint home suited, but he showed at Doomben he’s equally effective in a high pressure faster race. He will be very competitive in The Everest.
Chautauqua – 99.5
He was unsuited well back in the field, but unleashed his typically strong finish. He only ran to 99.5, but the pace and his position in running made it difficult to rate much higher. It was the right run for him first up.
He ran to 105 in the TJ Smith in the Autumn which just puts him in the competitive mix for the The Everest. We have to go back 18 months to the Autumn of 2016 to find a higher rating for him of 107.8 in the TJ of that year.
Alizee – 99
She looked a risk at 1400m off her two prior 1200m runs and the market expressed similar sentiments, but she made a lie of that assessment with a strong win, stamped by the best last 200m rating of any winner on the day. All of a sudden 1600m looks suitable and she stands out as a clear favourite for the G1 Flight Stakes in two weeks.
Almandin – 107
WOW! The writing was on the wall after he returned with a 103 first up. This win is a new peak – better than his Melbourne Cup win, where he had just 52kg to cart.
At 107 he’s performing like a genuine G1 WFA horse. That was only 2nd up and he might still have more improvement to come. Despite the impost of 56.5kg in the Melbourne Cup, he now looks a serious chance of repeating.
Humidor – 106.2
He was suited by the fast pace, but he produced strong sustained speed over the entire journey. It was a G1 WFA performance with signs he’ll be suited by further. It is noteworthy that both peaks have come at Flemington, so it will be interesting to see if he can be as effective at Caulfield.
Redkirk Warrior – 104
This is on a par with his Newmarket Handicap win. This was a genuinely run race and he was far too good. He needs to improve another length to get right in The Everest winning zone, but it is reasonable to expect he can do that given he was only first up here.
Royal Symphony – 100.5
Visually it was an amazing win, but it’s worth noting the race shape of very fast early and very slow late was a major contributing factor in him being able to run home late and win.
His individual final 200m was moderate… which highlights just how slow the others were going. While I’m not knocking the horse, a bit of context and perspective is needed.
He’ll no doubt improve on the 100.5 first-up run and does have a peak of 102.3, which makes him a rightful Caulfield Guineas favourite, but he’s still yet to reach the levels of a horse like Menari who has 105 and 106 so far this preparation.
Catchy – 101.5
This is up from the 101 she recorded first-up. She now holds the two best 3YO filly ratings so far this season. It’s not a massive edge over the others, but it’s clear and she showed as a 2YO that she tends to get better with each run, so there’s most likely further rating improvement to come.