It might be a leap year, which in terms sport’s fans talk, generally means an Olympic year, but with the decreased likelihood of the games proceeding courtesy of the ‘Corona Virus’ we should be grateful for small mercies.
And one of those was the Randwick card on Saturday, which although still officially the last day of summer, there was every indication that Autumn had indeed arrived early, with a nip in the morning air and some high-quality Group 1 racing in the afternoon.
Verry Ellegant: (Syd Race 7) Noted G1 performer, noted mud lark and noted back marker. Raced handy in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Saturday, settled as well a she ever has and looked all but home if not for Te Akau Shark flying down the outside late. He looks the real deal in terms of G1 WFA performers but if she can find a race to avoid him, possibly the Doncaster Handicap? Then she is worth following. An excellent return.
Funstar: (Syd Race 6) Another previous Group 1 winner here, resumed in the Surround Stakes giving away match fitness to her rivals as well as a horror draw. She’s settled in the first half of the field at all but her debut start but had no option than to restrain well back and try to improve three deep with cover edging for home. She did precisely that before being exposed five deep the corner. Looked set to claim the leader Xilong as they passed the 100m but was claimed late by Probabeel who travelled to its inside throughout and who came to the race 3rd up. Expect improvement from her and can turn the tables.
Pohutukawa: (Syd Race 5) Another noted wet tracker looking the part on the dry surfaces this time in. Her two runs back have been outstanding. Had the tempo on up front to suit, and rattled home accordingly to just miss in a photo on the line. Worth following third up and out to right trip.
Cascadian: (Syd Race 4) Loomed ominously first up and was expecting much the same in terms of a nice Doncaster trial Saturday, before getting involved in one of the more foolish, and dangerous, pieces of scrimmage I’ve seen on a metropolitan race track for some time. Of the opinion the run would have presented itself if rider Boss had shown a little more subtlety and at least some patience. Was it all worth it? Both Cascadian and Imagining finished down the track and Bossy is now in danger of losing the ride on Kolding. A lot of unnecessary risk and heartache for no result. Hopefully the horse’s confidence hasn’t been dented too much out of what is a complete ‘Forgive’ run onwards to the Donny.
Sweat Deal: (Syd Race 5) Had no peace up front, carving up multiple sub 11 second sectionals. Was more than entitled to take the gas in the run home but instead kicked and kicked again, fighting right to the line going down in a bob of the head to the fast finishing Dawn Dawn. Tough and in form mare, certainly warrants a ‘Forgive’.
Xilong: (Syd Race 6) Drew horribly and did well to secure a trail 2nd one off behind the speedy Kiamichi. She punctured at the 300m and Xilong was entitled to drop the bit and quit chasing too but instead forged to the lead and looked to have pinched it at odds only to be mown down by the flying Probabeel and Funstar late, beaten 0.8L into 3rd in front of Blue Diamond winner Lyre who enjoyed the coziest of runs. Gutsy performance and warrants serious respect in her next outing.
Lyre: (Syd Race 6) Quality filly coming through a crack bunch of three-year olds. Honest but others just appear to have her measure at this level.
Danceteria: (Syd Race 7) Very plain from an import who came here with big wraps. Looks like it needs two mile at least.
Royal Celebration: (Syd Race 9) Genuine excuses first two runs back from lay off. None Saturday. Certainly not again at 1200m.