The Spring Carnival came alive in earnest at Caulfield yesterday with the cream, for the most part, rising to the top.
Fastnet Rock filly Missrock was quite dominant despite her winning margin of just less than a length. She travelled from the tail of the field and was simply too strong in the straight, actually easing up in the last 50m for a comfortable victory. She definitely looks one to follow. Fourth placegetter Terindah, a Foxwedge debutant, also looks promising. A beautiful animal, he had to work hard early and was still good at the end.
There were two interesting runners in this race. Lankan Rupee and Alpha Miss. Was Lankan Rupee going to bounce back to his best after some issues over the past year? How would talented mare Alpha Miss go after a year away from the track? That was answered pretty decisively when Alpha Miss went straight past Lankan Rupee, who laboured into third at short odds. Trainer Mick Price suspects bone soreness is the reason for his failure. It will be interesting to see what happens from here. Let's hope we see that loveheart forehead again.
High class globetrotter Criterion was quite brilliant in victory and his odds were ridiculous. It was surprising he wasn't pushing for favouritism and he justified that thought defeating old stager Happy Trails pretty comfortably. Mongolian Khan deservedly holds favouritism for the Caulfield Cup after his third placing. Should definitely fight out the finish. Don't give up on Fawkner for the Cox Plate, it was reported he found the track too firm.
Disposition was favourite once again, and was beaten again. People are starting to think he and Royal Descent would make a great couple. Lucky Hussler was simply to strong for the son of Reset and Darren Weir's other entry Stratum Star, who was as honest as ever. The two beaten horses are tremendously consistent and tenacious, so it might be safer to follow them rather than the winner, who can often find trouble in his races.
Everyone loves it when the progeny of a great race mare go on to do great things. Stay With Me, daughter of the mighty Miss Finland, has done just that, winning the Thousand Guineas impressively. Ridden appropriately, she was explosive and looks to hold a lot of the talent her mum possessed. She's a lovely filly, very strong and athletic and will be hard to beat in anything she contests from here on in.
The best horse in the race was ridden that way. Press Statement was taken to the lead by jockey Hugh Bowman and was never headed. It was generally accepted that the Chris Waller trained horse would win, it was just a matter of how and he gave nothing else a chance. Rivals who were back in the field, such as the favoured Tulsa struck trouble and were never going to make up the ground. You have to wonder though, what might have happened had Godolphin's Exosphere been set for the race?
Late in the Day
Trainer David Hayes and jockey Michael Walker have always maintained Lonhro mare Wawail has the ability to win a Group 1 race. Things just aren't going right for her at the moment. First-up she had nowhere to go. Yesterday she was left a sitting shot for Politeness to grab her at the end. If things pan out, she'll be hard to beat in races like the Group 1 Myer Classic at Flemington.