Four Group 1’s on the first day of The Championships, bolters, high drama, Winx makes an appearance and a massive multi collect for one very smart punter.
Randwick turned it on with a nine race card, but punters were floored after the first of the majors. A Maiden winner last week, the $81 outsider El Dorado Dreaming, pipped heavily backed favourite Oohood ($3.20) in a photo-finish in the $1 million Group One Sires’ Produce Stakes.
The long shot’s win may have influenced our “multi man” into deciding on taking a cash-out before the final leg of his low stake four race multi.
He started the multi last month when Gailo Chop won the Ranvet Stakes, into William Reid winner Hellbent, Savvy Coup in the New Zealand Oaks and went into today’s meeting needing Redzel to win the T.J Smith Stakes. He stood to win $501,600, but decided to accept a cash-out of $167,000 and was laughing all the way to the bank when Redzel finished second to Trapeze Artist.
Oohood was again unlucky and probably should have won. The filly got stuck in traffic down the straight as El Dorado Dreaming tore down the outside, denying Tony McEvoy’s filly her maiden win. Outrageous ($61) was third.
The Ben Smith-trained filly is the longest odds for a Sydney Group 1 winner since $101 shot Zavite claimed the Ranvet Stakes in 2011. Both horses could clash again in a fortnight in the Champagne Stakes (1600m) where Oohood ($4.60) heads betting for the Randwick Group 1.
Punters climbed off the canvas when second favourite Levendi ($6.00) edged out $5.00 favourite Ace High to win the $2 million Australian Derby. There was a nose in it at the end and Ace High’s rider fired in a protest, alleging interference over the last 50m, but the objection was quickly dismissed.
Levendi’s win (pictured below) denied Ace High a rare Victoria Derby-ATC Australian Derby double. Tangled ($26) was the best of the rest, finishing third.
Popular trainer Pat Webster took Happy Clapper to his third Group 1 when Blake Shinn turned in a masterful ride to capture the Group 1 Doncaster Mile.
Happy Clapper ($5.00) finished second in the race last year, but thanks to a rails-hugging ride from Shinn, the seven-year-old was able to score a comfortable win. Comin’ Through ($19) was a game second and Arbeitsam ($26) finished third.
“Great horse. He loves the mile, he just eats it up,” trainer Webster said.
New Zealand’s greatest jockey Lance O’Sullivan has made a triumphant return to Randwick with his first runner at the track as a trainer, winning the Group Two Chairman’s Quality (2600m). Sir Charles Road ($7.00) showed he was on target for next Saturday’s Sydney Cup when he prevailed in a duel with Ventura Storm ($11) by a half-neck.
O’Sullivan, the son of champion trainer Dave O’Sullivan, retired in 2003, having ridden 2479 winners and now operates in partnership with Andrew Scott.
Sir Charles Road has firmed from $51 into $10 for the Cup, where Almandin heads betting on $3.30.
After downing Everest conqueror Redzel in the $2 million TJ Smith Stakes, there might only be one more mountain to climb for Trapeze Artist, who was beautifully ridden by Tye Angland.
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) April 7, 2018
The world’s richest race on turf in October was mentioned after the Gerald Ryan-trained colt upstaged Australia’s leading sprinter at Randwick, but life as a stallion beckons. He might run in the Group One All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in a fortnight but a crack at The Everest is doubtful, with the colt likely to head to stud.
Not content with beating Redzel, Trapeze Artist also eclipsed Black Caviar’s record from 2011 when he clocked 1:08.29.
Trapeze Artist ($8) levelled up to $2.30 favourite Redzel at the 100 and skipped clear. In Her Time ($4.40) ran a gallant third two lengths off Redzel after missing the start.
In between races Winx showed she is on target for her next mission, in next week’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes. In a stirring gallop the superstar mare worked over a 1000m and ran home the last 600m in 34.26 seconds, with race jockey Hugh Bowman aboard.