What a weekend! Caulfield Guineas Day and Everest Day was everything it was cracked up to be. All Melbourne-Sydney nonsense aside it was a great day of punting across two states.
The weekend punt kicked off on Friday night. Only two pints at the pub on the way home before settling in on the balcony to try and win a bank for Saturday at Cranbourne. It worked well too.
I didn’t get near it in the first race and the venture to Cranbourne was looking shaky. Things turned when Andrew Mallyon produced a pearler aboard Soaring Eagle in the fourth race to salute. That was backed up by Tamarama proving to be as beautiful as the beach in Sydney it is named after winning at $26 and we were flying.
Our Libretto continued her winning form in the Pinker Pinker Plate to ensure it was a winning night and we headed to Caulfield full of confidence.
Saturday was stunning in Melbourne. The weather was perfect and the obligatory stop at Riverland en route to Caulfield was a must. Three pints and cheering home Iconoclasm off the back of the super Penshurst trial there ensured it was a bullish train ride out to Caulfield with Mogga & Ports.
Arrived at Caulfield to somehow watch I Like It Easy hold on from Bubbles’n’troubles and Evalina at Randwick. The latter is certainly a horse to follow. It was really only a momentary disappointment as Winter Bride (The People’s Horse) ensured that we were back on track as she won again. She has been bloody good to me and is certainly very close to securing a spot on the Man Cave wall at the new Casa De Baron. Our Crown Mistress might be the horse to follow from the race though, she looks to have her hoof on the till after a much improved run second up from a long spell.
The Schillaci saw Ball Of Muscle strike a blow for New South Wales when he scorched around Caulfield to win easily. Voodoo Lad was slow away and never likely while Snitty Kitty was pretty plain and perhaps a bit flat off the big first up run in the Moir. Spirit Of Valor the Aiden O’Brien runner was the eye catcher though and should find a race over the Flemington carnival.
The first of the novelty races in Sydney was then ran with The Kosciuszko going to the Grafton galloper Belflyer. A particularly painful result it was too as I have been on that horse so many times but wasn’t on Saturday as he stormed home to salute at $71. I wouldn’t drop off Victorem. Back on firmer ground he can run a much improved race next time out.
The first of the Group One’s at Caulfield was a brutal one from a punting point of view with Amphitrite winning again. I have kept taking this horse on and it has kept winning. All honors to her though she really surged though the line late. It was a very bunched finish though and I think Miss Fabulass up in Sydney still might be the best of the three year old fillies.
The Everest consolation went to Pierata who bounced back off a disappointing Epsom run to bolt in and probably make a case he should have been in the actual Everest field. It was a beastly win and continued my run of not being able to catch Jungle Edge despite saving on Pierata. I think kept to 1200m he can be quite lethal and looking forward to seeing him in Melbourne.
You take on D K Weir at your peril and Land Of Plenty produced a dominant performance to win the Toorak. He should have won the Rupert Clarke and is another Weir success story having turned the horse into a real winner since coming across from the Begg stables. Cliff’s Edge was the best of the on pace runners while Shillelagh and Noire look on track for Flemington but hard to go past the winner.
The Everest was another great spectacle. It all went a bit wrong for my theory on the race at the start when U S Navy Flag blew the start and that left Redzel able to lead under his own steam. Ollie didn’t really push on with Vega Magic and Kerrin McEvoy dictated on Redzel to make it back to back Everest’s. I thought Trapeze Artist was excellent and you can argue on a dry track would have won. The three year old Graff was also very good but there were a few disappointments in the race in particular Vega Magic and Shoals who were the two I liked finishing second last and last, leaving me at base camp.
The Caulfield Stakes was a super contest and the internationals come to the fore with Benbatl just holding off Blair House in a driving finish. Michael Walker looked to have Unforgotten in a lovely position but missed the boat coming to the home turn when a few other horses went around him. I am not sure she would have won anyway as she certainly didn’t finish with any great gusto. Humidor ran well again but hard to see him turning the tables on those that bat him. The one to follow for mine is The Cliffsofmoher. He charged home and looks a live chance in the Caulfield Cup this Saturday.
The day was starting to turn pretty savage from a punting point of view until all was restored when The Autumn Sun despite being three wide the trip and no cover absolutely brained his rivals. I am not sure it was a vintage field he beat but horses don’t win like that unless they are something special. It is disappointing the owners aren’t going to take on Winx especially if the reason is “they don’t want to knock her off”. That is just garbage and the sport and punters deserve better.
The day from a punting perspective ended in the second last at Randwick where one of my tweets earlier last week proved quite prophetic. I said Melbourne racing people would really troll Sydney racing people on the sphere if Big Blue could go from a Casterton hurdle to winning a half million dollar race in Sydney. Well he certainly did exactly that. Ironically Ciaron Maher was watching alongside as he won and held off One Foot In Heaven who couldn’t deliver two wins in a row for The Flying Horse Special at The Bool. Fair to say I don’t think we saw the Melbourne Cup winner come through that race.
Even though the punting had ended there was one more big story to come out of the day. After surviving a near fisticuffs altercation in the food line in the Medallion Bar I returned out onto the lawn to watch Yucatan turn in a stunning performance and really announce himself as a Cups contender in the last race. It was an astonishing win and he is clearly a serious horse. The third horse A Prince Of Arran was also quite good but hard to take away from the winner.
All in all a bit of a battling day on the punt but had you followed the previews and applied some of your own knowledge I think there would have been a few winners for you. The day closed out in the new members bar with a few Captain Morgan’s given I couldn’t possibly look at another Crown Lager.
The hangover subsided well enough to have a really good Sunday couch punt and there were quite a few horses to follow out of the Cranbourne Cup meeting which I have noted below.
There will be a big midweek preview this week with racing coming from Caulfield on Wednesday. Looking forward to catching up with the great man Howard Walter at the Standard Hotel for a long lunch there and then of course I will have a massive Caulfield Cup preview. Until then, stay well punters!
Baron’s Black Book for Spring Updated
Moonee Valley (5th Oct)
Virtual Insanity, Roddandtodd, Mahamedeis, All Hard Wood
Flemington (6th Oct)
Ranier, Kings Will Dream, Eduardo, Vengeur Masque, Verry Elleegant, Pierro Belle, Temple Of Bel
Randwick (7th Oct)
Doubt Defying, Thinkin’ Big
Caulfield (13th Oct)
Iconoclasm, Our Crown Mistress, Dawn Dawn, Spirit Of Valor, Shillelagh, Cliff’s Edge, Noire, The Cliffsofmoher, Yucatan & Prince Of Arran
Randwick (13th Oct)
Evalina, Stampede, Victorem, Trapeze Artist & Revenire
Cranbourne (14th Oct)
Notation, Tour Down Under, Sir Kalahad, Sully & Immelmann